Notes on Truth, Beauty, and Goodness -- Phil A231

William Jamison - Instructor

The Tractatus

I think there are several wonderful opportunities open to us as we read the Tractatus Logico Philosophicus (Routledge Classics) -- by Ludwig Wittgenstein.

First, it gives us a glimpse of one level of reflective thinking. Assuming that the levels of reflective thinking are also a good metaphor, that is a useful tool, which level of reflective thinking seems to describe the perspective of Wittgenstein when he wrote the Tractatus? Assuming also that he was a genius, but that even a genius goes through the same levels of reflective thinking...


In VARIETIES OF RELIGIOUS EXPERIENCE by William James, James argues: "Interesting as the origins and early stages of a subject always are, yet when one seeks earnestly for its full significance, one must always look to its more completely evolved and perfect forms." (lecture 1) For the same reason, when thinking about or studying the stages of reflective thinking, one may profit considerably by looking to the more completely evolved and perfect example. Wittgenstein goes through the stages and in his written work reflects those stages. The significance of his work is also historically relevant since historical accounts of philosophical development attributes such significance to them, the Tractatus especially.

Think about how music can be used to communicate also, especially in contemporary film and TV: sample of 30,000 year old flute music description of flute and find

"Myths are versions of the past which explain the present... Myths are usually, though not necessarily, false; they are always more than merely true" Felipe Fernandez-Armesto

The rules below are from:

A First Course in Scientific Computing:
Symbolic, Graphic, and Numeric Modeling Using Maple, Java, Mathematica, and Fortran90 by
Rubin H. Landau

Landau's Rules of Education: Much of the educational philosophy applied in this book is summarized by these three rules:

  1. Most of education is learning what the words mean; the concepts are usually quite simple once you understand what you are being told.
  2. Confusion is the first step to understanding.
  3. Traumatic experiences tend to be the most educational ones.



Transcendence and Wittgensteins Tractatus by Michael P. Hodges (Hardcover - June 1990) 

Ludwig Wittgenstein: The Duty of Genius by Ray Monk (Paperback - November 1991)

Wittgenstein's Ladder: Poetic Language and the Strangeness of the Ordinary by Marjorie Perloff (Paperback - July 1999)


This page is maintained by William S. Jamison. It was last updated August 14, 2012. All links on these pages are either to open source or public domain materials or they are marked with the appropriate copyright information. I frequently check the links I have made to other web sites but each source is responsible for their own content.