Chapter

Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus

Paul Horwich

in Wittgenstein's Metaphilosophy

Published in print December 2012 | ISBN: 9780199588879
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780191744716 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199588879.003.0003
Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus

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This chapter provides a sketch of Wittgenstein's early book in order to illuminate the mature philosophy that grew out of it. Its central line of thought is identified with a sequence of four broad proposals. The first, concerning metaphysics, is that the world consists of facts, and that the basic (‘atomic’) ones are arrangements of fundamental, necessarily-existing ‘objects’. The second, concerning representation, is that sentences of a language represent reality in just the way as do realistic pictures and models. The third, concerning linguistic structure, infers that a language can be adequate if and only if it contains ‘names’ of the fundamental objects, ‘elementary propositions’ composed from these words, and logical terms enabling the more complex facts to be represented. And the fourth proposal, concerning metaphilosophy, is that philosophical statements are disguised nonsense (as would be revealed by the impossibility of explaining their meanings in terms of the primitive ‘names’). A concluding section of the chapter examines the respects in which Wittgenstein eventually came to disagree with this four-pronged theory.

Keywords: metaphysics; facts; representation; picture; logic; structure; nonsense; analysis

Chapter.  9710 words. 

Subjects: History of Western Philosophy

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