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Representation and Reality in Wittgenstein's Tractatus

Zalabardo, JL; (2015) Representation and Reality in Wittgenstein's Tractatus. [Book]. Oxford University Press: Oxford, UK. Green open access

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Abstract

The book puts forward an interpretation of some central ideas of Wittgenstein’s Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus concerning the structure of reality and our representations of it in thought and language. It presents the origins of Wittgenstein’s picture theory of propositional representation in Russell’s theories of judgment, arguing that the picture theory is Wittgenstein’s solution to some problems that he found in Russell’s position. It defends the view that, for Wittgenstein, facts in general, and the facts that play the role of propositions in particular, are not composite items, arising from the combination of their constituents. They are ultimate, irreducible units, and what we think of as their constituents are features that facts have in common with one another. These common features have built into them their possibilities of combination with other features into possible situations. This is presented as the source of the Tractarian account of non-actual possibilities. It is also the source of the idea that it is not possible to produce propositions answering to certain descriptions, including those that would give rise to Russell’s paradox. The book then considers Wittgenstein’s view that every proposition is a truth function of elementary propositions. It argues that this view is motivated by Wittgenstein’s epistemology of logic, according to which we should be able to see logical relations by inspecting the structures of propositions. Finally it considers the problems that we face if we try to extend the application of the picture theory from elementary propositions to truth functions of these.

Type: Book
Title: Representation and Reality in Wittgenstein's Tractatus
ISBN-13: 9780198743941
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198743941.001.0001
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198743941...
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the author accepted manuscript for chapter 2. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
Keywords: Ludwig Wittgenstein, Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus, picture theory, propositions, facts, Bertrand Russell, logic, truth functions, possibility, objects
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of Arts and Humanities
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of Arts and Humanities > Dept of Philosophy
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10139375
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