Pictures of Sound: Wittgenstein on gramophone records and the logic of depiction
Susan G. Sterrett, Pictures of sounds: Wittgenstein on gramophone records and the logic of depiction, Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A, Volume 36, Issue 2, June 2005, Pages 351-362, ISSN 0039-3681, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.shpsa.2005.04.002.
I consider the way Wittgenstein employed some kinds of sound recordings (but not others) in discussing logical form in the Tractatus logico-philosophicus. The year that Ludwig Wittgenstein was born in Vienna, 1889, nearby developments already underway portended two major changes of the coming century: the advent of controlled heavier than air flight and the mass production of musical sound recordings. Before they brought about major social changes, though, these innovations appeared in Europe in the form of children’s toys. Wittgenstein uses the fact that a symphony performance can be constructed from both a written musical score and the grooves of a gramophone record to explain what logical form is. His characterization of logical form in the Tractatus in terms of intertranslatability rather than in terms of interpretability is highlighted by reflecting on the kinds of examples of sound recordings that he did not use to illustrate the notion of logical form. There were other well known technologies for making visual records of sound at the time, but these did not serve to illustrate logical form.
View/download or read preprint via a streaming viewer with the turning page feature in SOAR, or click on the DOI link to access the publisher's copy of this article (may not be free)