But What Do You Mean? - An essay on Ludwig Wittgenstein's linguistics and logical theories

Essay by BluenotesBabyHigh School, 12th gradeA+, December 2002

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There are times in one's life when words are simply not enough to express the degree of love or even hatred felt towards a person or idea. What one person believes to be true in their mind, can often not be passed on to another without exceptional difficulty. Is it possible that the words designed to assist human beings in communication are the primary reason for misunderstanding, misconceptions and utter confusion among individuals? A person's mind and thinking process are independent from that of his or her peers. Therefore, it is impossible to avoid such conflicts because of the lack of uniformity in the way people think and comprehend ideas.

Ludwig Wittgenstein was a revolutionary philosopher who studied linguistics and logic. Through "The Tractatus" and "Philosophical Investigations" and his own logical understandings, he was able to explain the flaws of the human language to the world.

"The Tractatus" was the first literary work that Wittgenstein had published in 1922, to explain his views on the limitations of the human language.

The major theme of the Tractatus is what cannot be said by merely using language. Wittgenstein states that:

Since propositions merely express facts about the world, propositions themselves are entirely devoid of value. The facts are just the facts. Everything else, everything about which we care, everything that might render the world meaningful, must reside elsewhere. (Kemerling)

What he was attempting to convey was that even words that are believed to have meaning in fact are quite meaningless. The importance behind the words used, do not lie in the actual words themselves, or even in the sentences that contain them. It is important to be aware that everything that has meaning, lies somewhere else, such as the object being addressed. Wittgenstein further argues that:

Everything that is true--that...