The world is the totality of facts, not of things?

1 The world is everything that is the case.
1.1 The world is the totality of facts, not of things.
1.11 The world is determined by the facts, and by these being all the facts.
1.12 For the totality of facts determines both what is the case, and also all that is not the case.
1.13 The facts in logical space are the world.
1.2 The world divides into facts.
1.21 Any one can either be the case or not be the case, and everything else remain the same.

2 What is the case, the fact, is the existence of atomic facts.
2.01 An atomic fact is a combination of objects (entities, things).

(Wittgenstein, 1921)

The are the first nine propositions of Wittgenstein’s monumental work Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus. The first seven propositions deal with the stance, namely that of idealism. “The world is the totality of facts, not of things,” states Wittgenstein. Following Berkeley things only exist insofar as they are perceived. Minimally, things are secondary to the mind.

Suppose there are two facts about one thing. Then, there must be more facts than things. Suppose now another person held those two facts as well but held a third fact about the thing. Exactly where do the number of facts end?

To me, Wittgenstein got it wrong from the very beginning of his first attempt at the philosophical enterprise. He knew this too and changed tact with his second attempt found in Philosophical Investigations, a work which, in my opinion, was more successful and more correct.

The problem, to me, is with language, or rather with the relationship of language with concepts and things.


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