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The Great Mirror: An Essay on Wittgenstein's Tractatus

The Great Mirror: An Essay on Wittgenstein's Tractatus


Item Code: IDJ070

by R. C. Pradhan

Hardcover (Edition: 2007)

Kalki Prakash, Delhi in Association with Munshiram Manoharlal
ISBN 121511801

Size: 9.6" X 6.3"
Pages: 379
Price: $50.00
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The present work is the result of my prolonged teaching and research on Wittgenstein's Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus. I had initially planned to publish three volumes, the first on the Tractatus, the second on the Philosophical Investigations and the third on the other writings of Wittgenstein. But presently only the first volume is ready for publication while the other two are relegated to an uncertain future.

My experience in teaching the Tractatus uncovers the need to highlight the main doctrines therein in order that the students appreciate the depth of the work. In my view, most studies on this work have not been able to bring out this depth because they have treated it rather as Wittgenstein's early work which has only historical merit. In effect, the Tractatus has not been studied as an independent work.

In this study I have treated this work as valuable in its own right as one of the classics of philosophy comparable to any great work in the history philosophy. It has survived the test of the time by remaining at the center-stage of philosophical thinking in the West and wherever else Wittgenstein is studied and taught.

I have profited in this endeavour from innumerable students whom I have taught and from colleagues with whom I have discussed some of the issues. I am thankful to all of them, though I cannot individually name them here. I am thankful to the Department of Philosophy, University of Hyderabad, and to Indian Council of Philosophical Research for providing me all the necessary facilities for completing the work.

I am grateful to Professor D.P. Chattopadhyaya for the writing the Foreword to this work and for encouraging me to publish it. I am grateful to Professor Bhuvan Chandel for accepting the work for publication by Kalki Prakash. I thank Dr. Mercy Helen for going through the manuscript and saving me from many errors.

I express my thankfulness to Shri Sreekumaran S. for taking care of the production of the book on behalf of Kalki Prakash and to Shri Pratap Sharma for typesetting the manuscript.

I am grateful to my wife Jhansi and my sons, Nachiketa and Sabyasachi for their love and for bearing with my long absence from home.


About the book:

This Book proposes to examine the central doctrines of Wittgenstein's Tractatus from a transcendental point of view. Wittgenstein has been treated for long as an empiricist and positivist thinker. This has resulted in a total distortion of Wittgenstein's philosophy in the Tractatus. I have tried to rectify the distortion by showing that Wittgenstein has argued for a transcendental point of view which sets the limits of language and scientific thought. Wittgenstein does not take the scientific way of understanding reality as fundamental to philosophy, because science does not represent the whole of reality. Philosophy, because science does no represent the whole of reality. Philosophy, according to him, sets limits to science and scientific thought and allows for religion and ethics which introduce the higher realms of thought not expressible in scientific language. Hence, Wittgenstein's plea for the Transcendental and the Mystical.

The book brings Wittgenstein's thought closer to that of the Vedanta by showing that Wittgenstein echoes the Vedantic idea that the ultimate reality is beyond language and intellect.

About the Author

Ramesh Chander Pradhan is Professor in the Department of Philosophy at the University of Hyderabad and is currently the Member-Secretary of the Indian Council of Philosophical Research, New Delhi. He obtained Ph.D. in philosophy from Banaras Hindu University and did his post doctoral research at Oxford University, U.K. He has authored books and published papers in philosophical journals. He specializes in Philosophy of Language and especially in the Philosophy of Wittgenstein



Preface xi
Foreword by D.P.Chattopadhya xiii
Introduction xix
Chapter 1 The Beginnings and the Sources of Wittgensteion's Early Philosophy 1
Chapter 2 Wittgenstein and Russell: Founding Logic and Metaphysics 41
Chapter 3 Wittgenstein and Frege: The Linguistic Turn 77
Chapter 4 Wittgenstein, Schopenhauer and Kant: The Transcendental Roots of the Tractatus 117
Chapter 5 Philosophy, Metaphysics and the Critique of Language 147
Chapter 6 The Structure and Limits of Sense 177
Chapter 7 Language and Reality: Towards the Possibility of a Picture theory of Language 205
Chapter 8 Logic, Logical Form and Logical Necessity 235
Chapter 9 The Metaphysics of the World: Essence and Existence 263
Chapter 10 Self, Will and the World 293
Chapter 11 Free Will, Determinism and Ethics 331
Chapter 12 In Defence of the Mystical 357
Select Bibliography 375
Index 379
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