Maarten Maartensz

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Introduction by
   Bertrand Russell
Title page
Foreword by
   Ludwig Wittgenstein
Full text


Start of text with notes




Welcome to my Wittgenstein pages!

Ludwig Wittgenstein

This is the start of a much better edition of + comments on the Tractatus than there was and the new Wittgenstein-section is being overhauled since and is not finished yet.

The left pane links to the following parts of the Tractatus

Introduction by   .......  Russell's intro, to follow
Bertrand Russell  ..   Link to my BR-pages
Title page   ...............  Titlepage Tractatus + dedication + motto 
Foreword b...............
  Wittgenstein's foreword
Ludwig Wittgenstein  To follow
Contents   ...............    Links to the main theses in Comments seriess

   Logico-Philosophicus Full text without comments, with links, 1 file.

If you want the text of the Tractatus, you want the last link. It's numbers link to my comments to the theses with those numbers, but these you thus avoid. By contrast

Start of text with notes

is Tractatus 1 with my comments, from which you can step through the whole Tractatus per thesis + my comments, with links to the whole text.

A feature of my comments is that it has many links to my Philosophical Dictionary, which should have the merit of clarifying at least my own terminology as well as I can.

At present only the thesis 1.. are done mostly, but most of the rest is in place and mostly needs formatting and linking.

The arrow-links do this

  Tractatus full text
  All theses + all comments in a section (1 .. 7)

More to follow later, as the update is a work in progress.


And today, 7-7-2013, I seem to have finished my Wittgenstein criticism. (I don't like "critique".)

It took me a mere 45 years, though indeed I have worked on it only sporadically and rarely. The reasons for that are mostly Wittgenstein's very quaint style of writing in the Tractatus, plus my conviction that he was in most ways quite mistaken.

As it is, I am older now than Wittgenstein ever got to be, and have been ill the last 35 years, with M.E. (Myalgic Encephalomyelitis), a disease which also makes it very unlikely, and in my case certain, that one gets help of any kind, a few special persons excepted, who cannot do much. (And yes: it is a real, painful, seriously invalidating disease, about which alas there is not yet a good medical explanation.)

As to my own adventures with M.E. in Academia: in spite of the facts that I have a very good philosophical B.A. and a truly excellent psychological M.A. I also got no help whatsoever to get a promotion, except minimalized dole, that was the one thing that could not be refused to me.

And I was thrown from the faculty of philosophy of the University of Amsterdam, briefly before taking my M.A. there, for the crime of asking questions, and was the only person thus honoured in the Netherlands since 1945.

But OK... at long last I have a finished first version of my criticism of Wittgenstein's Tractatus - and the best way to summarize my criticism is that the Tractatus is mostly nonsense, and the reason this is not often seen is that it simply is a very obscurely written book, that does require rather a lot of knowledge of logic and philosophy of science in one to be able to understand it.

Also, not everything in it is nonsense, though the things that are not seem to have been mostly said earlier by others, whom Wittgenstein did not mention, such as Bolzano. (Those who want to know more, I refer to Wittgenstein’s Ph.D Viva— A Re-Creation by Laurence Goldstein, that has the merit of being also rather funny, at least if you have an interest.)

What more to say? I make a few points.

  • This will be of interest to only a few, and of these few most will regard me as mistaken. This can't be helped, and all I can reply is that I have done my best.
  • Also, I am a serious philosopher, with a very large amount of relevant knowledge of logic and philosophy of science and of classic philosophy (meaning here: everything until the 20th C).
  • The reason you don't know me is that I have been kicked from the University of Amsterdam, while I was ill, and I did not see any reason to try to make it in philosophy after that, as long as I was ill, which has been the case ever since.
  • Nevertheless, I did write a great amount of philosophy: If you check out my list of philosophers you'll find that I have commented over 20 philosophical books, usually with comments that are as long as the books. Most of these comments are in English, and some - such as those on Leibniz - have been lauded. (See also Maarten Maartensz.)
  • If I have to place myself in philosophy, I should say I have learned most from Peirce, Russell, Ramsey, Broad, Bunge and Zinoviev, and have opposed marxism, totalitarianism, and postmodernism - and the last three were the strongly dominant modes in the University of Amsterdam from 1971-1995, when I was at it.
  • Apart from the 20th Century philosophers I mentioned, I have learned much from Aristotle, Lucretius, Ockham, Galileo, Hobbes, Hume, Leibniz, Hazlitt, Schopenhauer, and Boole.
  • Each of the men I mentioned by name were greater or far greater men than Ludwig Wittgenstein, but then indeed Wittgenstein lived and flourished at a time that was mostly quite bad for real and serious philosophy.
Finally, the text you have now of the Tractatus plus my comments takes on my site around 5 MB. It is fairly well organized, with each thesis its own file, with my comments under it.

Since these comments of mine started over 45 years ago, when I was 18, and since I have worked - sporadically and rarely - some 15 years to get them done as html, you can be sure I have made some mistakes, committed some infelicities, and left quite a lot of unclarities.

Then again, at least my text is fairly clear philosophy. If I live long enough, and my health does not get worse, I probably will go through it once more, but for the moment I am relieved I have, indeed at long last, finished this first version of my criticism of the Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus.

last update: 7-Jul-2013