The limits of my language mark the limits of my world.

Ludwig Wittgenstein (1889-1951) Austrian-English philosopher
Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus, 5.6 (1921)

Alt. trans:
  • "The boundary of my language is the boundary of my world." [tr. Kolak]
  • "The limits of my language mean the limits of my world." [tr. Pears and McGuinness]
  • "The limits of my language stand for the limits of my world."
Added on 1-Feb-04 | Last updated 25-Feb-20
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2 Responses to Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus, 5.6 (1921)

  1. David Newman says:

    This quotation is from Wittgenstein’s Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus (1921).
    In my copy, (Wittgenstein’s Tractatus Translated by Daniel Kolak, Mayfield Publishing Company, 1998) it’s translated slightly differently:

    5.6 The boundary of my language is the boundary of my world.

    (emphasis in the original). Since the numbering of the entries in the Tractatus should be the same in every translation, one should be able to check entry 5.6 in other translations to compare them to this translation. Your quotation is probably from the C.K. Ogden translation, which was reportedly done with Wittgenstein’s cooperation. Unfortunately, I don’t have a copy of that translation, so I can’t compare it to your quotation to verify that’s where it’s from.

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