This book will perhaps only be understood by
those who have themselves already thought the thoughts which are
expressed in it -- or similar thoughts. it is therefore not a
text-book. Its object would be attained if it afforded pleasure to one
who read it with understanding.
The book deals with the problems of philosophy
and shows, as I believe, that the method of formulating these problems
rests on the misunderstanding of the logic of our language. Its whole
meaning could be summed up somewhat as follows: What can be said at
all can be said clearly; and whereof one cannot speak thereof one must
The book will, therefore, draw a limit to
thinking, or rather -- not to thinking, but to the expression of
thoughts; for, in order to draw a limit to thinking we should have to
be able to thnk both sides of this limit (we should therefore have to
be able to think what cannot be thought).
The limit can, therefore, only be drawn in
language and what lies on the other side of the limit will be simply
How far my efforts agree with those of other
philosophers I will not decide. Indeed what I have here written makes
no claim to novelty in points of detail; and therefore I give no
sources, because it is indifferent to me whether what I have thought
has already been thought before my by another.
I will only mention that to the great works of Frege and the writings of my friend Bertrand Russell I owe in large
measure the stimulation of my thoughts.
If this work has a value it consists in two
things. First that in it thoughts are expressed, and this value will
be the greater the better the thoughts are expressed. the more the
nail has been hit on the heard. -- Here I am conscious that I have
fallen far short of the possible. Simply because my powers are
insufficient to cope with the task. -- May others come and do it
On the other hand the truth of the
thoughts communicated here seems to me unassailable and definitive. I
am, therefore, of the opinion that the problems have in essentials
been finally solved. And if I am not mistaken in this, then the value
of this work secondly consists in the fact that it shows how little
has been done when these problems have been solved.