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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 there were one person who read it with understanding and to whom it
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 be silent.
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 think 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 nonsense.
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 me
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
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 head.—
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 better.