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A SEMANTIC ‘TRANSLATION’ OF THE ONTOLOGICAL PASSAGES IN WITTGENSTEIN’S TRACTATUS

David E. Ward Philosophy Department, University of Otago, P. O. Box 56, Dunedin, NEW ZEALAND. COMMENTS AND QUESTIONS WELCOME AT: david.ward@stonebow.otago.ac.nz Introduction The point of the translation is this: in order to make sense of the ontological terms used in the these opening passages (1 to 2.063) they should be regarded as terms of art dictated by a transcendental argument. My argument for this view is as follows. With the early Wittgenstein, we are offered the premise that our language is intelligible (meaningful) because of its capacity to 'reach right out to reality'. In other words, he is arguing that the intelligibility of a language is a function of its being able to refer. The idea motivating the picture theory of meaning is that the capacity of language to refer would only be possible if the reality language described somehow matched the description. (This 'match' is the intuitive bridge which allows the referring-the reaching out to reality-to take place.) Therefore, the description of the ontological structure of reality must be articulated in terms which mirror the structure of the propositions used to refer to reality. This articulation sets up the isomorphism between the logical structure of language and the structure of reality that allows the former to picture the latter-to reach right out to it. (2.1511) At first blush it would be natural to assume that language derives its structure from the structure of the reality it describes-that our language matches itself to the world-and that it is this derivation that explains how it is then able to refer back to the reality it describes. This view of how language works is the semantic counterpart of the natural assumption of the naive realist that appearances of things resemble the things of which they are appearances and that this is why appearances are appearances of reality. The traditional criticism of this epistemological view points out that we cannot access reality directly but must employ the (distorting?) medium of the senses: we only have access to reality via this medium and therefore the question of the correspondence of appearances (= our sense experience) with reality is vexed. One radical solution to this problem of our access to reality is Kant's transencdental argument which proposes that appearances are necessarily structured in accordance with certain rules. The fact that they are so structured lends an element of objectivity to these appearances. (There is an intersubjective aspect to our experience which is real - as opposed to merely subjective). In this sense of real, reality is directly available to everyone in that everyone's appearances (= experiences) are really structured according to the same rules). The correspondence problem is thus solved by maintaining that the structure of our experience is also the structure of empirical reality (reality as it is known by us). The transcendental argument of the Tractatus also reverses our intuitive sense of the relationship between language and the reality it describes: the structure of our language (its logic) does not mirror the structure of reality, rather, the structure of reality mirrors the structure of our language. (The radical assumption driving this reversal is the realization that there is no way of accessing the structure of reality other than describing it-just as there is no way to peer behind appearances to see the 'actual' structure of reality-and that therefore, the structure of reality must be regarded as effectively constituted by the very structure which informs our linguistic practices-our ways of describing reality. Here in a nutshell is the essence of the Linguistic Turn in philosophy. The epistemological problem of how experience provides knowledge of reality becomes the semantic problem of how language is able to describe reality And the picture theory of meaning is Wittgenstein's solution to this problem: "That is how a picture is attached to [a proposition describes] reality; it reaches right out to it." (2.1511) In the Tractatus an (all but) undeclared transcendental argument serves to solve these problems of access and correspondence: if language is to reach out to the world, then the structure of the world must be articulated in such a way that it mirrors the logical structure of language. The resulting isomorphism of the two structures will then serve as the bridge whereby language is able to describe 'reality'. (And the isomorphism is established by the transcendental argument: this is what reality must be like if language is to be able to describe it.) The ontological passages which begin the Tractatus present this (transcendentally deduced) structure of the world without preamble. Any confusion we might feel in trying to understanding what Wittgenstein is talking about in these passages-a confusion which is bound to arise if we simply read these passages 'straight'-can be eased if we provide a semantic translation of them. This semantic interpretation of the ontological passages has the authority provided by the 'Rosetta stone' passage which indicates, laconically, the transcendental provenance of the ontology of the Tractatus: new passage mar 98)In the s course of this exercise the ontological passages become more and more transparently functions of the semantic theory for example 2.012 In logic nothing is accidental: if a thing can occur in a state of affairs, the possibility of the state of affairs must be written into the thing itself. What does logic 9 a semanic term have to do with things? and 2.123 a) If I know an object I also know all its possible occurrences in states of affairs. How do you 'know objects' ?grok them in theri fulness'? no you know things like r the truth of propositions and 2.123b (Every one of these possibilities must be part of the nature of the object.)possibilities are not te sorts ofthings whch objects contain in theri nature the nature of anobject s nomorethat a disguised way of speaking of the conept ofthe object haveing certain relatios with other concepts-that is where the possibilities are generated.And 2.0233If two objects have the same logical form, the only distinction between them, apart from their external properties, is that they are different.hocan an objechave alogical form only via a concept efc etc. and as they do sothey become literally more nonsensicl and this leads to the penultimae remark of the tractatus 6.54 My propositions serve as elucidations in the follwing way: anyone who understands me eventually recognizes them as nonsensical wwhen he has used them as steps to climb up beyond them. (He must, so to speak, throw away the ladder after he has climbed up it.)i effect hte otological propostion of te trasctatus are transcended once they are seen to be transcendental in character 2.0122:Things are independent in so far as they can occur in all possible situations, but this form of independence is a form of connexion with states of affairs, a form of dependence. (It is impossible for words to appear in two different roles: by themselves, and in propositions.) In what follows, I suggest semantic versions of the other ontological passages in accordance with this 'clue'. 1The world is all that is the case. 1 The world is fully described by the sum of all the propositions which are true. 1.1The world is the totality of facts, not of things. 1.1 The world (as we know it) is described and thus effectively constituted by the totality of true propositions. Names are not semantic units. By themselves they do not mean anything, i.e., they cannot describe anything because-by themselves-they do not present us with pictures of any possible states of affairs. 1.11 The world is determined by the facts, and by their being all the facts. 1.11 The world is completely described by the totality of true propositions . 1.12 For the totality of facts determines what is the case, and also whatever is not the case. 1.12 The facts (all of them) determine (one by one) which propositions are true and, at the same time, which ones are false. 1.13 The facts in logical space are the world. 1.13 The true propositions tell us which-among all the possible propositions (which are the constituting framework of logical space) -are the ones which describe the way the world actually is. 1.2 The world divides into facts. 1.2 The sum total of true propositions which describe the world are all independent of each other in the sense that they each describe a separate possibility; a separate state of affairs; a separate fact. 1.21 Each item can be the case or not the case while everything else remains the same. 1.21A proposition can change its truth-value without this affecting the truth- values of other propositions. 2 What is the case-a fact-is the existence of states of affairs. 2 What makes a true proposition true-("Is that a fact?")-is the existence of the state of affairs which the proposition describes. 2.01 A state of affairs (a state of things) is a combination of objects (things). 2.01A proposition is made up of words in combination. 2.011 It is essential to things that they should be possible constituents of states of affairs. 2.011 It is essential to words (essential to them as potentially meaningful components of a proposition) that they should be able to be combined with other words in such a way that, together, they make sense-i.e., describe a possible state of affairs. 2.012 In logic nothing is accidental: if a thing can occur in a state of affairs, the possibility of the state of affairs must be written into the thing itself. 2.012 If we think of that quality of a proposition which makes it logical as that feature of it, in virtue of which it makes sense, then there is nothing accidental about the fact that the words which go together in a proposition make sense together : if a word can occur in a proposition this possibility is a part of the logic of that word, i.e., built into the rules for its use. And since the rules for its use dictate with what other words it can be combined, there is nothing accidental about the fact that the word fits together (makes sense) "can occur" with only certain other words. 2.0121 a) [these letters (a, b, etc.) refer to the separate paragraphs in an extended section] It would seem to be a sort of accident, if it turned out that a situation would fit a thing that could already exist entirely on its own. 2.0121 a) It would seem to be a sort of accident if a word which already meant something by itself-described a certain possibility by itself-also fit with some other words to describe a possibility. The odd thing would be how the 'fit' would be supposed to work-even accidentally. Thus the way words fit together is in accordance with the rules which govern their combination with other words. (The combination presents a possibility.) But a word which already meant something on its own would not have any such 'hooks' to join onto other words. (It would be complete by itself, i.e., it would, by itself, state a possibility). It therefore could not be combined with other words to state a possibility except by accident and we have no idea how such an 'accident' could bring about such a combination since we have no idea what the semantic mechanism permitting such an accident would be (if not logical 'hooks'). b) If things can occur in states of affairs, this possibility must be in them from the beginning. b) If words can join with other words to yield a proposition which makes sense then the rules that govern their use must-in effect-be all that the words amount to. That is why this possibility is in them from the beginning. A word understood as the constituent of a proposition is understood as being constituted by the rules for its use .These rules are the rules for combining it with other words. An example: one of the rules for the use of ' red ' is: Red is a colour word so you can use it to describe an aspect of the visual appearance of surfaces. This rule fits with another one of the rules for describing spatial objects: viz; You can attribute a colour word to the surface of an object which you can see. Combining these two rules yields a conversation that makes sense: "Was the car red?" "I don't know it was too dark to see." c) (Nothing in the province of logic can be merely possible. Logic deals with every possibility and all possibilities are its facts.) c) (The rules that govern our use of words yield-when the rules are followed- combinations of words which necessarily make sense. All such possible propositions are 'logical' in this sense. This amounts to simply saying that such propositions are constructed according to the rules governing their constituents. The various combinations yielded by these rules together constitute all the possibilities and these constitute the facts about what combinations are logical.) d) Just as we are unable to imagine spatial objects outside space or temporal objects outside time, so too there is no object that we can imagine excluded from the possibility of combining with others. d) Just as we are quite unable to imagine spatial objects outside space or temporal objects outside time, so too there is no word that we can imagine which could not combine with some other words in order to yield a proposition. This is because a word is no more that a set of rules for combining with other words (other sets of rules) and therefore I could not make up a word (a rule) which did not include within it reference to another word (another rule). e) If I can imagine objects combined in states of affairs, I cannot imagine them excluded from the possibility of such combinations. e) If I can imagine words combined together in propositions, I cannot imagine them excluded from the possibility of such combinations [for the reason given in d) above]. 2.0122 Things are independent in so far as they can occur in all possible situations, but this form of independence is a form of connexion with states of affairs, a form of dependence. (It is impossible for words to appear in two different roles: by themselves, and in propositions.) 2.0122 (Here the semantic/linguistic 'translation' is supplied by Wittgenstein) That he supplies this translation is a clear indication to the reader of the significance of all the carefully worked-out ontological remarks that begin the book. Thus it is because his theory of meaning is going to assert that propositions mean by referring to reality that he needs a well-articulated reality as an ontological counterpart to which propositions can then refer by mirroring this ontological structure in their logical form. ( Hence the picture theory of meaning). 2.123 a) If I know an object I also know all its possible occurrences in states of affairs. 2.123 a) If I understand a word I also understand all the ways it could combine with other words. b) (Every one of these possibilities must be part of the nature of the object.) b) (Every one of these ways of combining must be part of the definition of the word - the list of rules governing its use.) c) A new possibility cannot be discovered later. c) A new rule cannot be discovered later. ( A new rule would in effect mean a new word: this show us that the rules that govern the use of a word are all related to each other. Thus one rule governing 'red' as a colour word is that I cannot determine the colour of a surface that I cannot see. Now if I propose a new rule for 'red', viz., that red is to describe a budget deficit as in "At the end of the fiscal year she was in the red", I can know how to apply red in such a case without seeing something red. Therefore I know that this use of red is different from the use of red in the colour sense. So the colour sense of 'red' is a different word from 'red' in the deficit sense. 2.01231 If I am to know an object, though I need not know its external properties, I must know its internal properties. 2.01231 If I am to understand the meaning of a word I need not know about the particular combinations in which it has in fact occurred (these are the external relations of the word: my knowledge of these relations depends upon my experience.) But I must know all of its internal relations, i.e., all the ways in which it could combine with other words: that is what it is required in order to understand the meaning of a word. 2.0124 If all objects are given, then at the same time all possible states of affairs are also given. 2.0124 If I understand the meaning of a word then at the same time I also am aware of all the possible ways in which it can combine with other words. This means that I can understand all the propositions it can occur in. ( I can be said to understand them all in the sense that no example of a possible combination will not make sense to me: I will understand any new sentence-i.e., one I have not seen before-which uses this word.) 2.013Each thing is, as it were, in a space of possible states of affairs. This space I can imagine empty, but I cannot imagine the thing without the space. 2.013 The meaning of each word exists, as it were, in a space of possible propositions: it is the fact that it can combine with other words to form propositions that constitutes its capacity to mean. It is within this logical space (= this rule-governed grid of possibilities) that the word exists. This space-this grid of possibilities-I can imagine empty (none of the possibilities are realized, no propositions involving the word are true) but I cannot imagine the word without the grid of possibilities that defines it in use. 2.0131 [These analogies are straightforward.] 2.014 Objects contain the possibility of all situations. 2.014 Words (as sets of rules defined in terms of other words- themselves sets of rules) contain the possibility of all the propositions in which they may be used. 2.0141 The possibility of its occurring in states of affairs is the form of an object. 2.0141 The possibility of its occurring in a proposition is the logical form of a word. (A word is a set of rules-these constitute its logic, viz., the rules for its use. The rules governing the use of a word-taken in co-ordination with the rules governing other words-determine in which propositions the word can occur.) 2.02 Objects are simple. 2.02 Words are simple. This just means that words are not combinations of smaller semantic units. They are the atoms of semantic theory-the smallest units involved in a theory of meaning. It is combinations of these atoms that yield propositions-meaningful units. Words are simple in this semantic sense in that they do not mean anything by themselves. To pursue the chemical analogy: it is as if oxygen revealed none of its properties except in combination with other atoms. The only things I know about oxygen are the rules it follows in combining with other atoms. On this analogy oxygen doesn't 'mean' anything on its own. 2.0201 Every statement about complexes can be resolved into a statement about their constituents and into the propositions that describe the complexes completely. 2.0201 Every statement which contains a compound name can be resolved into a series of propositions which use the names which were the constituents of the compound name. (E.g., In the statement "The retired colonel's son came home", The statement employing the compound name is understood completely by analysing it into a series of propositions which have subject terms which are simple (e,g. The colonel is retired. The colonel has a son. The son came home.). 2.021 Objects make up the substance of the world 2.021 Reality is constituted by all of the possibilities in logical space (all possible propositions). The world is constituted by all of the realized possibilities in logical space (all the true propositions). What makes the difference between a realized possibility and an unrealized possibility? Whether or not the name used in the proposition expressing the possibility has a reference (names an object). A set of possibilities, none of which were realizable, would lack substance, so to speak. But there are some true propositions. Therefore some names have a reference. (For more on 'substance' see 2.0212) 2.0211If the world had no substance, then whether a proposition had sense would depend on whether another proposition was true. 2.0211. If we had to explain what we meant by a certain word, by referring to what we meant by another word etc., etc., we would never be able to say anything, i.e., never be able to successfully envisage a possibility. 2.0212In that case we could not sketch out any picture of the world (true or false) 2.0212 In that case we could not envisage any possibility-and a fortiori, we could not envisage any possibility as realized (true) or not realized (false). The substance of a linguistic practice-that which makes it real rather than imaginary-is that the rules governing the use of words can be followed. That they can be is what is meant by describing these rules as simple. If the rules were complex, I would have to understand their constituent rules in order to be able to follow the complex rule, and if the constituent rules were themselves complex, etc., etc., I could never get going-the linguistic practice would be imaginary-it would have no substance. Thus the linguistic counterpart of a proposition being true is the existence of the actual practice of following the rules governing the words that make up propositions. That we can follow these rules means the they must be simple. (And this prevents the reductio ad absurdum regress mentioned in 2.0211: "Then whether a proposition made sense would depend on whether another proposition was true") But as (complex) propositions do make sense by themselves, their constituents must be simple-i.e., the rules governing the use of the words that go to make them up must be capable of being followed. With reference to the later Wittgenstein, the philosophical interest here lies in the fact that rule-following is basic. It is something that I can do-though in a certain sense I do not know how I do it (I can't give a rule for how I follow a rule without falling into a regress). So my linguistic capacity depends on a fundamental ability which is the foundation of linguistic practice and it is the existence of this ability that allows language to be real (have substance). (Cf. Kant and the paradox of judgment, Critique of Pure Reason, A 133). 2.022 It is obvious that an imagined world, however different it may be from the real one, must have something-a form-in common with it. 2.022It is obvious that an imagined world-the propositions describing a possible state of affairs-however different they may be from the propositions which describe its actual state, must have something in common with it. What the imagined world has in common is that the words which are used to describe the possible world are the same as those used to describe the actual world. This means that the rules governing the use of these worlds-their logic-is the same. 2.023Objects are just what constitute this unalterable form. 2.023 The logical relationships between words are unalterable in the sense that once we understand the rules governing their logical relationships we understand all the possible ways in which they can be employed. The appearance of novelty (some alteration in the form) in the use of words is deceptive: any apparently new use for a word is simply a possibility that was built into the rules governing our words, a possibility that we had not, as a matter of fact, encountered before. However, the important thing is that we understand its 'new' use immediately. The evidence for this claim can be seen to lie in the business of employing metaphors. A metaphor reveals a semantic possibility that was there all the time in the logical form of the words used to construct it. If it had not been there you would not have understood the metaphor. Thus a truly 'bad' metaphor is one which does not reveal a possible combination of words but an impossible one. i.e., one which does not allow you to envisage a possible state of affairs. For example: "The football victory was the newspaper collected by the local scout troop to help finance their trip to the annual Jamboree." (What is the connection?) 2.0231 The substance of the world can only determine a form, and not any material properties. For it is only by means of propositions that material properties are represented-only by the configuration of objects that they are produced. 2.0231 The rules we employ when we use words can only constrain the possible combinations of words, not the results that these combination of words will have in revealing various possibilities. For it is only by means of propositions that material properties-the 'character' of the various possibilities-are represented. Only by the configuration (various combinations ) of words that they (the character of the possibilities ) is produced. The chemical analogy helps here: when oxygen and hydrogen combine in a test tube in the presence of a spark there is a characteristic 'pop' and a fine mist appears on the sides of the tube. But these are characteristics that could not be predicted simply from the character of the two elements because, in a sense, they are characterless until they combine. This is why Wittgenstein then says: 2.0232In a manner of speaking objects are colourless. 2.0232In a manner of speaking words have no meaning until combined with other words: then their meanings are revealed and these meanings are constituted by the fact that when words combine with other words in a certain way, then such and such a possibility is revealed. 2.0233If two objects have the same logical form, the only distinction between them, apart from their external properties, is that they are different. 2.0233If two words have the same logic-are governed by the same set of rules-the only distinction between them, apart from their external properties (the actual combinations that they have entered into) is that they are different (the difference here would be the difference between perfect synonyms (for example 'empty ' and 'void' ) viz., the sound they make when they are pronounced or the different combination of letters used to inscribe them. Wittgenstein is here simply emphasizing the fact that the logic of a word fully characterizes it as a semantic element. Any difference between two words that had the same logic would have to be charted in a non-semantic fashion. 2.02331a) Either a thing has properties that nothing else has, in which case we can immediately use a description to distinguish it from the others and refer to it; or, on the other hand, there are several things that have the whole set of their properties in common, in which case it is quite impossible to indicate one of them. 2.02331 a) Either a word is governed by a set of rules which do not govern any other word, in which case we can simply set out those rules and thereby distinguish it from any other set of rules and in this way, refer to-define-the word in question; or there are several words which are governed by the same set of rules, in which case we could not use this set of rules to pick out a particular one of these words. (We would have to pick the particular word out on some other non-semantic basis-as above.) b) For if there is nothing to distinguish a thing, I cannot distinguish it, since if I do it will be distinguished after all. b) For if there is no difference between the set of rules governing a word from the set governing another, I cannot distinguish it (from its fellow) as a word (as a semantic element)-since if I do I will have to do it by altering one or other of the set of rules (against the hypothesis, viz: ". . .there are several things that have the whole set of their properties in common . . ."). 2. 024 Substance is what subsists independently of what is the case. 2.024 The fact that language can describe all the possibilities inherent in the words it contains is a fact about it which is quite independent of which of the possibilities envisaged (when these words are combined into propositions) are true. Another version: Understanding the meaning of a language can be accomplished without knowing which of the propositions it contains are true. Thus, the 'substance' of a language belongs to it in virtue of the fact that we can make sense of its propositions, independently of the knowledge of which particular ones are true. 2.025 It is form and content 2.025 This fact that we can make sense of the propositions of a language without knowing which individual propositions are true is a function of the fact that all words have a form, a logic (a set of rules governing their use). But since utilizing this form involves combining words with other words-and since the resultant combinations involve envisaging possibilities, the propositions so formed have a content-they make sense, they mean something-and they mean something whether or not they happen to be true. 2.0251Space, time, and colour (being coloured) are forms of objects. 2.0251 The rules governing our talk about space, time. and colour are part and parcel of the rules governing those words which (when combined, in propositions) describe the relevant spatial, temporal, and 'colour' possibilities . 2.026There must be objects, if the world is to have an unalterable form. 2.026. There must be rules governed semantic elements (= words), if the results of combining them are, in turn, to be rule-governed in a determinate (unalterable) way. 2.027Objects, the unalterable and subsistent are one and the same. 2.027 Words are unalterable because they are constituted by rules and the rules cannot be altered: they can only be used or not used, or replaced by others. Wittgenstein. is making the point that, normally, when we say that something alters we imply that it changes in some respects while in other respects staying the same. A word cannot change its meaning in this way. If it changes at all, the rules governing it change. As a consequence it cannot be regarded as still being the same word. Calling words 'subsistent' refers to the fact that the rules governing their use-in combination with other words-yield propositions which describe possibilities. These possibilities enjoy a special kind of existence, namely, a logical existence. As such they are said to subsist. To be unalterable and to be subsistent are one and the same in that the rules and the possibilities countenanced by them are not two different things, the rules only function as rules-are only understood-when they generate the possibilities inherent in them. 2.0271 Objects are what is unalterable and subsistent; their configuration is what is changing and unstable. 2.0271 The rules governing words are what remain constant and what map out logical space-the grid defining all possibilities. Which possibilities are actually envisaged by particular propositions (in use) is what is changing and unstable. 2.0272The configuration of objects produces states of affairs. 2.0272Particular combinations of words produce propositions which describe particular possibilities. 2.03 In a state of affairs objects fit into one another like the links of a chain. 2.03 In a proposition describing a possibility, the rules governing the words used are compatible. It is this compatibility, this 'fit', that allows the proposition to make sense; which allows us to envisage a determinate possibility by combining particular words. No 'third thing' (a 'relation' as in aRb) joins words together just as no third thing joins the links of a chain together. This is because the rules that constitute a word are couched in terms of rules governing other words so words combine directly due to their 'logic' just as links hold together directly due to their shape. 2.031In a state of affairs objects stand in a determinate relation to one another. 2.031 In a proposition describing a possibility, the words are combined in accordance with rules, i.e the words bear a deteminate (= rule-governed) relation to each other). 2.032 The determinate way in which objects are connected in a state of affairs is the structure of the state of affairs. 2.032 The determinate way in which words are combined in a proposition is the realization of a particular possibility inherent in the rules governing the words involved. [It is for this reason that] 2.033Form is the possibility of structure. 2.033The rules governing the words in a language (the logical form of the language) have inherent in them all those possibilities which (articulated together) present us with the structure of reality (see 2.06). These rules are the logical form of the language. Within this grid of possibilities a particular determinate possibility can be envisaged by a particular combination of words. This particular combination of words structures or determines one of the possibilities inherent in the logical form of the language. 2.034The structure of a fact consists of the structures of states of affairs. 2.034The determinate possibility envisaged by a proposition which is itself made up of various propositions (combined by logical connectives, viz., 'either-or', 'and', 'if-then'), depends upon an understanding of the possibilities which the particular propositions (which are joined by the connectives) envisage. (2.034 looks forward to the section in which Wittgenstein discusses truth-tables etc., see, in particular, 4.411.) 2.04 The totality of existing states of affairs is the world. 2.04 The totality of true propositions describes those possibilities which are actual. 2.05The totality of existing states of affairs also determines which states of affairs do not exist. 2.05 The totality of true propositions also determines which propositions are false (namely all the other propositions/possibilities which can be envisaged). 2.06a) The existence and non-existence of states of affairs is reality. 2.06 a) We define reality in terms of those proposition which make sense: thus when I say "That is not a real possibility" I mean that I cannot make sense of the suggested possibility-cannot imagine what things would be like if it were true (or false). b) (We also call the existence of states of affairs a positive fact and the non- existence a negative fact.) b) We call the propositions describing those possibilities which are realized 'true' and those which are not 'false'. Every proposition true or false has a possibility associated with it. 2.061States of affairs are independent of each other. 2.061The possibilities envisaged by propositions are not dependent for their status as possibilities on any other possibilities we might envisage using other propositions. (In the same way, the meaning of a proposition-the possibility it envisages-is not dependent upon whether I understand the meaning of some other proposition.) 2.062From the existence or non-existence of one state of affairs it is impossible to infer the existence or non-existence of another. 2.062From the fact that a given possibility envisaged by a proposition turns out to be actualized (or not actualized) we cannot infer that any other possibility envisaged by any other proposition will be actualized or not actualized. In other words, we have to assign truth values to propositions before we can determine whether they are true and we have to do this empirically. Propositions describe possibilities not actualities. And possibilities are just that, possibilities. They are not deprived of their status as possibilities even when they are actualized and certainly not when some other possibility is actualized. As we will see at section 3.11, possibilities, as such, are actualized by thinking about what things would be like if they were realized, and thinking of this does not depend upon the possibility of their actually being realized. Therefore the actual realization of any possibility-the truth of any proposition-cannot be the basis of an inference to the actual realization of any other possibility-the truth (or falsity) of any other proposition. 2.063The sum total of reality is the world 2.063 [Here Wittgenstein makes a mistake in terms of his earlier characterization of the world and reality. What he meant to say-no doubt-was something like the following]. The sum total of true propositions describes the world. The propositions which describe the world are a subset of the description of what the world could be like. This larger set of possibilities is what we refer to as reality. So on this reading 2.063 would read: "The sum total of those states of affairs which actually exist make up the world." At 2.1 Wittgenstein introduces the picture theory of meaning. Counterpart ontological translations of the semantic passages which follow are useful as expository devices but at this stage it should be clear "how to go on". COMMENTS AND QUESTIONS WELCOME AT: david.ward@stonebow.otago.ac.nz