HOME           A tabbed version of the Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus : some information

A couple of comments on the original Gutenberg edition

This visualization of the Tractatus, based on a series of nested tabs, is a little side-project I did while fiddling with a Semantic Web version (= structured) of the Tractatus I was working on (you can find more information about this work by looking at my webpage). Ideally, in the future, we will have many more philosophical and literary texts available in a structured and SW-compliant format, so that people could easily play with them, computationally!. The main reason that motivated me to do this simple but, in my opinion, interesting visualization is the fact that often new insights and understanding can be stimulated just by a novel representation of something we are accustomed to see (or read, in the case of a text) in a different format. Hopefully some of you readers will experience something like this!

The text of the Tractatus has been taken from the freely available Project Gutenberg electronic version. While comparing it with the original book I have, I found:

  • a few missing propositions (= proposition of the Tractatus which are not present in the Gutemberg version),
  • some other ones which were mistaken (= the numbers or content are not correct),
  • and finally, some which are just wrongly indented (= they easily generate mistakes, if the text is automatically parsed).

  • In the following list you can find a more detailed summary of these results - please get in touch if you have some feedback or questions!

    The Phantom Propositions

    Note: this section has been taken from the original Jonathan Laventhol's hypertextual version of the Tractatus - being his explanation very clear, and his work (which dates back to 1996!!) so original and inspiring, I am quite pleased to link back to it!

    Although Wittgenstein says that ``the propositions n.m1, n.m2, etc., are comments on the proposition No. n.m'' this isn't strictly true. For example, Proposition 2 is followed by 2.01, not 2.0 -- giving rise to an opportunity for ``angel/pinhead'' disputation.

    We will try to stay with the angels: a pragmatic decision was made to add ``phantom'' propositions, whose numbers end with ``0'', as this makes the pages shorter.

    Experimentation showed that the best structure for the web site was for each proposition to have its own page, with showing the proposition and annotations to it. In general, interactive text web sites appear to work best when they are ``short and bushy'' (short pages, many links) rather ``tall and sparse'' (long pages, few links).

    To do this, fifteen phantoms were added -- you can read the notes under them yourself and perhaps find some significance in their absence from the original: 2.0, 2.020, 2.20, 3.00, 3.0, 3.20, 4.00, 4.0, 5.0, 5.10, 5.50, 5.530, 6.00. 6.0. 6.120.

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