The Method of the Tractatus

A few years ago, a group of American philosophers, Cora Diamond and James Conant among them, suggested a resolute, or radical reading of Wittgenstein's Tractatus. These two authors claim that the Tractatus has a body, and a frame. Wittgenstein minded the frame seriously, whereas all the remaining propositions of the Tractatus, which belong to its body, are written tongue in cheek. To the frame of the work belong the Preface, 3.32, 3.326, 4.003, 4.111, 4.112 and 6.53, 6.54. In it Wittgenstein gave meta-theoretical instructions how to treat the rest of the book. The main idea of the frame is expressed in 6.54 which reads: "My propositions serve as elucidations in the following way: anyone who understands me eventually recognizes them as nonsensical, when he has used them 'as steps' to climb up beyond them. (He must, so to speak, throw away the ladder after he has climbed up it.)" This was the real message of the Tractatus.
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