(a) What aspects of Wittgenstein’s account of “any of the propositions of any sign
language” does Carruthers criticize in this passage?
Wittgenstein’s reversal on the ‘language of thought doctrine has made me understand that
there is some kind of similarity between thinking and language, for thinking can be considered
some form of language). It is very difficult to distinguish speech from thought, as thought is the
process which accompanies, he words if they are not to be spoken without thought (Georgallides,
2015. Therefore, it can be seen that to some extent language is itself the vehicle of thought. Peter
Carruthers in Tractarian Semantics represents that isomorphism theses cannot be supposed to as
a necessary truth about linguistic representation, which is more of criticism to what is claim by
Wittgenstein regarding the proposition that any sign language.
In TLP 4.5, Wittgenstein provides a preposition that a sense can be expressed by a
description of the propositions of any sign-language whatever in such manner that ever sense
possible is expressed through a satisfying symbol of description, as long as the meanings of the
names are chosen suitably. Based on the argument, it can be said that Wittgenstein believes that
is something is considered a preposition then such a thing should have the capability of showing
how things stand in certain ways.
Since it has been indicated that Wittgenstein is a believer propositions truth-functions of
the propositions that are elementary, and elementary being in itself a truth-function, and truth-
arguments in propositions are all part of elementary propositions (TLP 5-5.01). What this means
is that analysis of the propositions should be based on elementary propositions, as they are the
simplest form of propositions. (TLP 4.21). The existence of the state of affairs is known by the
truth of the elementary propositions, and non-existence is indicated by false elementary
proposition (TLP 4.25). A nexus of elementary proposition consists of names which only occur
in the nexus of such propositions, and such names being the simplest of symbols (TLP 4.22,
There is a further demonstration by Wittgenstein of his view by giving an example. In the
example, he indicates them by the letters (‘x’, ‘y’, ‘z’). He writes such propositions as name
functions, thus having the form ‘fx’, ‘x,y’, among many others. Additionally, such should be
indicated by the letters’ ‘p’, ‘q’, ‘r’ (TLP 4.24). He continues by indicating that such letters are
abstract and they have to be made concrete. What this means that functions of names can be
created from elementary propositions. For instance, “x is tall” and “x is taller than y”, and “x and
y” are to be considered the place-holders of such names. However, letters ‘p’, ‘q’ and ‘r’ can also
be used individually by each description the tallness of itself without making a comparison to
another. This is what Wittgenstein argues that propositions are functions of elementary
propositions and all such functions of names. Therefore, propositions must have names.
However, Carruthers differs from Wittgenstein's view by providing an objection through
a demonstration that certain languages have no proper names as they are only relational and
predicates expressions with individuals being indicated by the properties of such predicative
expressions. Taking into consideration the question, Carruthers can be regard based on the idea
of proper names in the same way as the “names” of Wittgenstein. An interpretation of the
objection of Carruthers is one then sees language with names, forgetting the fact that such might
be true for natural languages. Nevertheless, there is a possibility for the existence of languages
without names showing Wittgenstein’s account regarding forms of propositions.
(b) How big a problem does Carruthers present for Wittgenstein’s account? Does TLP
The big problem that is presented for Wittgenstein’s account is that objects which are
described through language, being expressions can only be properly articulated when such are
compared with those that have different distinctions. First, objects do exist together with others,
which means that if a distinction is to be made regarding the different objects, then a comparison
of those attributes that are not the same should be given out to give a proper distinction. Second,
the best way to express a language to provide different meaning is to provide the differences in
the expressions that are being described by the language.
Peter Carruthers has defended his linguistic version, as he holds that Wittgenstein’s
remarks are suggesting a quasi-Fregean use of “thought”, as a cover of all significant uses of
signs. He is of the thinking that thoughts are only quasi-Fregean since “sense is not, as in Frege,
detachable from the use of signs as a language (McDonough, 1994). Since he is of such opinion
that is senses are “functions of conventionally determined uses of signs”, he can be considered to
seeing language as account of senses as a version of the use of conception of meaning and
species of conventionalism. Carruthers can be argued to mischaracterize the mentalistic
interpretation, which he disparagingly calls psychologism, which portends that thoughts are
private objects. However, the notion of a private object playing little role in the defenses of
The understanding of the use of “thought” brings us to what Wittgenstein thinks of
propositions being reality pictures as he puts in it TLP 4.01. An analysis of a picture can reveal
several things, such as the elements forming such a picture being the representations of the
objects as they exist in the world. For Wittgenstein, is of the idea that the elements of pictures are
construed in respect to other elements, making the objects in the world to be defined best only
through comparing them with others in the world.
According to Wittgenstein, two names should not be signified by a relation between the
two of them, instead by a relational sign of possessing two distinct attributes. In TLP 2.17, he
argues that the common features of a picture with reality is the ability to depict the reality
correctly or incorrectly from such pictorial form. The meaning of this position is that when two
things are being looked, the focus should not be on the aspects that are to give the exact opposite
of what the other is but to provide the various characteristics of the two objects, which the aim
that in the process the other person understanding the language could get to know the difference
between the two objects that form the subject of discussion. For example, in the scenario, the
attribute ‘tall’ is used and Wittgenstein of the opinion that each of the persons being described
should be described in respect to their respective attributes of the characteristics instead of being
compared to each other for the distinction to be clear.
On other hand, Carruthers is of the idea that isomorphism, which is what is being pushed
by Wittgenstein in terms of description of the different attributes of two different people, cannot
be supposed to be necessary truth about linguistic representation as such. According to
Carruthers, such would be contingent, if ubiquitous, fact about the natural language. Based on
this statement, Carruthers believes that the way objects are depicted against each other is one of
the ways in which the different expressions of language can be elaborated, instead of trying to
isolate each and every object. The criticism of Carruthers is more plausible in that objects can
only be distinguished from others through language and so can be done through isomorphism.
Therefore, Carruthers does not present much of a problem as it tries to add to what has been
provided by Wittgenstein to ensure language is understood better.
(a) This figure is strange. What makes it strange? Is it that it is a picture of an impossible
There are two aspects of the picture that makes it strange. First, a look at the picture from
the angle of drawing in which it has been presented highlights the fact that the picture is having
more that one shape. Ordinarily, when a picture is drawn, although different people might
interpret the picture in different ways, which is the case with philosophers, however, a majority
who have seen such a picture before with an explanation of what it is will have the same
When one looks at the picture deliberately, one can have an idea that it is a various piece
of wood joined at different angles to make a shape of a square box. Another idea that can be
gotten from looking at the picture, taking into consideration how the wooden parts have moved
across and against each other, one would argued that one side of the square depiction is not
complete like other part as the part that was supposed to form it has been joined in another part.
The second depiction of the picture bring results to the other aspect of the picture of it
being a picture of an impossible situation. The way of way the different wooden parts of that
form up the picture are joined as represented in the picture would not happen in the real world
when different parts of such woods as joined as one or two parts will find themselves blocking
each other. Therefore, it means that it is an impossible representation of such an objective in the
real world. If such a picture was to be brought and people are asked to view it from the angle in
which it has been represented then they will only see one side of the picture with all other parts
However, it should be noted the impossible representation of the picture is only to those
who have encountered a 3D representation of a square representation. This has been supported
by the different philosophers who have given their opinion in regards to “theory of forms”.
Although different philosophers disagree on issues regarding the topic, they all acknowledge the
fact that how things appear might not necessarily mean that is the way they are in reality.
(b) What, if anything, does this figure teach about Wittgenstein’s ideas about models and
Ludwig Wittgenstein discusses various issues about perception in the latter part of the
Philosophical Investigations work that is greatly credited towards the inspiration of the important
contemporary concept of depiction, in which the perceiver's visual experiences of pictures form
key part of the explanation of such a picture (Budd, 1987) .
Theorists who made contributions to this idea modified the concept of “seeing as”, as a
perceptual concept critical in the understanding of the visual experiences as part of the theories
of depiction. A look and examination of the scattered remarks of Wittgenstein’s own concepts of
perception and experience indicates that he had offered for much more compared that of those
who are seeking a perceptual theory of depiction. An understanding of the strangeness and the
impossibility of the situation in which it represents can be understood through analysis of
Wittgenstein’s ideas about mode is and depiction.
The appropriate place in the understanding of the difference drawn by Wittgenstein of the
different kind of pictures and the corresponding difference in visual experience of such pictures,
is the knowing that the former distinction is mainly for unambiguous pictures with a subject
matter that is determinate and one that is multi-aspect such as the illustration given of the duck-
rabbit depiction as will be seen later in the discussion.
In the discussion context of this latter kind of picture, a distinction is drawn by
Wittgenstein the two types of aspect that is the ‘continuous seeing’ aspect and the ‘dawning of an
aspect.’ The latter refers to those instances when there is change of our experience of a real
picture of the object presented, without the picture itself experiencing change (Friday, 2004) .
When looking at the picture provided, each change of visual experience, marks the dawning
aspect. In this case, the seeing, which is a formulation is used in reporting that an aspect is
dawned or to indicate which of the different aspects is experienced at that particular time. When
we look at the picture there are different images that are formed in the mind that one might say
that we see the picture in the different representations in the mind instead of the one picture that
is picture itself. It is important that we report the aspects of the picture that is the focus of the
seeing process. The other side is that ‘continuous seeing’ is a perceptual state which entails only
one aspect that is engaged in the provision of the viewed with unchanging attention as it relates
For instance, when taking a looking at line resulting from an unambiguous drawing of an
object, in what is referred by Wittgenstein as a “picture -object”, which means that there is no
lending of itself to the aspect of dawning experiences that are mind-focused view of such
The reports of perceptual dawning aspect of experiences are different from those that
entails continuous seeing aspect in a way that provides a way of creating a distinction about the
different kinds of awareness of perception. When we continuously see a picture of what it
depicts, we must be able to report what we through a non-temporal formulation such as “it is a
square”, “I see a square”, etc.-which creates the implication a continuous seeing as being an state
of perception that is never changing as compared to visual experience. A contrast of this is that a
change of aspects is indicated by a formulation that is temporary of the report such as “now it is
a square”, which has the implication that seeing as an aspect is dawned by experience based on
visual in that there is a noticed change founded on a state of perception to another.
There is a “similarity” difference between the two kinds of aspects of perceptions as it
focuses on their relationship of exercising imagination. Wittgenstein observes that an individual
might be boulder, and the person seeing such an individual may exclaim such a person to be a
man. However, there is no imagination that is needed for recognition of true-to-life picture of
what is really meant by a dog being a dog. He further went on to show that when one is looking
at a photograph, they do not tell themselves that they could not seen such as human being (Sened
& Smila, 2009)
Although the square picture has a form such that people could imagine seeing it as a box,
it makes no sense in trying to suggest that it could in a continuous manner be seen as a box
whenever glanced. Imagining one thing as the other has none of the spontaneity of the
continuous idea of perception. Likewise, it is of no sense either to suppose that when a
continuous seeing of a picture of an unambiguous picture creates the imagination to do so, that it
would mean that there is such an idea as looking at a green leaf and imagining that such a leaf is
green. People could look at the green leaf and imagine that it is something different from a leaf
such as a green plastic, which creates the indication that there is a possibility of seeing such an
object as being the real one as opposed to the illusion or what can be termed as fake one.
It can be inferred that imagination is key in some of the experiences in that some of such
experiences although do not create the aspect of them consist of aspects of continuous visual
awareness of the subject matter of such pictures they have some dawning aspects that are
unambiguous. The role played by dawning-aspect experience imagination creates another
criterion for having distinction of such visual experiences from those that are continuous in
nature, and the first hint that seeing should not be considered as the only appropriate concept for
invoking if an account of depiction.
The strangeness and the impossible situation presented by the picture create doubt about
the appropriateness of seeing-as are raised by the discussion of Wittgenstein when he is
contrasting between the experiences of seeing a change of aspects and what he refers as
continuous ‘attitude’ to an aspect. He writes that if some aspects are standing towards a picture
face as is can be seen in the picture given in the scenario, a reaction to it as to the expression can
be construed as how a child who refers to a doll to have a picture-men or picture -animals.
An extrapolation of the contrast between such an aspect-dawning and attitude experience
provides another unique criterion that creates a distinction between the two different kinds of
perception. It is important to identify that Wittgenstein’s point was to prevent some illusion that
the picture face is really what it is thought to be. Rather, the response should be on some respects
on what is seen as if the depiction is the actual thing that is being depicted. Such characterization
of this attitude towards what is seen during the continuous perception of aspects as it does not
preclude the awareness of what as been see is picture of something (Friday, 2004) . It should be
noted that the relation between the attitude one has towards a picture of something and the
attitude one has towards a the real thing, as well as an indication that something of a nature of
such attitude is that our attitude is a towards a drawn picture drives historically from our attitude
of a real picture, and the latter does not form part of the former.
In looking at a physical object, it is true that there is no change that can take place in such
an object by just looking at it, however, while in the process of looking at such an object, the
way in which it is seen always changes. Although we see that no difference has occurred in such
an object to warrant the change in how we see such objects, it should appreciate that people will
see such an object differently (Budd, 1987) . For example, in the picture provided, people might
pass from seeing a puzzle-picture like the one shown as mere lines to seeing it as a containing
depicture of a square object, from seeing such an object as mere lines to seeing it as a figure that
consists of a square and rhombuses. Another good example to try and explain the Wittgenstein
idea of “seeing aspects” can be explained by the letter “W.” Capital W when turn upside down
forms letter M. These are some of the many examples that can be found on the numerous places
of Wittgenstein’s writings.
In conclusion, Wittgenstein extended the discussion of perceptual concepts to the main
focus on a wide range of aspect-dawning phenomena and experiences. In the course of his
arguing, however, he briefly returns back to continuous seeing and unambiguous pictures.
Therefore, the strangeness and impossible of the situation presented by the picture brought by the
attitude created towards the picture that is seeing the picture in the strangeness and impossibility
because of the attitude being put towards it. In this discussion, all that remains is to note two
primary plausible hypotheses from the psychology of perceptual experience as they provide
some indication of how people come to be able to grasp pictorial meaning.
Awodey, S. (2006). Isomorphisms". Category theory. London: Oxford University Press.
Budd, M. (1987). Wittgenstein on Seeing Aspects. Oxford University Press, 1-17.
Friday, J. (2004). Wittgenstein and the Visual Experience of Depiction. Aesthetics and
Georgallides, A. (2015). The unclarity of the notion ‘object’ in the Tractatus. University of
McDonough, R. (1994). Wittgenstein's Reversal on the `Language of Thought' Doctrine. The
Philosophical Quarterly, 482-494.
Sened, I., & Smila, S. (2009). Towards a 'Picture Theory' Philosophy of Science. Tel Aviv
University; Washington University.