MS 156b



Just like MS 156a, the present pocket notebook bears no dates. There can be no doubt, however, that it constitutes the immediate continuation of the previous notebook: on its first pages it carries on with reflections on calculi providing for different levels of expression, in particular for general cases as opposed to particular examples.

            After a few general remarks on mathematical notions and language, which seem to have no parallels in other manuscripts, Wittgenstein proceeds (from p. 5v) to use this notebook to draft a number of remarks that were then transferred into MS 114ii (pp. 150 ff.) and, in a few cases, into MS 115i, which means that this part of our notebook was probably written in the later months of 1933 and, perhaps, in the first weeks of 1934.

             After some pages of this type of work, however, Wittgenstein goes on to write new remarks on the nature of signs, the idea of a system (of signs), the difference between cause and reason (motive) and various other themes known from his writings of this period as well as later years. On p. 17v readers will find an interesting explicit reference to handwritten remarks on the versos of BT, pp. 198 ff. There are also general reflections (not all of them collected in Vermischte Bemerkungen / Culture and Value), several of them on music and composers. Moreover, there are two specimens of musical notation (pp. 21r & 33r).

            In the second half of the notebook (which was written almost exclusively in German) there are many parallels to a section of the Blue Book, roughly corresponding to the ten pages or so following the introductory words “Now when the solipsist says that only his own experiences are real, it is no use …” (BlBk, p. 58). So there is a good deal on what the solipsist, the realist, and the idealist would say if …, on ownership of pains, on the meaningfulness of certain perceptual statements, on what you may say with reference to Euclidean space or the visual field as well as related matters.

            Accordingly, in view of the great number of parallels between these reflections and numerous remarks in the indicated section of the Blue Book, it is likely that the second half or so of this pocket notebook was written during the early months of 1934.