Wednesday, November 09, 2005

This could be the best thing ever.

How long as the beta version of Google Print been on line? I just went there for the first time, following the link from the Salon article. I can tell already that it could be a delirious browsing experience, and all they have up right now are some public domain texts and a few things they have copyright permission for.

This is the version of the Tractatus they have up, scanned from a book by a reprint service called Kessinger Publishing. In some ways the edition is delightfully minimalist. The cover just has the author and title in a medium sized font, and the contents consist simply of the propositions of the Tractatus and Wittgenstien’s introduction, along with a short text ad for the reprint service. Ludwig would approve of the austerity of it all.

On the other hand, there is no indication of who the translator is (it’s not Ogden’s translation), or even that the book has been translated from another language. Also missing are Russsell’s introduction, the dedication to David Pinset, and the motto from K├╝rnberger. I can see ditching Russell’s verbiage in the name of minimalism, but the dedication and the motto are part of the content.

Finally, Google provides us with a synopsis of the Tractatus, which, for some reason, consists simply of proposition 5.123
Synopsis
If a god creates a world in which certain propositions are true, then by that very act he also creates a world in which all the propositions that follow from them come true. And similarly he could not create a world in which the proposition 'p' was true without creating all its objects.
And all of this fun I got just from my first search of Google Print!

Update: Sometimes Googling around you can get to the Dover edition of the Tractatus, but it is not consistent, and it won't let you flip to other parts of the book besides the place your search lands you.

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