Wittgenstein's tractatus project as philosophy of information

Minds and Machines 14 (1):119-132 (2004)
Abstract
It is argued that the Tractatus Project of Logical Atomism, in which the world is conceived of as the totality of independent atomic facts, can usefully be understood by conceiving of each fact as a bit in logical space. Wittgenstein himself thinks in terms of logical space. His elementary propositions, which express atomic facts, are interpreted as tuples of co-ordinates which specify the location of a bit in logical space. He says that signs for elementary propositions are arrangements of names. Here, the names are understood as numerical symbols specifying coordinates. It is argued that, using this approach, the so-called colour-exclusion problem, which was Wittgensteins reason for abandoning the Tractatus, is in fact soluble. However, if logical space is a continuum then some coordinates will need to be expressed by numerical symbols that are infinite in size. How is this to be understood in Tractatus terms? It is shown that, in the Tractatus, Wittgenstein did recognise the possibility of infinite propositions and sentences expressing them. At first sight his approach to infinite sentences, and the approach of the present paper, seem to differ, but it is argued that the difference is superficial. Finally, we address the question of whether Logical Atomism is viable and this raises issues concerning its relationship to natural science.
Keywords atomism  information  limits  logic  science  Wittgenstein
Categories (categorize this paper)
Options
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history Request removal from index
 
Download options
PhilPapers Archive


Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy on self-archival     Papers currently archived: 9,360
External links
  •   Try with proxy.
  • Through your library Configure
    References found in this work BETA

    No references found.

    Citations of this work BETA

    No citations found.

    Similar books and articles
    Analytics

    Monthly downloads

    Added to index

    2009-01-28

    Total downloads

    28 ( #52,630 of 1,089,063 )

    Recent downloads (6 months)

    1 ( #69,801 of 1,089,063 )

    How can I increase my downloads?

    My notes
    Sign in to use this feature


    Discussion
    Start a new thread
    Order:
    There  are no threads in this forum
    Nothing in this forum yet.