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Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus Paperback – January 6, 2018
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About the Author
Ludwig Wittgenstein (1889 - 1951) is regarded by many as the most outstanding philosopher of the twentieth century.
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Despite its unquestioned historical significance the Tractatus is not necessarily a good entry point into Wittgenstein's thought. Arguably, if one were to read it not aware of the context within it which it was written it might seem pedantic and tedious - it is largely focused on addressing logico-linguistic questions prevalent at the outset of the twentieth century. From my perspective, an understanding of Frege and Russell is essential to appreciating the Tractatus. In particular it is important to have an appreciation for Frege's notions of concept, and his views on sense and reference; Whereas, Russell's approach to names and descriptions is also important.
Although I appreciate Wittgenstein's work in the fields of language and logic I think his influence on modern philosophy has not been entirely positive. For instance it could be argued that the Logical-Positivist movement stemming from Wittgenstein's early work steered philosophical discussion into and sterile and uninteresting period where large metaphysical questions were deemed out of bonds (undoubtedly some would consider this a good thing).
Overall, the Tractatus is a classic in modern philosophy - an important read for all serious students. For non-Wittgenstein enthusiasts, however, it can be a difficult read in early twentieth century analytic philosophy.
The Tractatus was originally written in German, and there are two English translations (that I'm aware of): one by C.K. Ogden, and the other by David Pears and Brian McGuinness. This edition is, as far as I can tell, the Pears-McGuinness translation, though this is never mentioned in any part of the book.
It is missing the original introduction by Bertrand Russell, though this is no great loss. More importantly, it is missing any diagrams or pictures that were in the original, and sometimes it is missing statements altogether (4.27, for example). Moreover, the parts that make use of logical notation are a complete mess and totally unreadable.
In short, this edition is missing content, and I recommend getting a different edition.