Wittgenstein: Tractatus Logico Philosophicus 5.6 and 5.61

25 May

Still pondering the thoughts of Ludwig Wittgenstein in his  Tractatus Logico Philosophicus. And I want to eventually research the idea of solipsism for awhile and write a symposium (and shorter colloquium version) about Wittgensteinian solipsism and other forms of it. 5.6 and 5.61 are propositions that precede Wittgenstein’s solipsist propositions in the Tractatus. 5.62 and further is where he introduces the solipsist idealism. 5.6 and 5.61 are conditions that lead up to the inference that  the self is the only entity of existence and perception of the universe, hence solipsism.

For now, I feel that 5.6 and 5.61 are really important and should be argued.

5.6  The limits of my language, mean the limits of my world

5.61 Logic pervades the world: the limits of the world are also its limits.

So we cannot say in logic, “The world has this in it, and this, but not that.”

For that would appear to presuppose that we were excluding certain possibilities, and this cannot be the case since           it would require that logic should go beyond the limits of the world; for only in that way could it view those limits             from the other side as well.

We cannot think what we cannot think; so what we cannot think we cannot say either.


What do you think of when you hear “language”? We use it every day to speak to each other. It governs the manner that we think thoughts. If you are thinking about something, you are using words to think things and this is the use of language. Think about how language relates to the world around us.  Language governs how we understand and explain the things around us. But, Wittgenstein is stating that language limits the world around us because of its limits.

Lets first examine language in itself. The earliest inventors of language saw all of the physical things around us, the people around that could not be communicated with, and the feeling that there is a supreme being above. They proposed a symbol for each thing; the symbols had words invented for them to communicate with others, explain the world around us and explain some of the unexplainable.

When you think about it, there is a limited number of symbols that can transfer into words. Symbols express a lot of what reality is while when a symbol is converted into language, words to speak are created. When these words of language are created,  corners are cut in expressing reality. When symbols are converted into language realism and closeness to the way things really are decrease considerably. This poses the limits in language that Wittgenstein says there are in 5.6

In summary, reality that is perceived is all real. When one wants to express this reality, symbols are invented. The symbols express most of the reality of the way that item/phenomena really is. When one wants to speak these symbols, language is created. The creation of a language from symbols distorts the expression of reality and of the way things are. Language tries to express reality as well as symbols do, but it fails miserable because of how language cannot measure up on closeness to reality like symbols do. I say this because I feel that language does not by any means express the entire reality of the world around us. Wittgenstein however felt that language is the only means of perception and its limits are the worlds limits. Wittgenstein states in 5.6 that what language perceives is what the world’s reality is.

I disagree with 5.6. The limits of language only mirror the unseen, unexpressed, imperceivable part of reality that exists. God created this world and our minds and bodies are infinitesimally and exponentially smaller than the infinite gargantuan macrocosmic mind and spirit of God. Language is the only thing God allowed humanity to create because language can only perceive things that the small human mind can understand. The limits of language mean the limits of my world is an untrue statement. ‘My world’ includes God and his infinitely gargantuan spirit and mind. The limits of language do not apply to God and the wonders He does every day.

So, 5.6 is wrong.


5.6 says that language limits your own world. I  highly oppose that  thought because language is only a means for communication and expression of the world around us and ‘ my world’ is very complex beyond the possible perception of language.

5.61 on the other hand talks about logic. Logic is used in this world to explain proposition and thoughts that explain the world. Logic is linked to language because language is used to express logic. The first statement in 5.61 is that logic pervades the world and that the limits of logic are the limits of the world. ‘the world’ and ‘my world’ are 2 different things. ‘the world’ is the physical explainable world around us. ‘the world’ adheres to the limits of language and logic while ‘my world’ involves the complexity of God and does not adhere to any limits of logic or language (logic may be able to express things that language cannot  along with other unexplainable things. This may occur in the future when variables are assigned to imaginary and/or unexplainable things  —> limitless logic).

So when Wittgenstein says “logic pervades the world: the limits of the world are also its limits” he is right because logic  adheres to the limits that ‘the world’ has.

The next statement where Wittgenstein says that we cant say ” the world has this and this in it, but not that” is also correct. He states that this is true because if we were able to say this, we would be excluding possibilities of the world (again ‘the world’ being the physical world we live in and touch) in logic. If something can possibly exist in logical space, it does so somewhere in ‘the world’.

Wittgenstein ends 5.61 by saying “we cannot think what we cannot think; we cannot think what we cannot say either”. By ‘we’ he means all the humans with small minds in the world. In ‘the world’ of people like me and you,  thinking something that cannot possibly be thought is impossible. We cannot think what we cannot say either. The fact that we cant think what we cannot say brings us back to language and its limits.  A person that is a part of ‘we’ is a part of the pool of people that live here that all have tiny small brains that cannot comprehend the slightest bit of the things God can. Like I said before, we think in words of language, and in our small tiny minds we cant think what we cant say.

God on the other hand is not a part of ‘the world’ and he succeeds logic, language and their limits. He can think what we cant think. He can say what we cant think.

Heres an example of not being able to think/say something:

If you look at all the colors in existence on the wheel of colors that artists use, you think that there has to be another color not present on this wheel. You try to think of what it is, but every color you think of applies as a shade of a color on that wheel. You continue and continue to do this but you always come back to another original color on that wheel.

This thought process is redundant because a color not present on the color wheel that has all colors in existence is not possible in language, logic and our infinitely small minds. Its hard to even think of mentioning language in this situation because you have to have a thought established along with a symbol before you want to assign a word in language to it.

So in ‘the world’  5.61 is true. In ‘my world’ 5.61 is false because of Gods involvement and His complexity.

Comment below how you think language is different from initial symbol-less thoughts. Do you think language distorts our thoughts and perceptions? Why?

Thanks for reading. Go to http://twitter.com/cosmosz or email me at   cosmosuniversez@yahoo.com


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