Publications [#14297] of Susan G. Sterrett

Duke :: Philosophy :: Faculty :: Susan G. Sterrett


  1. Susan G. Sterrett, Wittgenstein Flies A Kite: A Story of Models of Wings and Models of the World (Fall, 2005), Pi Press (Penguin Group imprint) (Appeared December 2005.).
    (last updated on 2009/01/21)

    Wittgenstein told friends on many occasions that he came to see how things in the world can be represented in language by thinking about scale models, and that it occurred while he was a soldier, in the autumn of 1914. This book is the result of asking: what if he meant, experimental engineering scale models? It is well known that Wittgenstein had been an aeronautical engineer before going to Cambridge to study philosophy with Bertrand Russell in 1911. Why only in 1914, then, did this insight occur? It so happens 1914 was the year that the basis of the method was formulated, by a philosophically-minded physicist, as a matter of a purely logical principle about any symbolic system that is used to represent physical relationships. In fact, a whole array of discussions about similarity arose in 1913-1914, in physics, biology, and chemistry. This book lays out this previously untold story in the history of ideas, presents a new reading of Wittgenstein's philosophical work (Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus) and explains how many heretofore puzzling claims in it click into a coherent account on this new reading.