The Tractatus consists of propositions arranged according to an intricate numbering system, which Wittgenstein explains in the following footnote:

The decimal numbers assigned to the individual propositions indicate the logical importance of the propositions, the stress laid on them in my exposition. The propositions n.1, n.2, n.3, etc. are comments on proposition no. n; the propositions n.m1, n.m2, etc. are comments on proposition no. n.m; and so on.

In a letter to a prospective publisher he wrote:

And by the way, the decimal numbers of my sentences would have to be printed, too, for they alone lend perspicuity and clarity to the book which would be an incomprehensible mess without this numbering.

The importance of the system is undeniable. As Brian McGuinness writes:

That a system of numeration so troublesome for an author to devise will give many useful indications to the interpreter, is a truth that has only to be stated to be acknowledged.

However, reading the Tractatus on the printed page it is very difficult to keep track of the numerical hierarchy. The sole purpose of this electronic edition of the the Pears/McGuinness translation of the Tractatus is to overcome this practical difficulty.

I believe the electronic text I have used derives from the Project Gutenberg eBook ( I have made numerous corrections, aiming at an accurate reproduction of the Pears/McGuinness translation. Please report remaining mistakes to I have borrowed the images for special characters and figures from Jonathan Laventhol's hypertext of the Ogden translation ( The code for the folding menus comes from Dynamic Drive ( A version of the German text with a similar format can be fund at

Click on a proposition to show/hide the propositions that depend on it. Active content needs to be allowed in your browser.

I have included numbers ending in a zero decimal as needed to complete the hierarchy.

Josť L. Zalabardo

London, 2006

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