Chapter

Reference, Simplicity, and Necessary Existence in the <i>Tractatus</i> *

José L. Zalabardo

in Wittgenstein's Early Philosophy

Published in print August 2012 | ISBN: 9780199691524
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191742262 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199691524.003.0006
Reference, Simplicity, and Necessary Existence in the Tractatus *

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Many interpreters of the Tractatus accept that the book endorses an argument for simples based on the reflection that, since complexes exist only contingently, if names referred to complexes the propositions in which they figure would lack sense if their referents went out of existence. More specifically, most interpreters read 2.0211–2.0212 as putting forward this argument. The main goal of this chapter is to attack this reading and to put forward an alternative. It is argued that there is no good reason for thinking that the Tractatus advances this argument, and that 2.0211–2, in particular, should not be read in this way. The chapter puts forward an alternative reading of the passage.

Keywords: Wittgenstein; Tractatus; simple objects; names

Chapter.  12998 words. 

Subjects: History of Western Philosophy

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