The Metaphysical Subject and Logical Space: Solipsism and Singularity in the Tractatus

M. Curtis Allen 1
  • 1 Western University,, London, Canada

Abstract

This essay presents a heterodox reading of the issue of solipsism in Wittgenstein’s Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus (TLP), out of which the whole of the TLP can be re-read. Inspired by, though not dependent on, the themes of virtuality and singularity found in Deleuze’s ‘transcendental empiricism’ (presented as a Wittgensteinian ‘immaculate conception’), Wittgenstein’s concept of ‘logical space’ is here complexly related to the paradoxes of the ‘metaphysical subject’ and ‘solipsism,’ within which the strictures of sense are defined, and through which the logico-pictorial scaffolding of the TLP precipitates its own systematic dissolution. It shows how nonsense envelopes not only not idle chatter, and metaphysical confusion, but sense itself.

If the inline PDF is not rendering correctly, you can download the PDF file here.

  • Boltzmann, Ludwig. Lectures on Gas Theory. Trans. Stephen G. Brush. New York: Dover Publications, 1995.

  • Boltzmann, Ludwig. Theoretical Physics and Philosophical Problems. Trans. Paul Foulkes. Ed. Brian McGuiness. Boston: D. Reidel, 1974.

  • Carnap, Rudolf. The Logical Syntax of Language. Trans. Amethe Smeaton. Peru, IL: Open Court, 2002.

  • Deleuze, Gilles. The Logic of Sense. Trans. Mark Lester. New York: Columbia UP, 1990.

  • Griffin, James. Wittgenstein’s Logical Atomism. Oxford: Claredon Press, 1964.

  • Floyd, Juliet. “The Uncaptive Eye: Solipsism in Wittgenstein’s Tractatus.” Philosophies of Loneliness, 79-108. Ed. Leroy S. Rouner. South Bend: University of Notre Dame Press, 1998. Online.

  • Hertz, Heinrich. The Principles of Mechanics. Trans. D. E. Jones and J. T. Walley. New York: Dover, 1956.

  • Hacker, P. M. S. Insight and Illusion: Themes in the Philosophy of Wittgenstein. London: Oxford UP, 1997.

  • Hamilton, Kelly. “Darstellungen in the Principles of Mechanics and the Tractatus: The Representation of Objects in Relation in Hertz and Wittgenstein.” Perspectives on Science 10:1 (2002): 28-68.

  • Harré, Rom. “Wittgenstein: Science and Religion.” Philosophy 76:2 (2001), 211 - 237.

  • Hintikka, Jaakko. “On Wittgenstein’s ‘Solipsism’.” Mind 67:265 (1958), 88-91.

  • Kallenberg, Brad. “Rethinking Fideism Though the Lens of Wittgenstein’s Engineering Outlook.” International Journal for Philosophy of Religion 71:1 (2012), 55-73.

  • Kenny, Anthony. Wittgenstein. Malden, MA: Blackwell. 2006.

  • Nolte, David D. “The Tangled Tale of Phase Space.” Physics Today 63:4 (2010), 33-38.

  • Monk, Ray. Ludwig Wittgenstein: The Duty of Genius. London: Jonathan Cape, 1990.

  • Pârvu, Ilie. “‘Meine Grundgedanke ist…’ The Structural Theory of Representation as the Metaphysics of Wittgenstein’s Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus.” Synthese 129:2 (2001), 259-274.

  • Pears, D. F. “Wittgenstein’s Treatment of Solipsism in the Tractatus.” Crítica: Revista Hispanoamericana De Filosofía 6:16/17(1972), 57-84.

  • Pihlström, Sami. “A Solipsist in a Real World.” Dialectica 50:4 (2005), 275-90.

  • Swoyer, Chris. “Structural Representation and Surrogative Reasoning.” Synthese 87:3 (1991), 449-508.

  • Tang, Hao. “Transcendental Idealism in Wittgenstein’s Tractatus.” The Philosophical Quarterly 61:244 (2011), 598-607.

  • Turner, Jason. The Facts in Logical Space: A Tractarian Ontology. Oxford: Oxford UP, 2016.

  • Wilson, Mark. “Wittgenstein: Physica sunt, Non Leguntur.” Philosophical Topics 25:2 (1997), 289-316.

  • Weisstein, Eric W. “Singularity.” MathWorld-A Wolfram Web Resource. Online. 22 Apr. 2017. http://mathworld.wolfram.com/Singularity.html.

  • Wittgenstein, Ludwig. Notebooks, 1914-1916: 2nd Edition. Ed. G. H. v. Wright. Trans. G. E. M. Anscombe. Chicago: U. Chicago, 1984.

  • Wittgenstein, Ludwig. Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus. Translated by C. K. Ogden [and F. P. Ramsey]. London: Routledge &Kegan Paul, 1922.

  • Wittgenstein, Ludwig. Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus. Translated by D. F. Pears and B. F. McGuinness. London: Routledge, 2001.

OPEN ACCESS

Journal + Issues

Open Philosophy is an international Open Access, peer-reviewed academic journal covering all areas of philosophy. The objective of Open Philosophy is to foster free exchange of ideas and provide an appropriate platform for presenting, discussing and disseminating new concepts, current trends, theoretical developments and research findings related to the broadest philosophical spectrum.

Search