Wittgenstein flies a kite : a story of models of wings and models of the world

by Susan G. Sterrett

Paper Book, 2006




New York : Pi Press, c2006.


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 explains 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 eve of the First World War in Europe, Wittgenstein left aeronautical research to study philosophy. He was deeply dissatisfied with Bertrand Russell s solution to the paradoxes of logic, the theory of types. Meanwhile, across the Atlantic Ocean, a physicist trying to improve U.S. aeronautical research capability pondered how the logic of empirical equations held the key to identifying physically similar situations, which in turn would explain the success of the Wright brothers airplane built from cardboard cartons and bicycle parts. His conclusion held an answer to Wittgenstein s problems about the logic of propositions.… (more)


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