Ludwig Wittgenstein:
Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus
Side-by-Side-by-Side Edition

Ladders by dev null

Created in part to serve a pedagogical need, I have undertaken a project to create a decently typeset version of Wittgenstein’s Tractatus-Logico-Philosophicus (1922) that presents Wittgenstein’s German original text alongside both major English translations: the Ogden (or Ogden/Ramsey) translation, and the Pears/McGuinness translation.

Right now four versions are available in three file formats. All contain Russell’s introduction, and a hyperlinked English index. (The index is taken from the Pears and McGuinness edition). They were created by cleaning up and checking versions of the text found elsewhere on Public Domain sites online to create LATEX source which was then converted to other formats. I believe these are substantally more correct than most other versions available on the internet, some of which are rife with errors. Nevertheless, it is likely that errors remain. If you discover any, please email me at


PDF (portable document format)

Created with pdfLATEX (the source is also available below). The images are infinitely scaleable vector graphics (made with the PGF/TikZ package). This is the best version typographically, the best for printing, and the most likely to be displayed consistently across various devices. It is however less flexible, and less likely to convert well to other formats. Two sizes are available.

TLP Pdf previewPDF version; Letter paper, three columns
(11in x 8.5in, landscape orientation, 1.2 MB)
ebook pdf previewPDF hyperlinked version for portable devices
(9 x 12cm, portrait orientation, 3.7 MB)
ZIP file containing LATEX source (used to create the PDFs, 145.4 KB)
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HTML (web page)

Two layouts of HTML (XHTML) are available. Both use infinitely scaleable SVG images for those browsers capable of displaying them, which includes the newer versions of all major browsers. Webkit browsers (Safari, Chrome, etc.) may inappropriately show a white background to the SVGs, or display them in mini-frames, due to webkit bugs. Older browsers should revert to PNG fallbacks. Most newer browsers, with the exception of Internet Explorer, should also display the embedded fonts, which come from the TeX Gyre Schola family for text and DejaVu for the symbols. Ideally, browsers that don't display embedded fonts should still show the right symbols, but there may be exceptions in older browsers, and you may get italics for emphasis in German rather than  s p a c i n g  as per the original. Using a newer non-IE browser should fix all these issues. Firefox 3.5+ is best. HTML is very good for converting to other formats (e.g., Word format, etc.)

Trip HTML previewHTML Side-by-side-by-side in three columns
(Displays all three versions at once, but with different color backgrounds—good for doing quick comparisons; 731 KB + embedded fonts and images)
HTML hyperlinked previewHTML hyperlinked version
(Displays one version at a time, but with links to the corresponding part of the other versions; useful on smaller screens, or for printing only one version; ~800KB split up over multiple files)
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ePub (Open eBook publication)

ePub seems to be catching on as the format for self-contained eBooks that allow arbitrary text reflow for arbitrary screen sizes, and so is ideal for smaller screens. It is basically XHTML zipped together with the associated images (here, both SVG and PNG fallback), and embedded fonts (same as above). It is ideally suited for mobile devices such as the Sony Reader, Nook or iPad. Different devices may support different features, but those with ePub support based on Adobe Digital Editions should display it well.

ebook reader imageePub version
(1.3 MB)

Please also see The University of Iowa Tractatus Map, which is based on this text, and represents the hierarchical nature of the propositions on the work in a visually suggestive way.

Future goals for the project:

If you would like to volunteer to help with any of these, let me know! (Thanks to Michael Sperberg-McQueeni and Tim Kraft for helping spot typos and other issues in the German.)

If there's another format you’d like me to try to put up, let me know. The Amazon Kindle does not yet support the ePub format, but may in the future. Unfortunately its native format does not support logical symbols well enough for this book, at least not without reducing it to unacceptable quality, and does not support vector graphics at all.

Creative Commons License
Ludwig Wittgenstein’s Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus is in the Public Domain.

Creative Commons License
This typesetting (including LATEX, XHTML and PGF/TikZ source code) are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 United States License.

The photo “Ladders” by dev null, above, is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share-Alike 2.0 License.