Elucidating the Tractatus: Wittgensteins Early Philosophy of Language and Logic

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Read the full text. Tools Request permission Export citation Add to favorites Track citation. No doubt, the 'revolution' in modern philosophy is largely due to Wittgenstein's perceptions into the nature of the philosophical activity itself.


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If traditional philosophy is characterized as different attempts at answering certain philosophical questions then Wittgenstein's philosophy may be characterized as a systematic questioning of the questions themselves. It is our aim. For this purpose we compare and contrast the Tractatus with the Investigations because, as Wittgenstein advised, "the latter could be seen in the right light only by contrast with and against the background of my old way of thinking.

One school asserts that the Investigations, as a whole, is a 'development' of the Tractatus.

Elucidating the ‘Tractatus’: Wittgenstein's Early Philosophy of Logic and Language

Our position is that while Wittgenstein:: s later method is indeed the negation of the earlier, his later conception of philosophy is best seen as a development of his earlier conception. In Part I, a brief exposition of Wittgenstein's earlier theory of language as a synthesis of the truth-functional theory of complex propositions and the picture theory of elementary propositions is given.

The doctrine of "what cannot be said" and the conception of philosophy as an activity of elucidation is seen as the logical consequences of this theory of language. The method employed in the Tractatus is that of 'logical analysis' which involves theoretic construction by means of purely formal concepts such as "object," "name," "atomic fact," "elementary proposition," etc.

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However, unlike traditional philosophers who constructed mansions or systems , Wittgenstein built a "ladder" to be abandoned after one has climbed up beyond it. Wittgenstein: A Life. Moya , C. Some commentators have argued that Wittgenstein may be merely trying to entice a reluctant publisher by presenting his book as having an ethical point.

Marie McGinn - Wikipedia

In my view, however, Wittgenstein's insistence on the ethical dimension of the Tractatus needs to be taken seriously. Although our views ultimately diverge, I am indebted to Marie McGinn's discussion of formal concepts for the genesis of my thoughts on this issue — McGinn , M. Oxford : Oxford University Press , ch 7.

Gravity and Grace , London : Routledge , 32 — Note indeed that Wittgenstein's use of truth tables to reveal the combinatorial nature of sense and his view that truth tables render the signs for logical connectives superfluous is incompatible with the Causal Necessity View. For his whole approach is predicated on the idea that only propositions connected to each other by virtue of conceptual relations i.

Wittgenstein's rejection of causal necessity therefore runs very deep and permeates his entire position in the Tractatus. Glock, op. TLP 6.

For further details, see Tejedor Forthcoming op. Note indeed that both pursuing desire and attempting to let go of desire can be done out of an illusory sense of absolute control and therefore be unethical. Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

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