Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus
Wittgenstein (Ludwig)
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Back Cover Blurb

  1. The Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus first appeared in 1921 and was the only philosophical work that Ludwig Wittgenstein (1889-1951) published during his lifetime. Written in short, carefully-numbered paragraphs of extreme compression and brilliance it immediately convinced many of its readers and captured the imagination of all. Its chief influence, at first, was on the Logical Positivists of the 1920’s and 30’s, but many other philosophers were stimulated by its philosophy of language, finding attractive, even if ultimately unsatisfactory, its view that propositions were pictures of reality. Perhaps most of all, its own author, after his return to philosophy in the late 1920’s, was fascinated by its vision of an inexpressible, crystalline world of logical relationships. The posthumous publication of other writings of his has, therefore, only served to reawaken interest in the Tractatus and to illuminate its more neglected aspects.
  2. In the present edition Mr Pears and Mr McGuinness have been able to revise their translation in the light of Wittgenstein’s own suggestions and comments in his correspondence with C. K. Ogden about the first translation.
  3. ‘Mr Pears and Mr McGuinness have not only achieved a clear and natural English but have been meticulous in their care for accuracy. They have added an index which will be of great value to close students of the work.’
    The Times Literary Supplement
  4. ‘Pears and McGuinness can claim our gratitude not for doing merely this (a better translation) but for doing it with such a near approach to perfection. The present reviewer can find little or nothing of consequence wrong with their work.’

  • Translators’ Preface – v
  • Introduction by Bertrand Russell – ix
  • Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus Preface – 3
  • Translation – 5
  • Index – 75
Brief Notes
  1. The translation is by David Pears and Brian McGuiness.
  2. I read this book in the previous century a long time before I took up formal study of philosophy, intrigued – like everyone – by the personality of the author and by the opening and closing propositions. I’ve not read it since, so no time has been recorded against it in my database.
  3. When I read it so long ago, I doubt I understood what it was on about, and remember it being a bit of a struggle, though I “audited” a series of lectures on it at Birkbeck while taking far too many courses, running the Philosophy Society, and working full time. I’d like to read it again one day and give it due attention.
  4. The German text, and the original “Ogden” translation, is available on-line at Wittgenstein - Tractatus (Ogden Bilingual Edition).


Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1981 reprint, paperback

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  1. Blue: Text by me; © Theo Todman, 2021
  2. Mauve: Text by correspondent(s) or other author(s); © the author(s)

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