**Here is Ludwig Wittgenstein from his Tractatus Logico Philosophicus, a seminal text on the Philosophy of Logic:**

**‘ The Tautology is unconditionally true; the Contradiction is in no condition true…the Truth of Tautology is certain, of Proposition possible, of Contradiction impossible.**

*‘Tautology and Contradiction are without sense..Tautology leaves to Reality the whole infinite logical space; Contradiction fills the whole logical space and leaves no point to Reality.*

*Neither one of them therefore can in any way determine Reality..(They) are the limiting case of the combination of symbols, namely their dissolution.*‘

**O.K. So what in heaven’s name is a ‘Tautology’? I’m glad you asked. For strictly speaking, we don’t know.**

**What is a Contradiction? We are not too sure either.**

**But here are examples of what we think they mean:**

**‘It is raining’ is a proposition. You can verify its truth by looking out the window. ‘It is raining or not raining’ is a Tautology: it’s truth, a Logician would say, is certain. ‘It is both raining and not raining’ is a Contradiction: it’s truth, a Logician would say, is impossible.**

**‘It is neither raining nor not-raining’ however is Sweet Nonsense. The Logician does not see the need to dignify it with a comment.**

**To search within the limits of the familiar and the sensible is to look for your lost keys under the lamp-post, ‘because that’s where the light shines’.**

**Tautology and Contradiction are the Logico-linguistic limits of the legitimate expression. They mark the boundary of the sensible. Go past that boundary and you are in absurdist territory.**

**Respectable folks largely live in the zone between Tautology and Contradiction, the mapped terrain of ‘Conventional Understanding’ [ vyavharasatya].**

**Worthwhile Teaching however [and there is not much of it around], begins at this border and moves outward into zones of ever-increasing Absurdity.**

**[The metaphor of the light under the lamp-post goes back to early Sufi literature but has been appropriated as the ‘Streetlight Effect’ by modern Academia.]**

**Ludwig Wittgenstein taught Logic and Language at Cambridge with Bertrand Russell [ Principia Mathematica] and was a reluctant founder of Analytical Philosophy.**

**I always liked Professor Wittgenstein. He was the established star at Cambridge, a serious philosopher who also had a fan-following. [Stranger things happen. Paris shut-down for Jean-Paul Sartre’s funeral.]**

**And Wittgenstein just turned and walked away from it all once he stopped believing in what he was teaching. That’s intellectual honesty.**

**In his celebrated phrase of informed and abject capitulation: ‘Whereof one cannot speak, thereof one must be silent.’**

**Is the characterization: ‘It is just as it is; things are just as they are’ an empty Tautology? How about ‘True Nothing’ and ‘Not-True Nothing’?**

**What’s a Tautology?**

**This subject called Mathematics, in fact it’s larger family, the complex of Analytics that fall under the banner of Logico-Mathematical Method, is erected on multiple pillars.**

** If they shake an inch the entire structure will swing by a mile. So it’s a good idea to step down with a flashlight and take a look at these foundations every now and then.**

**The first and most important is the pillar labeled with the little word ‘ Is’ [we will get to it in the Posts, by-and-by]. The second of the pillars is the Principle of Contradiction. A third, often ignored, is the concept of the Tautology.**

**Here is Professor Bertrand Russell:**

**‘ It is clear that the definition of ‘Logic’ or ‘Mathematics’ must be [newly] sought..[we must] no longer be satisfied [defining] logical propositions as those that follow from the Law of Contradiction..[but] must admit a wholly different class of propositions..[that] all have the characteristic which we**

*agree..to call Tautology.**For the moment, I do not know how to define ‘Tautology’..I know of none that I feel to be satisfactory, in spite of feeling thoroughly familiar with the characteristic of which a definition is wanted.*

*At this point, therefore, for the moment, we reach the frontier of knowledge on our backward journey into the logical foundations of Mathematics*.’

**Honest and finely crafted lines from the co-author of Principia Mathematica. In English: ‘The ‘[Foundational] Principles of Mathematics’.**

**In the early part of the last century, Cambridge Analytic Philosophers, lead by Bertrand Russell [Wittgenstein wrote his Doctoral Dissertation under him, if I recall] and bewitched by the Rational, had tried hard to anoint it as the only true God. **

**As a teenager growing up in Madras [now, Chennai], I spent my free afternoons at the British Council Library mainly because it was free, air-conditioned and always had pretty girls visiting from the neighboring college.**

**And the library carried all his books [he won a Nobel for Literature]. And I must have read everything the good professor ever wrote. I admired his courage of conviction; he claimed he studied Mathematics only because it was the nearest thing he could find to ‘Certainty’. He was a hero to my youth.**

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