Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus by Ludwig Wittgenstein + comments  by Maarten Maartensz          



1.1 The world is the totality of facts, not of things.

This may seem to claim in addition to [1] that there is a totality of facts, rather like there is a set for a given collection of objects, and that this totality is reality (all there is), but we shall take it as implied by [1] ("all"), having reconstructed [1]'s basic sense as "all there is, is the set of all possible facts".

Although W. could not have known this, since it depends on fairly complicated though fundamental set theoretical constructions and considerations that became explicated only after the Tractatus was published, it is not true in standard set-theory (of the Von Neumann-Godel- Bernays type) that EVERY collection of objects is an element of some SET (for example, the collection of all collections that are not elements of themselves is such a collection). Such collections are called "improper classes" or "incomprisable sets" or simply "classes", by contrast with proper classes, comprisable classes, or plain sets (twice three terms for two kinds of entities), that are elements of some set or class. One cannot exclude the possibility that all there is, is more like a class, in the more comprehensive sense of a collection that may be a member of some collection or not of any collection, than like a set, in the more restricted sense of a collection that always is a member of some collection, especially not because it seems that all there is cannot be an element of some collection that comprises it (for then there would be more than all there is). If reality is (like) a class, there simply is no totality of all entities, whether facts, things or any other kind of fundamental constituents of reality. (And if reality is (like) a set, it seems it is infinite in Cantor's sense. So reality, if it is at all (like) a collection it is incomprehensible and/or infinite - "incomprehensible" in the sense of A not being an element of a collection.)

However this may be, the point of [1.1] for W. is to emphasize that facts are not things, as will be discussed below, in (1.2).