Wittgenstein’s riddle of lifePosted: December 23, 2014
The magnificent ending of Ludwig Wittgenstein’s Tractatus Logico Philosophicus:
…The solution of the riddle of life in space
and time lies outside space and time.
(It is not problems of natural science which have to be
6.432 How the world is, is completely indifferent for what is higher.
God does not reveal himself in the world.
6.4321 The facts all belong only to the task and not to its performance.
6.44 Not how the world is, is the mystical, but that it is.
6.45 The contemplation of the world sub specie aeterni is its contemplation
as a limited whole.
The feeling of the world as a limited whole is the mystical
6.5 For an answer which cannot be expressed the question too cannot
The riddle does not exist.
If a question can be put at all, then it can also be answered.
6.51 Scepticism is not irrefutable, but palpably senseless, if it would
doubt where a question cannot be asked.
For doubt can only exist where there is a question; a question
only where there is an answer, and this only where something
can be said.
6.52 We feel that even if all possible scientific questions are answered,
the problems of life have still not been touched at all. Of course
there is then no question left, and just this is the answer.
6.521 The solution of the problem of life is seen in the vanishing of
(Is not this the reason why men to whom after long doubting the sense
of life became clear, could not then say wherein this sense consisted?)
6.522 There is indeed the inexpressible. This shows itself; it is the
6.53 The right method of philosophy would be this. To say nothing
except what can be said, i.e. the propositions of natural science,
i.e. something that has nothing to do with philosophy: and then
always, when someone else wished to say something metaphysical,
to demonstrate to him that he had given no meaning to
certain signs in his propositions. This method would be unsatisfying
to the other—he would not have the feeling that we
were teaching him philosophy—but it would be the only strictly
6.54 My propositions are elucidatory in this way: he who understands
me finally recognizes them as senseless, when he has climbed out
through them, on them, over them. (He must so to speak throw
away the ladder, after he has climbed up on it.)
He must surmount these propositions; then he sees the world
7 Whereof one cannot speak, thereof one must be silent.