PDC Homepage
Home » Products » Purchase

Philosophy Research Archives

Volume 5, 1979

Peter Barker
Pages 182-199

Untangling the Net Metaphor

The longest remarks in the section of the Tractatus devoted to science (6.3 ff.) introduce the net metaphor in a discussion of Newtonian mechanics. These sections of the Tractatus are generally believed to be inconsistent with the rest of the book. After a brief description of these difficulties and some relevant historical background I suggest a re-interpretation of the net metaphor in terms of contemporary debates about mechanics. This interpretation shows that the account of science in the Tractatus is an application of the picture theory and eliminates a long standing inconsistency in the reading of Wittgenstein.