Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus 

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Ludwig Wittgenstein

Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus (tree-like view)


The text of this interactive digital edition is based on Project Gutenberg's Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus, by Ludwig Wittgenstein, which was produced by Jana Srna, Norbert H. Langkau, and the Online Distributed Proofreading Team at; the Project Gutenberg's edition is, in turn, a reproduction of Ludwig Wittgenstein. Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus, edited by C. K. Ogden and F. P. Ramsey, Kegan Paul, Trench, Trubner & Co., 1922. The original used a lower-case 'v' for the logical or operator; it has been replaced with the correct '∨' character. Every effort has been made to replicate the original text as faithfully as possible. The interactive presentation of this edition was designed by Michele Lavazza and reviewed by David Chandler for the Ludwig Wittgenstein Project. The original-language text is in the public domain in its country of origin and other countries and areas where the copyright term is the author's life plus 70 years or fewer. This translation is in the public domain in its country of origin and other countries and areas where the copyright term is the author's life plus 70 years or fewer. Additionally, both the original-language text and the translation are in the public domain in the United States, because they were published before 1 January 1927.

Ludwig Wittgenstein

Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus

to the memory of my friend

. . . und alles, was man weiss, nicht bloss rauschen und brausen gehört hat, lässt sich in drei Worten sagen.



This book will perhaps only be understood by those who have themselves already thought the thoughts which are expressed in it—or similar thoughts. It is therefore not a text-book. Its object would be attained if there were one person who read it with understanding and to whom it afforded pleasure.

The book deals with the problems of philosophy and shows, as I believe, that the method of formulating these problems rests on the misunderstanding of the logic of our language. Its whole meaning could be summed up somewhat as follows: What can be said at all can be said clearly; and whereof one cannot speak thereof one must be silent.

The book will, therefore, draw a limit to thinking, or rather—not to thinking, but to the expression of thoughts; for, in order to draw a limit to thinking we should have to be able to think both sides of this limit (we should therefore have to be able to think what cannot be thought).

The limit can, therefore, only be drawn in language and what lies on the other side of the limit will be simply nonsense.

How far my efforts agree with those of other philosophers I will not decide. Indeed what I have here written makes no claim to novelty in points of detail; and therefore I give no sources, because it is indifferent to me whether what I have thought has already been thought before me by another.

I will only mention that to the great works of Frege and the writings of my friend Bertrand Russell I owe in large measure the stimulation of my thoughts.

If this work has a value it consists in two things. First that in it thoughts are expressed, and this value will be the greater the better the thoughts are expressed. The more the nail has been hit on the head.—Here I am conscious that I have fallen far short of the possible. Simply because my powers are insufficient to cope with the task.—May others come and do it better.

On the other hand the truth of the thoughts communicated here seems to me unassailable and definitive. I am, therefore, of the opinion that the problems have in essentials been finally solved. And if I am not mistaken in this, then the value of this work secondly consists in the fact that it shows how little has been done when these problems have been solved.

[Expand]1 The world is everything that is the case.[1]
[Expand]2 What is the case, the fact, is the existence of atomic facts.
[Expand]3 The logical picture of the facts is the thought.
[Expand]4 The thought is the significant proposition.
[Expand]5 Propositions are truth-functions of elementary propositions.

(An elementary proposition is a truth-function of itself.)

[Expand]6 The general form of truth function is: .

This is the general form of proposition.

7 Whereof one cannot speak, thereof one must be silent.

  1. The decimal figures as numbers of the separate propositions indicate the logical importance of the propositions, the emphasis laid upon them in my exposition. The propositions n.1, n.2, n.3, etc., are comments on proposition No. n; the propositions n.m1, n.m2, etc., are comments on the proposition No. n.m; and so on.