Wittgenstein Flies a Kite: A Story of Models of Wings and Models of the World by Susan G. Sterrett

Wittgenstein Flies a Kite: A Story of Models of Wings and Models of the World Author: Susan G. Sterrett
eBook Title: Wittgenstein Flies a Kite: A Story of Models of Wings and Models of the World
ISBN10: 0131499971
ISBN13: 978-0131499973
Language: English
Publisher: Pi Press; 1st edition (November 16, 2005)
Category: Engineering & Transportation
Subcategory: Transportation
Size ePub vers.: 1317 kb
Size PDF vers.: 1467 kb
Other formats: cb7, odf, pdf, azw, ibooks, mobi
Rating: 4.7
Votes: 299

In this elegant historical narrative of ideas, Duke professor of philosophy Susan Sterrett reveals a story at the beginning of our modern fascination with the nature of language. The philosophy of language and experimental research in aeronautics made great leaps at about the same time in the early twentieth century. Strange as it may sound, this was no coincidence. Sterrett shows what Wittgenstein's glimpse of a solution to the problem of language in 1914 had to do with experimental models- which had been so crucial to the Wright brothers' solving the problem of flight. On the ever of World War I in Europe, Wittgenstein, after having left aeronautical research to study philosophy, was deeply dissatisfied with Bertrand Russell's solution to the paradoxes of logic: the theory of types. Meanwhile, across the Atlantic Ocean, a physicist called upon to help set up U.S. aeronautical research capability was pondering how the logic of empirical equations held the key to identifying physically similar situations, which in turn explain the success of the Wright brothers' research on their apparatus constructed of cardboard cartons and bicycle parts. His conclusion had a twist: what mattered was the mere existence of an equation that would work for any units one chose to use. This highly abstract explanation held an answer to Wittgenstein's problems about the logic of propositions. In a moment of insight, he became convinced that thinking about a proposition a model or picture would solve the problems of philosophy. The result was the strikingly different view of language presented in the Tractates Logico-Philosophicus that has commanded attention ever since.

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