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AN INTRODUCTION TO

WITTGENSTEIN'S
TRACTATUS
Second Edition,
Edition, Revised
Revised
Second

G.
E. M.
M. ANSCOMBE
G. E.

'

~
The Academy
Academy Library
Library
HARPER TORCHBOOKS T
Harper & Row,
Row, Publishers,
Publishers, New York
Harper

AN INTRODUCTION TO WITTGENSTEIN'S TRACTATUS


Copyright G. E.
E. M. Anscombe 1959
Copyright
Printed in
the United States
of America
Printed
in the
States of
This
published in
in 1959 in
in the
the Philosophy
Philosophy dividiviThis book was originally
originally published
sion.
edited by
by Professor
Professor H. J.
Paton, of
of the
the Hutchinson University
University
J. Paton,
sion, edited
Library,
with aa second
second edition,
edition. revised,
revised, in
in 1963.
is here reprinted
reprinted
1963. It
It is
Library, with
by
arrangement.
by arrangement.
First HARPER TORCHBOOK edition
edition published
published 1965
First
Harper & Row,
Row, Publishers,
Publishers, Incorporated
Incorporated
Harper
3 3rd Street
49 East 33rd
Street
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York, N. Y.
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New

by
by

AN INTRODUCTION TO

WITTG EN STEIN'S
WITTGENSTEIN'S

TRACTATUS

h~RPER f "CORChBOORS
reference-list of
Harper Torchbooks,
Torchbooks, classified
classified
A reference-list
of Harper
at the
by subjects,
subjects, is
is printed
printed at
the end of
of this
this volume.
by

CONTENTS

Foreword by
by Professor
Professor H.
H. J.
J. Paton
Paton
Foreword

9
9

on Second
Second Edition
Edition
Note on
Introduction
Introduction

10
10
11
11

Glossary
Glossary

21
21
25
25

Propositions
11 Elementary
Elementary Propositions
2

41
41

The Theory
of Descriptions
Descriptions
Theory of

Negation: (1)
Definition of
of 'not
'not p'
p
33 Negation:
(1) The Logicians'
Logicians* Definition

51
51

Negation: (2)
Theory
4 Negation:
Picture Theory
(2) The Picture

64

55

Consequences
the Picture
Picture Theory
Theory
Consequences of the

79
79

Sign
Sign and Symbol
Symbol

87

Wittgenstein, Frege
Frege and Ramsey
Ramsey
77 Wittgenstein,

98
98

88

Operations
Operations

113
113

Formal Concepts
Series
Concepts and Formal Series

122
122

Proposition
10
10 'The
"The General Form of
of Proposition
9

11
11

Generality
Generality

132
132
138

Knowledge and Certainty


Certainty
12
12 Knowledge

150
150

'Mysticism
'Mysticism' and Solipsism
Solipsism

161
161

Further Reading
Reading
Further

174

13
13

Index

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
Most
what appears
here was
was originally
originally delivered
delivered in
in the
the form
form of
of
Most of
of what
appears here
lectures
at Oxford
Oxford in
in the
the Michaelmas
Michaelmas and
and Hilary
Hilary Terms,
Terms, 1957-8.
1957-8.
lectures at
indebted, first,
first, to
to the
the Oxford
audiences who in
in successive
successive years
years
I am indebted,
I
Oxford audiences
provided
with the
the occasion
for getting
my ideas
ideas of
the Tractatus
Tractatus
of the
occasion for
getting my
provided me with
straight;
to Professor
Professor Pat
Paton,
the Editor
Editor of
this series,
series,
of this
on, the
and, secondly,
secondly, to
straight; and,
who made many
many useful
useful criticisms
of my exposition.
exposition. II am also
also much
criticisms of
indebted to
for help
help afforded
afforded in
in frequent
frequent discussions
discussions
indebted
Peter Geach for
to Peter
and in
revising the
the book.
book. In
particular, II obtained
obtained some logical
logical
In particular,
in revising
information
references from
from him;
him; for
for example,
example, he supplied
information and references
supplied me
with the
the explanations
explanations given
given in
in Chapter
Chapter 99 of
of Wittgenstein's
Wittgenstein's criticritiwith
Principia Mathematica,
Mathematica, concerning
the 'ancestral
'ancestral relation"
relation'
cisms
cisms of
of Principia
concerning the
and the
the unacknowledged
unacknowledged use
use of
of 'formal
'formal series'
series' made by
by Russell
Russell and
and
Whitehead. Finally,
I have
had the
the advantage
reading through
through
have had
of reading
Whitehead.
advantage of
Finally, I
Professor Erik
Stenius' highly
highly interesting
the Tractatus
Tractatus
Professor
Erik Stenius'
interesting book on the
before
its publication.
publication. It
presents aa very
very different
different account
account from my
my
It presents
before its
own of
important points,
points, and enabled
enabled me to
to sharpen
of some important
sharpen my own
ideas by
by contrast.
contrast.
ideas
grateful to
to the
the Rockefeller
Rockefeller Foundation,
Foundation, which
which has
has supporI am grateful
I
supported me during
during six
six years*
years' work on Wittgenstein's
Wittgenstein's MSS. ; this
this book was
was
ted
written
tenure of
Research Fellowship
Fellowship sponsored
by
written during
of a
a Research
during my tenure
sponsored by
the Foundation.
Foundation.
the
Oxford
Q, E.
E. M. ANSCOMBE
G,
Oxford
;

FOREWORD
Introduction to
to Wittgenstein's
Tractatus may
may seem
seem to
to differ
differ in
in
An Introduction
Wittgenstein's Tractatus
character
the books hitherto
hitherto published
published in
in the
the present
present philophilocharacter from the
sophical
a freer
freer use
use of
technical expressions,
expressions, and
and it
it
it makes a
series: it
of technical
sophical series:
demands a
a greater
effort
from
the
general
reader.
This
is
inevitable
effort
the
reader.
This
is
inevitable
greater
general
from the
very nature
nature of
of the
the subject;
subject; for
for Wittgenstein's
Wittgenstein's thinking
thinking
the very
sprang
the modern development
of mathematical
mathematical logic;
logic; and
and
development of
sprang from the
he makes few concessions
concessions to
to the
the uninitiated.
uninitiated. Indeed,
it is
is for
for this
this
Indeed, it
reason that
that an introduction
introduction to
to his
his work is
is so
so urgently
urgently required;
required; and
and
reason
with its
its aid
the reader
reader who has
has grasped
grasped some elementary
elementary techniques
techniques
with
aid the
of
logic (which
not prove
prove too
too difficult)
difficult) may
may hope
hope to
to
of modern logic
should not
(which should
find
his way
way about
about in
in what to
to many
many has
has been
been aa closed
closed field
field of
of
find Ms
thought.
The
opening
up
of
such
a
field
is
fully
in
accord
with
the
such
field
is
in
of
a
accord
with
the
fully
thought.
opening up
general
of the
the series,
even if
if the
the difficulties
difficulties to
to be
be tackled
tackled may
may be
be
series, even
general aim of
greater
usual. It
might almost
almost be said,
said, in
in view
view of
of the
the influence
influence
It might
than usual.
greater than
by Wittgenstein,
Wittgenstein, that
that without
without an introduction
introduction of
of this
this kind
kind
exercised
exercised by
the aim of
the series
be imperfectly
imperfectly realized.
realized.
the
of the
series would be
this it
may be
be objected
that the
the Tractatus
has now been
been
it may
Tractatus has
To this
objected that
superseded.
one sense
is true;
true; for
its author
author has
has expressly
expressly
this is
In one
sense this
for its
superseded. In
recognized that
that it
it contains
grave mistakes.
mistakes. But the
the Tractatus
Tracratus by
by no
contains grave
recognized
means loses
loses its
its historical
historical importance
because
of
this
frank
adbecause
of
frank
adthis
importance
mission. As a philosophical
philosophical work begins
begins to
to recede
recede into
history, an
into history,
mission.
attempt to
its doctrine
its significance
doctrine and estimate
estimate its
to expound
significance may
attempt
expound its
both more necessary
necessary and more easy.
easy. Wittgenstein
Wittgenstein himself
himself
become both
was of
the opinion
opinion that
that his
his more recent
recent works could
could be
be seen
in the
the
seen in
of the
right
light only
by contrast
with, and against
against the
the background
background of,
of,
contrast with,
right light
only by
his
way of
thinking. Hence it
it is
is my hope
hope that
that Miss
his earlier
earlier way
of thinking.
may serve
introduction not
not merely
merely to
to the
the
as an introduction
serve as
Anscombe's work may
Tractatus,
but also
also indirectly
indirectly to
to his
his philosophy
philosophy as
as a whole.
whole.
Tractatus, but
H. J.
J. PATON

NOTE DN
EDJTWN
ON SECOND EDITION

Apart
from the
the correction
of some
obvious mistakes
mistakes and
and misprints,
misprints,
correction of
some obvious
Apart from
and
improvements of
of the
the text,
text, 1I have
have taken
taken the
the
and some
some other
other slight
slight improvements
add
a
paragraph
to
the
end
of
Chapter
10
and
to
opportunity
to
of
to
the
end
to
add
a
10
and
to
opportunity
paragraph
Chapter
change
pages 166-7.
166-7.
change pages
0. E.
E. M.
M. ANSCOM3E
ANSCOMBE
G.

INTRODUCTION
Ludwig Wittgenstein
was born
born in
Vienna in
the eighth
eighth child
child
in Vienna
in 1889,
Ludwig
Wittgenstein was
1889, the
of
family largely
Jewish by
by extraction,
though
not
by
persuasion.
a family
of a
not
largely Jewish
extraction, though
by persuasion.
His father
father had started
modem iron
iron and
and steel
steel industry
in Austria;
Austria;
His
started the
the modern
industry in
he was aa man of
character who was
was generally
generally both
both much
of forcible
forcible character
feared
respected. The
The children
children were
were brought
brought up
up in
an
feared and much respected.
in an
atmosphere
of
extreme
contempt
for
most
kinds
of
low
standard.
of
kinds
of
extreme
for
most
low
standard.
atmosphere
contempt
The whole generation
unusual fire
fire about
about them.
them. All
All were
were
had an
an unusual
generation had
aesthetically
and, in
particular, musically
musically talented
talented to
to aa high
high degree;
degree;
in particular,
aesthetically and,
the father,
however, though
though sharing
interests up
up to
to a
a point,
point,
the
such interests
father, however,
sharing such
regarded
as
suited
only
to
be
a
side-line
for
his
sons:
the
only
them
as
a
side-line
for
suited
his
sons:
the
to
be
regarded
only
only
was civil
(It
to
be
concealed
fit
for them was
fit career
career for
civil engineering.
had
be
to
concealed
engineering. (It
from him that
that one
one of
them as
a child
child played
played the
the violin
violin in
in St.
St. Peter's
Peter's
of them
as a
Church in
Vienna.) The
The combination
of family
family temperament
temperament and
and
in Vienna.)
combination of
the
the parents
parents-who
not conceive
that their
their
the attitude
attitude of
of the
could not
conceive that
who could
children might
miseries worth
worth taking
taking account
account of
of-led
to
children
suffer miseries
led to
might suffer
at
the sons.
sons. Of himself,
himself, Ludwig
Ludwig said:
said: *I
'I had
at least
least one
one suicide
suicide among
among the
an unhappy
unhappy childhood
and aa most
most miserable
miserable youth';
youth'; but
but again,
again, in
in
childhood and
connection
with the
the work that
a man was content
content to
to publish:
publish: *I
'I had
connection with
that a
luck:
very well
up'-i.e.
as far
far as
as concerned
concerned critical
critical
luck: II was very
well brought
i.e. as
brought up'
standards.
standards.
Ludwig came to
to Manchester
the age
age of
of about nineteen
nineteen to
to
Manchester at
at the
Ludwig
study
but by
by 1911
his interest
interest had been
been caught
by the
the
1911 his
study engineering;
caught by
engineering; but
philosophy
mathematics, and
and he
he went
went to
to Cambridge
Cambridge to
to study
study
of mathematics,
philosophy of
under Russell.
Russell. From 1912
to 1917
he was
was engaged
engaged in
in writing
writing the
the
under
1912 to
1917 he
is the
the subject
of this
this book.
book. The greater
greater part
part of
of the
the writing
writing
work which is
subject of
while he
he was on active
active service
service in
in the
the Austrian
Austrian army.
army.
was done while
boy of
of sixteen
sixteen Wittgenstein
Wittgenstein had read
read Schopenhauer
Schopenhauer and
As aa boy
had been
by Schopenhauer's
theory of
the 'world
'world
of the
had
been greatly
greatly impressed
Schopenhauer's theory
impressed by
(though not
not of
the 'world
'world as
will'); Schopenhauer
then
as
as will');
of the
as idea'
idea' (though
Schopenhauer then
struck
right, if
only aa few adjustments
adjustments and
if only
as furidamentally
struck him as
fundamentally right,
11
11

12
12

INTRODUCTION

clarifications
were made.
made. It
is very
very much aa popular
popular notion
notion of
of WittWittIt is
clarifications were
he was
was aa latter-day
latter-day Hume;
Hume; but
but any
any connections
connections bebegenstein
that he
genstein that
them
are
indirect,
and
he
never
read
more
than
a
few
pages
tween
tween them are indirect, and he never read more than a few pages
of
Hume. If
we look
look for
Wittgenstein's philosophical
philosophical ancestry,
ancestry, we
for Wittgenstein's
of Hume.
If we
his
'solipsism',
should
to Schopenhauer;
specifically,
his
should rather
rather look
look to
'solipsism',
Schopenhauer; specifically,
of
'the
limit'
and
his
ideas
on
value
will
be better
better
his
will
value
be
his
ideas
on
his conception
'the
limit'
and
of
conception
in the
the light
light of
than
of
any
other
philounderstood in
of
other
than
of Schopenhauer
understood
any
philoSchopenhauer
is one
the oddities
the present
present day
day that
that Schopenhauer
Schopenhauer
sopher.
It is
of the
one of
of the
oddities of
sopher. It
and even
even with
with Nazism,
Nazism,
is
often vaguely
vaguely associated
associated with
with Nietzsche
Nietzsche and
is often
and
is thought
thought to
to be
kind of
worshipper of
of power
power
and is
some kind
be some
of immoralist,
immoralist, worshipper
and
praiser of
of suicide;
suicide; it
is not
not the
the mythical
mythical Schopenhauer
Schopenhauer of
of
it is
and praiser
popular
repute,
but
the
actual
Schopenhauer,
that
should
that
should
we
the
actual
but
Schopenhauer,
popular repute,
remember in
in connection
Wittgenstein.
with Wittgenstein.
remember
connection with
For the
the rest,
rest, Wittgenstein's
Wittgenstein's philosophical
philosophical influences
influences are
are pretty
pretty
For
to Russell,
Russell, who introduced
introduced him to
to
well confined
confined to
to Frege
Frege and
and to
well
Frege's
writings. His
His relative
relative estimate
of them comes out
out in
in the
the
estimate of
Frege's writings.
acknowledgment
he makes
makes in
the Preface
Preface to
to the
the Tractatus:
Tract atus: 'I
'I owe aa
in the
acknowledgment he
part of
of the
the stimulation
stimulation of
of my
my thoughts
thoughts to
to the
the great
works of
of
great part
great
great works
Frege and
and to
to the
the writings
writings of
of my
my friend
Mr. Bertrand
Bertrand RusselL'
Russell.'
friend Mr.
Frege
and
Frege, whose
whose first
important work was
was published
published in
in 1879
1879 and
first important
Frege,
in 1925,
was
a
philosopher
whose
greatness,
up
to
the
who died
died in
was
a
whose
to
the
1925,
greatness, up
philosopher
and
present
day,
was
acknowledged
only
by
a
very
few.
Russell
few.
Russell
was
a
and
present day,
very
acknowledged only by
Wittgenstein were
were the
the most
eminent of
of those
those who recognized
recognized it.
it. He
most eminent
Wittgenstein
was not
not aa general
general philosopher
philosopher and
had no
no concern
concern with
with either
either ethics
ethics
was
and had
or theory
theory of
of knowledge,
knowledge, but
but purely
purely with
with logic
logic and the
the foundations
or
foundations
of
here however
however his
his considerations,
considerations, being
being always
always
of mathematics;
mathematics; here
of
the
greatest
general
philoconcerned with
with fundamentals,
are
of
the
fundamentals, are
greatest general philosophical
importance.
I
devote
a
good
deal
of
space
to
Frege
in
this
I
devote
this
a
deal
to
in
of
sophical importance.
good
space
Frege
book for
reason:
Wittgenstein
's
Tractatus
has
captured
for the
the following
reason
Tractatus
has
Wittgenstein's
following
captured
the interest
interest and
and excited
excited the
the admiration
of many,
many, yet
yet almost
almost all
all that
that
the
admiration of
has
been published
published about
it has
has been
been wildly
wildly irrelevant.
irrelevant. If
this has
has
has been
about it
If this
had any
cause, that
that cause
cause has
has been
been the
the neglect
neglect of
of Frege
Frege and of
of
any one cause,
the
the new direction
direction that
that he gave
to philosophy.
philosophy. In
In the
the Tractatus
Tractatus
gave to
Wittgenstein assumes,
not try
try to
to stimulate,
stimulate, an interest
interest in
in
does not
Wittgenstein
assumes, and does
the
the kind of
of questions
questions that
that Frege
Frege wrote
wrote about;
about; he
he also
takes it
it for
for
also takes
granted
that his
readers will
will have
have read
read Frege.
Frege.
his readers
granted that
Now, empiricist
empiricist or
idealist preconceptions,
preconceptions, such
such as
have been
been
or idealist
as have
Now,
:

INTRODUCTION

13
13

most
in philosophy
philosophy for
for aa long
long time,
time, are
are aa thorough
thorough imimmost common in
pediment
the understanding
understanding of
of either
either Frege
Frege or
or the
the Tractates.
Tractatus. It
to the
It is
is
pediment to
best,
indeed, if
to understand
understand these
these authors,
authors, not
not to
to have
have
if one
one wants
wants to
best, indeed,
all, but
but to
to be
of being
being
any
preconceptions at
at all,
be capable
any philosophical
philosophical preconceptions
capable of
as
the
following
ones:
If
I
say
that
naively
struck
by
such
questions
such
struck
as
the
If
I
ones:
naively
by
say that
questions
following
Russell
is aa clever
clever philosopher,
philosopher, II mention
mention Russell,
Russell, and
and say
someRussell is
somesay
thing
him: now,
now, is
is what
what II say
say about
him something
something that
that II
about him
about him:
thing about
mention,
just as
mention him?
him? If
what is
is the
the connection
connection between
between
as II mention
If so,
mention, just
so, what
not, what
what account
account are
are we to
to give
give
these
two mentioned
mentioned things?
these two
If not,
things? If
of
the words
words expressing
expressing what
what II say
him? have
have they
they any
any
of the
about him?
say about
reality? Further,
Further, suppose
try
to
explain
the
reference
reference
the
to reality?
reference to
we
to
reference
try
suppose
explain
to reality
by adverting
adverting to
to the
of what
what is
is said,
said, then
then what
what about
about
truth of
the truth
to
reality by
false
say that
that such
such and
and such
such is
is the
the case
case just
just as
as
statements? These
false statements?
These say
much as
as true
statements do-so
that the
the saying-that
saying-that done
done by
by true
true
true statements
do so that
statements
cannot be
be explained
by their
their truth.
truth. The
The investigations
investigations
statements cannot
explained by
prompted
by these
these questions
are more
more akin
akin to
to ancient,
ancient, than
than to
to more
more
prompted by
questions are
modern, philosophy.
philosophy. 11
modern,
Again,
I say
that the
the evening
star is
is the
the same
same as
as the
the morning
morning
if I
say that
Again, if
evening star
star,
is
this
statement
about
the
object
mentioned,
or
about
the
signs
this
about
the
about
the
is
statement
or
star,
object mentioned,
signs
of it?
it? If
it is
is about
about the
the object,
object, then
then why
why is
is it
it ininused
If it
in speaking
used in
speaking of
formative
to say
say this,
but not
not informative
informative to
to say
say that
that the
the evening
evening
formative to
this, but
is the
evening star?
star? If
it is
is about
about the
the signs,
signs, then,
then,
star is
the same as
the evening
If it
star
as the
once
be informative
informative since
since we can
can make signs
signs stand
stand
it be
can it
once more,
more, how can
for
like by
by arbitrary
arbitrary definition?
definition?
for what we like
This
latter problem
problem led
led Frege
Frege to
to formulate
formulate his
his famous
famous distincdistincThis latter
sense (Sinn)
and
the
reference
(Bedeutung)
of
tion between
between the
the sense
tion
the
reference (Bedeutung) of
(Sinn)
words
'the
morning
star'
and
'the
evening
star',
he
'the
he
words : The expressions
and
'the
star'
star',
evening
expressions
morning
they refer
refer to
to the
the same object,
object,
said,
have the
the same
same reference-for
reference for they
said, have
is
namely the
the planet
planet Venus.
Venus. But they
they have
have different
different senses,
senses, and
and that
that is
namely
why the
the statement
of identity
identity can
can be
be informative.
informative. This
This distinction
distinction
statement of
why
between 'sense'
'sense' and 'reference',
formulated, was used
used by
by Frege
Frege
once formulated,
between
'reference', once
of
truth
and
falsehood,
of
objects
and
throughout
his
accounts
his
accounts
of
truth
of
falsehood,
throughout
objects and
of
propositions
and
thoughts.
concepts,
of
concepts,
thoughts.
propositions
1 cf. Plato's Theaetetus !89A: 'In judging, one judges something; in
cf. Plato's Theaetetus 189A: 'In judging, one judges something; in
:

judging something,
one judges
judges something
something real;
real; so
so in
judging something
in judging
something
something, one
judging
not judging
judging at
at all.'
all.'
unreal one
one judges
judges nothing;
nothing; but
but judging
judging nothing,
nothing, one
one is
is not
unreal
Wittgenstein
returned to
to the
the problem
problem presented
presented by
by this
this argument
again
Wittgenstein returned
argument again
and
again throughout
throughout his
his life.
life.
and again

14'
14

INTRODUCTION

Above all,
all, Frege's
Frege's enquiries
enquiries were
were in
way psychological;
psychological; nor
nor
in no way
Above
had
he
any
interest
in
private
mental
contents.
If
people
speak
of
the
had he any interest in private mental contents. If people speak of the
number
100,
they
may
have
quite
different
images:
one
may
have
a
different
one
have
have
a
number 100, they may
images:
may
quite
of the
the letter
letter C,
another
of
ten
rows
of
ten
dots,
mental
picture of
ten
of
rows
another
of
ten
mental picture
C,
dots,
another
a collection
collection of
of hens
hens in
a yard;
yard; and
and the
the same
same man may
may
in a
of a
another of
have different
at different
different times,
times, or
or again
again one
one may
may have
have no
no
different images
have
images at
image.
None of
of this
this has
has the
the slightest
bearing on
on what
what is
is meant
meant when
slightest bearing
image. None
we speak
of the
the number
number 100.
the history
history of
of the
the race
race or
or of
of
can the
100. Nor can
we
speak of
language,
nor again
the mental
mental processes
processes by
by which
which aa man grasps
grasps that
that
again the
language, nor
10
x 10=
100, be
be relevant
relevant to
the question
question what
what it
it is
is that
that he
he grasps.
grasps.
to the
10 x
10=100,
Russell,
discusses
many
of
the
questions
as
Frege,
same
the
discusses
of
as
who
many
questions
Frege,
Russell,
differs
from him
him by
by introducing
introducing the
the notion
notion of
of immediate
immediate experience,
experience,
differs from
and
that of
of private
private mental
mental contents,
contents, into
into his
his explanations
explanations of
of
hence that
and hence
meaning and
and his
his theory
theory of
of judgment.
judgment. For
For Russell
Russell was
was thoroughly
thoroughly
meaning
of British
British empiricism.
empiricism. Wittgenstein's
Wittgenstein's
imbued with
the traditions
traditions of
with the
imbued
admirers
have generally
been like
Russell in
in this,
this, and
and have
have assumed
assumed
like Russell
admirers have
generally been
that
Wittgenstein was
was too;
too; therefore
therefore they
they have
have had assumptions
assumptions
that Wittgenstein
about
what is
is fundamental
fundamental in
philosphical analysis
analysis which
which were
were quite
quite
in philosphical
about what
out
with the
the Tractatus.
Tractatus.
tune with
out of
of tune
to Frege
Frege the
the notion
of aa 'truth-value'
'truth-value' which
which is
is current
current at
at
notion of
We owe to
the
present day.
truth-value of
proposition is
is its
its truth
truth or
or
a proposition
of a
the present
day. The truth-value
falsehood
as the
the case
may be.
be. Frege
Frege says:
its truth-value
truth-value is
is the
the
case may
falsehood as
says: its
it is
is true
true and the
false if
it is
is false.
false. This
This term
term is
is now very
very
true if
the false
if it
true
if it
familiar to
to any
student of
of elementary
logic, and may
may easily
to
familiar
seem to
any student
elementary logic,
easily seem
be no more than
than a conveniently
conveniently short
short expression
expression by
by means of
of which
which
be
circumlocution
is avoided.
avoided. In
In Frege,
Frege, however,
however, we find
find it
it arrived
arrived at
at
circumlocution is
through
hard
on
the
theory
of
meaning
and
truth:
work
which
work
the
of
and
which
truth:
work
through
theory
meaning
also
and fruitful
conceptions.
other allied
allied and
also produced
fruitful conceptions.
produced other
One of
the most important
important of
these is
is the
the profound
profound comparison
comparison11
of the
of these
between a predicate
predicate and the
the expression
of an
an arithmetical
arithmetical function,
function,
between
expression of
22
e.g.
notion of
of what
what is
termed aa 'propositional
'propositional function',
function',
is termed
'(x) '. The notion
e.g. '(x)
e.g.
bald', is
is directly
based on this
this comparison:
comparison: here
here we get
get aa
'x is bald',
directly based
e.g. 'xis
we
proposition
if
replace
the
'x'
by
a
(real)
proper
name,
just
as
if
the
a
*x*
by
proposition
replace
(real) proper name, just as
2
'
from '(x)
get
an
expression
of
definite
value
by
replacing
the
we
definite
of
value
the
*(x)
get
expression
by replacing
'x' by
by a definite
definite number.
number. This
is fundamental
fundamental to
to all
all
This comparison
comparison is
modem logic.
logic.
modern
*-

'

11

See Chapter
Chapter
See

7.
7.

15
15

INTRODUCTION

Frege also
also gave
gave us
us the
the modern
modem conception
of 'quantification',
Frege
conception of
'quantification',
in such
use in
in logic
logic that
that we regard
regard it
it
which is
useful and
is so
which
so useful
and in
such general
general use
as
the wheel,
wheel, forgetting
forgetting its
its inventor.
inventor. Quantification
as we regard
regard the
Quantification
'For
essentially
consists
in
reformulating
'Everything
heavy' as:
as: 'For
consists
in
is heavy'
essentially
reformulating 'Everything is
all
x
is
heavy';
and
'Something
is
heavy'
as:
'For
some
x,
x is
is
x
all x,
is
is
and
as:
'For
some
x,
heavy';
x, x
'Something
heavy'
or 'There
'There is
that x
x is
is heavy'.
heavy'. These
These are
are written
written in
in aa
heavy'
x such
is an
such that
an x
heavy' or
1
symbolic notation.
notation. 1
symbolic
The general
general reader
reader may
may wonder
wonder at
first whether
whether the
the interest
interest of
of
at first
such
a device
is not
not purely
purely technical.
technical. It
It is
is easy
easy to
to bring
bring out
out that
that this
this
such a
device is
of great
general interest
interest in
in philosophy.
philosophy.
is
is not
it is
not so;
is of
so; it
great general
For example,
example, this
this formulation
formulation supplies
us with
with aa perspicuous
perspicuous
supplies us
of the
the celebrated
Ontological Argument
Argument of
of Descartes:
Descartes:
refutation of
refutation
celebrated Ontological
but
not
how,
it
is to
to be
be
people
have
been
generally
agreed
that,
have
been
but
it
is
not
people
how,
generally agreed that,
refuted.
to the
the Ontological
Argument the
the notion
notion of
of God
refuted. According
According to
Ontological Argument
involves
existence, as
as that
that of
of aa triangle
triangle involves
involves the
the various
various
involves that
that of
of existence,
of aa triangle;
triangle; therefore,
exists. Let
Let us
us concede
concede the
the
properties of
properties
therefore, God exists.
premise. (There
(There is
is even
ground for
for it
it in
in the
the fact
fact that
that e.g.
e.g. "There
'There
even good
premise.
good ground
be aa God,
God, but
but isn't
isn't any
more' seems
seems to
to conflict
with the
the
used to
to be
used
conflict with
any more*
'God'.)
The
premise
should
be
stated
as
follows:
Just
as,
if
concept
Just
follows:
Tlie
should
be
stated
as
concept 'God'.)
as, //
premise
anything
is
a
triangle,
it
has
those
properties,
so
if
anything
is
God,
is
is
a
it
has
so
those
if anything
anything
God,
triangle,
properties,
it
possess eternal
eternal existence.
existence. This
This is
is fair;
fair; we must be
be permitted
permitted
it must possess
to
take seriously
the argument
about triangles
triangles which
which Descartes
Descartes relies
relies
to take
seriously the
argument about
on.
in the
sense in
in which
which the
the conclusion
conclusion 'God exists*
exists' is
is intended,
intended,
on. But in
the sense
it
that there
there is
a God.
God. And that
that by
by no means follows
follows from the
the
it means that
is a
For,
quite
generally,
from:
'For
all
x,
if
~x,
then
J/lx',
premise.
if
all
then
from:
'For
premise. For, quite generally,
x,
^x,
^x', we
cannot infer:
is an xx such
such that
that <x.*
~x.' That is,
interpreting
*<x
infer: 'There
'There is
is, interpreting '<Px'
as
God' and
and YX'
'l{lx' as
as 'x
'x has
has eternal
existence', we cannot
cannot infer
infer
as 'xis
*x is God'
eternal existence',
'There
from 'For
all x,
x, if
x is
is God,
has eternal
existence'.
eternal existence*.
'There is
is a
a God' from
if x
'For all
God, x has
can very
very well
well grant
that and still
still ask
'But is
is there
there such
being?'
We can
ask 'But
such a being?'
grant that
may well
well say:
say: *It
'It belongs
belongs to
to the
the concept
concept of
of a phoenix
phoenix never
never to
to
We may
die, but
but eternally
eternally to
to renew
renew its
its life
life in
in the
the flames';
flames'; but
but we cannot
cannot infer
infer
die,
from the
the concept
that there
lives such
creature.
a creature.
there lives
such a
concept that
of reasoning
reasoning is
is found in
in
Again,
the
following
fallacious
piece
the
fallacious
Again,
piece of
following
Aristotle: 'All
chains of
of means to
to ends
terminate in
in aa final
final
ends 22 must terminate
Aristotle:
'All chains
end.
This final
final end will
will be
be the
supreme good.*
good.' The first
first statement
is
statement is
the supreme
end. This
f

1
12

See Glossary
Glossary and
and Chapter
1.
See
11.
Chapter 1
i.e. every
case of
that bb in
in order
order that
that
i.e.
a in
in order
order that
of doing
every case
doing a

c....

c.

16
16

INTRODUCTION

reasonable; the
the second
second assumes
that the
the first
first has
has shewn
shewn that
that there
there
assumes that
reasonable;
all
chains
of
means
to
ends,
in
which
is
some
one
end,
the
same
for
is some one end, the same for all chains of means to ends, in which
all terminate:
terminate: the
the fallacy
fallacy is
avoided by
by writing:
writing:
they all
is immediately
immediately avoided
they
For
all x,
if
x
is
a
chain
of
means
to
ends,
there
is
a
y
such
that y
y
there
is
a
such
that
to
means
x
a
chain
of
if
is
For all
ends,
y
x,
y,
is
x terminates
terminates in
in y,
end and
and x
is a
a final
final end
which is
quite different
from:
is quite
different from:
which
There
is aa yy such
such that
that yy is
final end,
and for
for all
all x,
x, if
if xx is
is aa chain
chain
is a
a final
There is
end, and
of
to ends,
ends, xx terminates
terminates in
y.
in y.
of means
means to
It
of general
usefulness to
to be
be armed
against all
all fallacies
of this
this
fallacies of
armed against
It is
is of
general usefulness
type.
type.
a man is
free
Again, aa possible
possible limitation
limitation on
on the
the sense
sense in
in which
which a
is free
Again,
by considering
that:
can
be brought
brought out
that:
out by
can be
considering
At
all times
there is
a possibility
possibility of
of my
my abstaining
abstaining from
from smoking,
is a
At all
times there
smoking,
is quite
unluckily does
does not
not imply:
imply:
from and
is
different from
and unluckily
quite different
is aa possibility
possibility of
of my
my abstaining
from smoking
at all
all times.
times.
There is
There
abstaining from
smoking at
The
here is
is quite
quite easily
out in
in ordinary
ordinary language;
language;
difference here
The difference
easily made out
but
is also
missed. In
In symbolic
symbolic notation
notation it
it cannot
cannot be
be missed,
missed,
it is
but it
also easily
easily missed.
for there
is no
no ambiguous
ambiguous way
way of
writing down what
what we are
are saying.
saying.
there is
for
of writing
modern logic
at
least
is
an
instrument
for the
the
Thus this
this device
device of
an
instrument
Thus
at
least
is
for
of modern
logic
thought which
which is
is of
of use
use to
to anyone
anyone who engages
engages in
in
clarification
clarification of
of thought
reasoning. And without
without the
development of
of this
this part
part of
of logic
logic by
by
the development
reasoning.
is inconceivable
that Wittgenstein
Wittgenstein should
have
Frege and Russell,
it is
should have
inconceivable that
Frege
Russell, it
written the
written
the Tractatus.
Tractatus,
Russell, studying
the same
range of
of topics
topics as
as Frege,
Frege, criticized
criticized
same range
Russell,
studying the
and rejected
rejected one
one of
of Frege's
(at
first
sight)
most
plausible
devices:
most
first
Frege's (at
sight)
plausible devices
the distinction
the
distinction between
between the
the sense
and the
the reference
reference of
phrases. At
sense and
of phrases.
the
the same time
time he
he used
used the
the new way
way of
representing 'all'
'all' and
and 'some'
'some'
of representing
in
in analysing
sentences containing
containing definite
definite descriptions
descriptions (singular
(singular
analysing sentences
by the
the definite
definite article).
article). 1 Frege
Frege had
had treated
treated
descriptions
preceded by
descriptions preceded
had
such descriptions
descriptions as
as proper
proper names
names which,
which, while
while they
they always
always had
a sense,
might or
might not
not have
have aa reference.
reference. According
According to
to him
or might
him
sense, might
sentences
containing definite
definite descriptions
descriptions without
without reference
reference were
were
sentences containing
neither
neither true
true nor
nor false.
false. This
view is
is dependent
dependent on
on the
the validity
validity of
of the
the
This view
distinction
between sense
reference, not
not merely
merely as
as he
he first
first indistinction between
sense and reference,
introduced
in connection
with identity,
identity, but
but in
the very
very extended
extended
troduced it
it in
connection with
in the
application
that he
he made of
of it;
it; if
that has
has to
to be
be rejected,
rejected, aa new
if that
application that
11 See
See Chapter
2.
Chapter 2.
:

17
17

INTRODUCTION

account
of such
such sentences
sentences has
has to
to be
found. This
This was
was given
given by
by
account of
be found.
of Descriptions.
Wittgenstein embraced
embraced the
the
Russell in
Russell
in his
his Theory
Theory of
Descriptions. Wittgenstein
logical
by Russell's
Russell's theory
theory with
with admiration,
and,
afforded by
logical analysis
analysis afforded
admiration, and,
as
see, it
great influence
influence on
on the
the thought
thought of
of the
the
shall see,
as we shall
it exercised
exercised a
a great
Tractatus.
Tractatus.
The notions
of 'sense',
'sense', 'reference*
'reference' and
'meaning' as
as they
they occur
occur
The
notions of
and 'meaning'
in
these three
authors, Frege,
Frege, Russell
and Wittgenstein,
Wittgenstein, perhaps
perhaps need
need
in these
three authors,
Russell and
aa summary
account. Frege's
Frege's 'sense'
'sense' corresponds
corresponds roughly
roughly to
to the
the
summary account.
we ask
ask for
for the
the meaning
meaning of
of aa
ordinary
ordinary English
English 'meaning'.
'meaning'. When we
phrase, we are
are not
not asking
asking to
have an
an object
indicated to
to us
us: we want
want
to have
phrase,
object indicated
meaning-or,
as
Frege
would
say,
the
aa paraphrase
with
the
same
with
the
same
as
would
paraphrase
say, the
meaning or,
Frege
same sense.
the other
hand, if
I say
'When
I
spoke
of
"that
fat
sense. On the
other hand,
if I
I
fat
'When
"that
of
say
spoke
charlatan",
meant Smith',
what II 'meant'
is aa man;
man; Frege's
Frege's
'meant' is
charlatan", II meant
Smith', what
'reference'
corresponds to
to what
what is
is 'meant'
'meant' in
in this
use of
of
'reference' (Bedeutung)
this use
(Bedeutung) corresponds
of
the word.
word.
of the
Wittgenstein follows
Frege in
this use
use of
of the
the words
words 'Bedeutung',
in this
follows Frege
Wittgenstein
'Bedeutung\
the Tractatus,
they ought
ought not
not to
to be
be
'bedeuten'.
'bedeuterf. Generally,
in the
Generally, in
Tractatus, they
1
rendered,
as
C.
K.
Ogden
rendered
them,
by
'meaning'
and
'mean',
as
K.
C.
rendered
rendered,
Ogden
them, by 'meaning' and 'mean',
but rather
rather by
by 'reference'
'reference' and
and 'stand
for'. Wittgenstein's
Wittgenstein's conception
but
'stand for'.
conception
of
be called
called the
the same
Frege's, if
careful to
to add
add
of 'sense'
'sense' may
if we are
same as
as Frege's,
are careful
may be
that Wittgenstein
different theses
theses about
about it:
it: for
for he
he held
held that
that
that
had different
Wittgenstein had
sense but
but only
only reference,
reference, and
and propositions
propositions no
names had no sense
reference but
but only
and also
also that
that aa proposition
proposition could
could not
not have
have
reference
only sense;
sense; and
or false.
false. Further,
Further, he
he uses
uses the
the
aa sense
without being
being either
either true
true or
sense without
suggestion
of
'direction'
that
is
contained
in
the
word
'sense'
when
is
in
when
of
that
contained
the
'direction'
word 'sense*
suggestion
he speaks
of positive
positive and
negative as
opposite senses:
senses: we shall
see
he
as opposite
shall see
and negative
speaks of
that he
he considered
considered significant
negatability
to
be
of
the
essence
of
a
that
the
of
a
to
be
of
essence
significant negatability
significant
proposition, and
and aa proposition
proposition and its
its negation
negation as
as like
like
significant proposition,
arrows
pointing in
in opposite
opposite directions.
directions. ('Sinn*
('Sinn' is
is ordinary
ordinary German
arrows pointing
for
in English
English usage
usage 'sense'
occurs with
with that
that meaning
meaning in
in
for 'direction';
'direction' in
'sense' occurs
mathematics.)
mathematics,)
and holds
holds that
that the
the
Russell
uses only
only one
one notion
notion 'meaning'
'meaning' and
Russell uses
of
words
must
always
be
objects
that
one
is
directly
meanings
is
of
be
that
one
must
words
directly
meanings
always
objects
:

11 English readers
of the
the Tractatus
Tractatus may
may need
need to
to be
be warned
warned that
that Ogden's
Ogden's
English readers of
that he had not
translation is
notoriously very
bad. Wittgenstein
Wittgenstein told
told me that
translation
is notoriously
very bad.
checked
whole of
this translation,
but only
only answered
answered aa few
few questions
questions
checked the
the whole
of this
translation, but
that were
put to
to him about
passages. e.g.
e.g. II think
think we can
can see
see
that
were put
about some passages,
in the
the free
but excellent
rendering of
of 4.023.
4.023.
Wittgenstein's
excellent rendering
free but
Wittgenstein's hand in

18
18

INTRODUCTION

acquainted
with. He also
of 'denoting':
'denoting' expresexpresa 'denoting'
also speaks
'denoting': a
speaks of
acquainted with.
is
such
an
expression
as
'Some
ambassador',
'Any
horse',
'The
sion
sion is such an expression as 'Some ambassador', 'Any horse', 'The
(one
and
only)
earth
satellite'.
It
was
the
object
of
the
Theory
of
It
the
was
the
of
satellite'.
and
earth
object
Theory of
(one
only)
Descriptions
to
analyse
such
expressions
away,
and
so
'denoting'
and
so
such
to
expressions away,
analyse
'denoting*
Descriptions
part in
in Russell's
Russell's final
final explanation.
explanation.
has no
no part
has
of the
the Tractatus.
It is
is aa
This,
the historical
historical background
background of
Tractatus. It
is the
then, is
This, then,
is apt
apt to
to captivate
people's minds,
minds, while
while at
at the
the same
time
book which
same time
which is
book
captivate people's
seeming
in many
many parts
parts excessively
excessively obscure.
people, once
once they
they
obscure. Some people,
seeming in
have looked
looked into
are prevented from throwing it away in despair
have
into it,
it, are prevented from throwing it away in despair
of penetrating
penetrating its
its meaning
meaning by
by the
the impression
impression they
they receive
receive of
of great
great
of
areas.
This
Introduction
is
addressed
primarily
to
light
in
certain
addressed
This
Introduction
is
in
certain
areas.
primarily to
light
such
readers as
as these.
these. It
certainly not
not meant
meant to
to be
be of
any value
value to
to
such readers
It is
is certainly
of any
someone
does not
not read
read or
propose to
to read
read the
the Tractatus
Tractatus itself.
itself.
or propose
someone who does
The Tractatus
presented in
an order
order of
of demonstration
demonstration from
from
in an
The
Tractatus is
not presented
is not
we want
want to
to find
the grounds
grounds for
for its
its contentions,
contentions, we
we must
must
premises; if
if we
find the
premises
at the
the beginning.
beginning. It
is divided
into aa set
set
look in
in the
middle and
not at
It is
look
the middle
and not
divided into
of
remarks in
in aa decimal
notation shewing
shewing what
what is
is of
of
decimal notation
of numberednumbered* remarks
greater
and
what
of
subsidiary
importance:
the
more
decimal
of
and
what
the
more
decimal
subsidiary importance:
greater
places in
number, the
the more subsidiary
subsidiary the
the remark
remark it
it is
is attached
attached to.
to.
in a
a number,
places
The main
main propositions
propositions are
the ones
ones numbered
numbered with
with the
the whole
whole
are the
numbers 1-7.
numbers
1
run:
1. These
These run:
;

world is
is everything
that is
is the
the case.
case.
The world
everything that
the case-the
fact-is
the existence
existence of
facts. 11
What is
is the
case the fact
of atomic
is the
atomic facts.
The logical
logical picture
picture11 of
the facts
is
the
thought.
of the
facts is the thought.
thought is
is the
the significant
proposition.
The thought
significant proposition.
5. The proposition
5.
proposition is
is aa truth-function
truth-function8 of
of elementary
elementary propopropo-

I.
1.
2.
3.
3.
4.
4.
2.

4
sitions.'
sitions.
(The
elementary proposition
proposition is
is aa truth-function
truth-functic;m of
of itself.)
itself.)
(The elementary
6.
is [p,
[p, J,
~. N(|)].
N(~].'& This
This is
is the
the
6. The general
of truth-function
truth-function is
general form of
general form
proposition.
form of
of proposition.
general
7. What we cannot
7.
cannot speak
must be
be silent
silent about.
about. 6
of, we must
speak of,

See Chapters
4.
1 and
and 4.
Chapters 1
See
4.
See Chapter
Chapter 4.
See
See Glossary
Glossary and
and Chapter
Chapter 3.
3.
'4 See Chapter
Chapter 1.
1.
5*
See Chapter
Chapter 10.
10.
See
See Chapters
Chapters 55 and
and 13.
13.

1
1

38

INTROOUcnON
INTRODUCTION

19
19

It
from this
this that
that the
the principal
principal theme
theme of
of the
the book
book
clear enough
is clear
It is
enough from
is the
language, or
or thought,
thought, and
reality. The
The
connection between
the connection
between language,
and reality.
main
thesis
about
this
is
that
sentences,
or
their
mental
counterthesis
about
this is that sentences, or their mental countermain
parts, are
are pictures
pictures of
facts. Only
Only we
we must
must not
not suppose
that what
what is
is
of facts.
suppose that
parts,
pictured
by
a
proposition
has
to
exist:
as
Wittgenstein
wrote
in
a
has
exist:
to
as
in
wrote
proposition
Wittgenstein
pictured by
to R
ussell in
in 1919,
a fact
fact is
is what
what corresponds
to aa
explaining
himself to
Russell
1919, a
corresponds to
explaining himself
if
it
true.
The
proposition
is
the
same
picture
whether
proposition
it is
is true.
The
the
same
whether
is
if
proposition
picture
proposition
is true
false-i.e.
whether the
the fact
fact it
it is
is aa picture
picture of
of is
a fact,
fact, is
is
it is
or false
true or
i.e. whether
is a
it
not. This
This should
should not
not make us
us ask
ask *How,
'How, then,
then, can
can aa fact
fact
the case,
or not.
the
case, or
be aa fact?'
fact?' For,
For, following
Wittgenstein's explanation,
explanation, it
it means:
means:
not be
not
following Wittgenstein's
to
The
proposition
is
th'!
same
picture
whether
what
corresponds
is
the
same picture whether what corresponds to
The proposition
it
z/
it
is
true
is
the
.case
or
not:
it
is
a
picture
of
that.
what
true
is
is
it
the
.case
or
it
not:
is
that.
a
of
And
what
it if
picture
to it
it is
is the
the same,
whether it
is true
true or
or false.
false.
corresponds
it if
if it
is true
true is
it is
corresponds to
same, whether
The
world is
is the
the totality
totality of
of facts-i.e.
of the
the counterparts
counterparts in
in reality
reality
i.e. of
facts
The world
of
propositions. And nothing
nothing but
but picturable
picturable situations
situations can
can be
be
true propositions.
of true
stated
in propositions.
propositions. There
is indeed
indeed much that
that is
is inexpressible
inexpressibleThere is
stated in
which we must not
not try
try to
to state,
but must
must contemplate
contemplate without
without
which
state, but
words.
words.
In
Wittgenstein suggests
that he
he may
may be
be underunderhis Introduction
In his
Introduction Wittgenstein
suggests that
by
people
have
had
the
same
thoughts
as
he;
stood
only
who
have
had
the
same
as
stood only by people
he;
thoughts
can
only
be
understood
by
people
have
been
percertainly
he
he
understood
who
have
been
be
certainly
by people
only
perplexed
by the
His own writing
writing is
is extraordinarily
extraordinarily
the same problems.
problems. His
plexed by
is necessary
to ponder
ponder each
each word in
in order
order to
to
compressed,
it is
compressed, and it
necessary to
understand his
his sentences.
one does
does this,
this, they
they often
often turn
turn out
out
sentences. When one
understand
to be
be quite
quite straightforward,
and by
by no means
means so
so oracular
oracular or
or
to
straightforward, and
aphoristic
they have
have been
taken to
to be.
be. But few
few authors
such
as they
authors make such
been taken
aphoristic as
the close
close attention
and active
active co-operation
co-operation of
of their
their
demands
attention and
demands on the
readers.
readers.
In
have not
not followed
followed the
the arrangement
arrangement of
of the
the
In my account,
account, II have
Tractatus
all. That,
That, II think,
to do when one reads
reads
at all.
is something
Tractatus at
think, is
something to
the book for
enjoyment after
after one
has come to
to understand
understand its
its main
for enjoyment
one has
the
to me to
to be
be the
the most important
important
ideas.
I have
have chosen
chosen what
what seem to
ideas. I
themes and problems
problems of
book. My first
six chapters
chapters aim at
at giving
giving
first six
the book.
of the
themes
the reader
reader some idea
idea of
the 'picture
'picture theory'
theory' of
of the
the proposition.
proposition. II
of the
the
to the
the topic
topic of
of negation,
negation, for
for 'not',
'not',
devote
a great
great deal
deal of
of space
devote a
space to
no
which
is
so
simple
to
use,
is
utterly
mystifying
to
think
about;
think
so
to
is
is
to
about;
which
simple
utterly mystifying
use,
theory of
of thought
thought or
judgment which
which does
does not
not give
give an account of
of it
it
or judgment
theory
is

20
20

INTR.ODUCfiON
INTRODUCTION

can
be adequate.
is thus
thus one
of the
the central
central topics
topics of
of the
one of
the
It is
can hope
to be
adequate. It
hope to
Tractatus.
Tractatus.
Chapter
mainly concerned
concerned with
with what
what becomes
becomes of
of the
the great
great
7 is
is mainly
Chapter 7
problem of
Universals in
in Wittgenstein's
Wittgenstein's theory,
theory, and
and Chapter
with
of Universals
Chapter 88 with
problem
of 'not',
which are
are not
not covered
covered in
in my
my
certain aspects
aspects of
certain
etc., which
or\ etc.,
'and', 'or',
'not', 'and',
account of
the picture
picture theory.
9 and
and 10
with important
important
10 deal
deal with
of the
account
theory. Chapters
Chapters 9
technical notions
notions which
which are
are rather
rather special
special to
to the
the Tractatus,
and could
could
technical
Tractatus, and
be omitted
by aa beginner
beginner who wanted
wanted first
first to
to familiarize
familiarize himself
himself
be
omitted by
with its
fOlmdations: these
these chapters,
may say,
say, treat
treat of
the upper
upper
of the
its foundations:
with
chapters, we may
storeys
with Chapter
Chapter 11,
on the
the theory
theory of
of genergenerBut with
of the
the edifice.
edifice. But
11, on
storeys of
ality,
are once
once more
more working
working on the
the foundations.
foundations. The
The last
last two
two
ality, we are
chapters
are about
about some
philosophical consequences
which
some general
chapters are
general philosophical
consequences which
Wittgenstein drew
drew from
his investigations
investigations into
into the
the philosophy
philosophy of
of
from his
Wittgenstein
logic.
logic.
The logic,
a knowledge
knowledge of
of which
which is
is necessary
necessary for
for an
understand~
an understandThe
logic, a
ing
of the
the Tractatus,
very elementary;
elementary; my own aim has
has been
been to
to
is very
Tractatus, is
ing of
write in
in such
a way
way that
that someone
was not
not already
already familiar
familiar with
with
write
such a
someone who was
it
pick it
it up
up as
as he
he went
went along.
In case
case the
the symbols
symbols and
and technical
technical
it could
could pick
along. In
terms
elementary modern
modern logic
be unfamiliar
unfamiliar to
to aa reader,
reader,
should be
terms of
of elementary
logic should
I append
append aa short
I
short glossary.
glossary.
s

GLOSSARY
p, q,
q, rr
p,

These
letters are
are used
used to
to represent
represent
These small
small letters
propositions.
(By
Wittgenstein,
ooly
propositions.
(By Wittgenstein, only
for elementary
propositions.)
for
elementary propositions.)

a,
c
b, c
a, b,

These
small letters
letters (from
(from the
the beginning
beginning of
of
These small
the alphabet)
are used
used to
to represent
represent proper
proper
the
alphabet) are
names of
of objects.
objects.
names

fa,
<Aa
^a, .Pa
fa, ga,
ga, </>a,

the
represent
propositions containing
containing the
represent propositions
'a'. Similarly
Similarly
name 'a'.

f(a,b), </>(a,b)

the
represent aa proposition
proposition containing
represent
containing the
names 'a'
and *b':
'b': 'f
'f' and
and '4>' arc
are here
here
*a' and

f(a,b), <(a,b)

shewn
to be
be 'two-place'
'two-place' predicates,
predicates, or
or
shewn to
'dyadic relational
relational expressions'.
expressions'.
'dyadic
R,S
S
R,

These large
large letters
letters are
are used
used to
to represent
represent
e.g. 'to
the right
right of,
of', 'larger
'larger
'to the
e.g.
than', 'father
'father of.
of'. And
than',

relations,
relations,
aRb

symbolizes aa proposition
proposition asserting
asserting aa
symbolizes
b.
relation
between aa and b.
relation between

X, y,
Z
x,
y, z

of the
the
letters (from
(from the
the end of
letters
alphabet)
(different)
empty
places
mark
(different) empty places
alphabet)
in
propositions written
written in
the forms
forms
in the
in propositions
'fa'
or *f(a,b)',
'f(a,b)', or
or 'aRb',
'aRb', from which
which a
a
fa' or
proper name or
or names have
have been
been rereproper
remove *a'
'a' and 'b'
'b' from
moved; e.g.
if we remove
moved;
e.g. if
'aRb'
have *-R-',
'-R-', which yields
yields a
'aRb' we have
put names in
in the
the
proposition if
if we put
proposition
blanks. To differentiate
differentiate blanks,
blanks, we put
put
blanks.
'xRy' ; to
to shew they
they are
are to
to be
be filled
up the
the
filled up
*xRy'
same way,
way, we put
put 'xRx\
'xRx'.
same
21
21
These small
small
These

22
22
Variable
Variable

GLOSSARY

Such
a small
letter as
as x,
x, y,
y, z,
z, in
in the
the role
role
Such a
small letter
used
just
described.
Variables
are
chiefly
just described. Variables are chiefly used
in the
the construction
construction of
of
in

Propositions containing
containing the
the notions
notions 'all',
'all',
Quantified
propositions Propositions
Quantified propositions
'some'.
are speaking
speaking of
of *a!T
'all'
'some'. When we are
so-and-so,
and
any
example
of
so-and-so
so-and-so, and any example of so-and-so
an object
object which
which could
have aa
would be
be an
could have
would
proper
name,
the
proposition
is
written
is
the
written
proposition
proper name,
in the
the form:
in
form:
~x;
#x;

i.e. 'Everything
'Everything is
is~.
#'.

(x)~x

GO*

For
all x,
x,
For all

{Ex)~x

For
some x,
x, ^x;
~x; i.e.
i.e. "Something
'Something is
is
For some
'There
is an
an xx such
such that
that #x*.
~x.
"There is

Truth-value
Truth-value

The truth
truth or
the case
case may
may
falsehood (as
The
or falsehood
(as the
be) of
of aa proposition.
proposition.
be)

Function
Function
(Value,
Argument)
(Value, Argument)

~ or
or

a
a
)1 takes
takes different
different values
values for
for
arguments: e.g.
e.g. the
the value
value of
of the
the
different arguments:
different
1
for the
the argwrient
is 9,
9,
function
function (( ))a for
argument 33 is
(3) 1 =9. The value
value of
the power
power
since
since (3)*=9.
of the
for arguments
arguments 22 and
and 33 in
in
function
function (( )) < > for
that order
is 8:
8 : since
since 22 to
to the
the power
power
that
order is
1
s
3 (2
is 8.
3
8.
(2 )) is
Cannot be
be
Cannot

defined, but
but only
illustrated:
defined,
only illustrated:

function, say
say ((
function,

<

Truth-function
Truth-function

i.e.

)*,,

function (e.g.
(e.g. ''- and -')
whose arguarguA function
-') whose
ment(s) (e.g.
and 'q')
and values
values
ment^)
(e.g. 'p'
*p' and
*q') and
'p and
q') are
are propositions,
propositions, such
such that
that
(e.g. 'p
and q')
(e.g.
of its
its value
value is
is determined
determined
the
truth-value of
the truth-value
by
the
truth-value(s)
of
its
argument(s).
the
of
its
by
truth-value(s)
argument(s).

Truth-functional
conTruth-functional connectives (one
kind of
of
nectives
(one kind
'logical
constants')
logical constants*)

to express
truth-functions, e.g.
e.g.
Signs
used to
Signs used
express truth-functions,
For the
the truth-value
truth-value of
of
'not',
'or'. For
'not', 'and',
'and', 'or'.
'not-p' is
is determined
determined by
by the
the truth-value
truth-value
*not-p*
of p,
p, and
and the
the truth-value
truth-value of
and q*
q' and
and
of
of 'p
*p and
or
q'
is
determined
by
the
truth-values
'p
or
is
determined
the
truth-values
*p
q'
by
ofp
and of
of q.
q.
of
p and

23
23

GLOSSARY

not.
not.
and.
and.
v q'
true when
when
i.e. 'p
i.e.
is true
*p v
q' is
'p'
'q' are
are true,
true, as
well as
as when
when
and 'q'
as well
p' and
only
them is.
is.
one of
of them
only one
or; non-exclusive,
non-exclusive,
or;

both
both

if
. . then
then ... , defined
defined as
as 'either
'either not
not ....
..
if ....
or .. .'. Thus
Thus *pi>q*
'p::::>q' is
is true
true if
is false
false
or
if 'p'
'p' is
or
true, regardless
regardless of
of any
any real
real conconor 'q'
'q* true,
their subject-matters.
subject-matters. This
This
nection in
nection
in their
(minimum)
sense
of
'if
...
then'
occurs
of
sense
*if
then' occurs in
in
(minimum)
'If
that is
is so,
I'm
a
Dutchman',
which if
if II
*If that
I'm
a
so,
Dutchman', which
is aa
not to
to be
be aa Dutchman is
am known not
way of
of saying
saying that
that 'that'
'that' is
is not
not so.
so.
way
.

.'.

Material implication
Material
implication

the
the

Truth-table
Truth-table 11
(or:
Matrix)
(or: Matrix)

'if
then' expressed
expressed by
by 'D'.
'::::> '.
'if ...
... then'

table designed
designed to
to
table

the relation
relation
show the

between the
the truth-value
truth-value of
a truth-functruth-funcof a
between
tion
the truth-value(s)
truth-value(s) of
its arguarguof its
tion and
and the
ment(s).
ment(s).

and
Thus the
the truth-tables
truth-tables for
for 'p
Thus
p and

q'
'p
and 'p
q' and
p
p
T(rue)
T(rue)

or q'
q' are:
are:
or

F(alse) T
F(alse)
F
F

p or q
porq
T
T
T

q
q

p and
and q
q
P

Tautology
Tautology

Any truth-function
truth-function such
such that
that whatever
whatever
Any
the
truth-values of
of its
its arguments,
arguments, its
its value
value
the truth-values
for those
those arguments
is always
true. Exfor
always true.
arguments is
amples:
p vv .-p;
(p.p::::>q)::::>q.
~p; (p.pDq)Dq.
amples: p

Logical product
product
Logical

Conjunction of
of all
all the
the propositions
propositions of
of aa
Conjunction
given
e.g. p.
p. q.
q. r.
r.
set, e.g.
given set,

Logical
Logical

of all
all the
the propositions
propositions of
of a
Disjunction
Disjunction of
given
set, e.g.
pvq
q vv r.
r.
e.g. p
given set,

sum

Post.
Invented (independently)
by Wittgenstein
Wittgenstein and Post.
Invented
(independently) by

24
24

GLOSSARY

In logical
logical contexts
contexts this
this is
used as
as the
the sign
sign
In
is used
of
identity,
not
of
equality
in
quantity;
of identity, not of equality in quantity;
'a=b'
means that
that aa is
is b.
b.
*a=b* means

N())
N(

Joint negation
negation of
of the
the propositions
propositions put
put
Joint
between the
the brackets;
brackets; used
used only
only by
by WittWittbetween
Chapter 10).
genstein (see
(see Chapter
10).
genstein

O,Q
O, Q

variable signs
for an
an operation
operation in
in WittgenWittgenvariable
signs for
stein's
sense; these
these symbols
symbols are
are peculiar
peculiar to
to
stein's sense
the Tractatus
(see Chapter
Chapter 9).
the
Tractatus (see
9).
;

, 77

.,
^

variables
not tied
tied to
to any
any
for expressions,
variables for
expressions, not
one
kind, as
as is
is x,
x, which
which is
a name variable,
variable,
is a
one kind,
or
again n,
n, which
which is
is aa numerical
numerical variable:
variable:
or again
used in
in informal
informal exposition
exposition by
by Frege
Frege and
and
used
Wittgenstein.
Wittgenstein.
sign
for aa special
operation, used
only in
in
used only
sign for
special operation,
the
present book
book (see
(see Chapter
Chapter 10).
Read
the present
10). Read
as
as 'Resh'.
'Resh'.

11

ELEMENTARY PROPOSITIONS
Karl Popper
Popper has
has described
the Tractatus
in the
the following
following way:
way:
Karl
described the
Tractatus in
'Wittgenstein
tried to
to shew
shew that
all so-called
so-called philosophical
philosophical or
or
that all
'Wittgenstein tried
metaphysical
propositions were
were in
in fact
fact non-propositions
non-propositions or
or
metaphysical propositions
pseudo-propositions: that
that they
they were
were senseless
meaningless.
or meaningless.
senseless or
pseudo-propositions:
All
genuine (or
(or meaningful)
meaningful) propositions
propositions were
were truth-functions
truth-functions
All genuine
of
the elementary
elementary or
or atomic
atomic propositions
propositions which
which described
described
of the
"atomic
facts", i.e.
i.e. facts
facts which
which can
in principle
principle be
be ascertained
ascertained by
by
"atomic facts",
can in
observation.
words, they
they were
were fully
fully reducible
reducible to
to eleeleIn other
observation. In
other words,
mentary or
or atomic
atomic propositions
propositions which
which were
were simple
statements
mentary
simple statements
describing
possible states
of affairs,
could be in
in
states of
describing possible
affairs, and which could
principle
established
or
rejected
by
observation.
If
call
a
a
established
or
If
call
we
observation.
rejected by
principle
statement
"observation statement"
statement" not
not only
only if
it states
statement an "observation
if it
states an
actual
observation but
but also
it states
anything that
that may
may be
be obobactual observation
also if
if it
states anything
served,
shall have
have to
to say
say that
that every
genuine proposition
proposition must
served, we shall
every genuine
be aa truth-function
truth-function of
therefore deducible
deducible from,
observation
be
of and therefore
from, observation
statements.
All other
propositions will
will be,
be, in
in fact,
fact,
statements. All
other apparent
apparent propositions
they will
will be meaningless
meaningless pseudo-propositions.'
pseudo-propositions.'11
nonsense; they
nonsense;
I cite
cite this
this passage
passage because
because it
it expresses
expresses the
the most common view of
I
the
only needs
needs aa small
small supplement
supplement to
to express
that view
Tractatus. It
It only
the Tractatus.
express that
concompletely.
For
it
is
sufficiently
well
that
the
Tractatus
the
Tractatus
it
well
known
that
is
sufficiently
completely.
tains
a 'picture
'picture theory'
theory' of
language, of
Popper here
here makes no
of which Popper
tains a
of language,
mention. The whole theory
theory of
of propositions
propositions is,
is, then,
then, on this
this view,
view, a
mention.
combination of
of two
two theories:
theories: aa 'picture
'picture theory*
theory
merely external
external combination
merely
of
propositions (viz.
(viz. that
that they
they have
have meaning
meaning by
by being
being
of elementary
elementary propositions
British Philosophy
Philosophy in
in Mid-Century,
Mid-Century, Allen
Allen and Unwin,
Unwin, 1957:
pp. 163-4.
1957 pp.

1 British

25
25

26
26

WTITGENSIEIN'S TRACTATUS
TRACfAnJS
AN INTRODUcnON
INTRODUCnON TO WITTGENSTEIN'S

'logical
pictures' of
of elementary
states of
affairs), and
the theory
theory of
of
and the
of affairs),
elementary states
'logical pictures*
an
non-elementary propositions;
propositions; this
this
of non-elementary
account of
an account
latter
theory breaks
breaks down rather
rather easily,
easily, because
because it
it is
is impossible
impossible to
to
latter theory
regard
generalized
propositions
that
relate
to
an
infinitely
numerous
regard generalized propositions that relate to an infinitely numerous
truth-functions of
of elementary
elementary propositions.
propositions.
universe as
as truth-functions
universe
Someone
who, having
having read
read the
the Tractatus,
reads Popper's
Popper's account
account
Tractatus reads
Someone who,
of
it, must
must be
struck by
by one
one thing:
thing: namely
namely that
that there
there is
is aa great
great deal
deal
of it,
be struck
about
Popper's account,
account, and
and very
very little
little about
about it
it in
in
in Popper's
'observation' in
about 'observation'
the Tractatus.
According to
Popper, the
the elementary
elementary propositions
propositions of
of
to Popper,
the
Tractatus. According
the Tractatus
simple observation
statements. Now can
can we find
find
observation statements.
the
are simple
Tractatus are
for this
this view
view in
in the
the Tractatus
itself? II think
think that
that the
the
any
Tractatus itself?
any support
support for
strongest
that we can
can find
3.263: 'The
references of
of
is at
find is
at 3.263:
"The references
strongest support
support that
primitive
signs
can
be
made
clear
by
elucidations.
Elucidations
are
be
clear
elucidations.
Elucidations
can
are
by
primitive signs
propositions
containing the
the primitive
primitive signs.
signs. Thus
Thus they
they can
can only
only be
be
propositions containing
understood, if
one is
is acquainted
with
the
references
of
these
signs.'
with
the
references
if one
of
these
understood,
acquainted
signs.*
take it
that 'primitive
are the
the same
same thing
thing as
as
II think
think we can
it that
can take
'primitive signs'
signs* are
'names',
the passage
passage above,
above, 3.261:
'Two signs,
signs, one
a primitive
primitive
3.261 Two
one a
'names', from the
sign,
defined by
by means
means of
of primitive
primitive signs,
signs, cannot
cannot
the other
other defined
sign, and the
signify
the same
way. Names cannot
cannot be
be expounded
expounded by
by means
means of
of
in the
same way.
signify in
definitions.'
Here it
it is
is clear
clear enough
enough that
that 'names'
'names' are
are 'primitive
'primitive signs';
signs';
definitions.' Here
and as
from elsewhere
that Wittgenstein
Wittgenstein did
not regard
regard
elsewhere that
as we know from
did not
logical
signs
as
primitive
signs,
or
as
having
anything
that
they
stand
or
as
that
as
having anything
logical signs
primitive signs,
they stand
for,
also say
only primitive
primitive signs
signs for
for him
him are
are what
what he
he
can also
that the
the only
for, we can
say that
calls
Names, then,
then, can
can be
be made clear
clear by
by elucidations,
by
calls 'names'.
'names'. Names,
elucidations, by
sentences
spoken to
to someone who is
is acquainted
acquainted
sentences containing
containing them spoken
with the
the objects
that they
they stand
stand for.
for.
with
objects that
An obvious
obvious example
example of
of a name might
might seem to
to be
the word 'red*
'red'
be the
uttered in
perhaps
'Red
patch
here'
in
the
presence
of
in a sentence,
uttered
'Red
in
here'
the
sentence, perhaps
patch
presence of
someone who is
is contemplating
contemplating the
the red
red patch
patch and who may
may be
be
supposed
to have
have acquaintance
with the
the object
object designated
designated by
by the
the
supposed to
acquaintance with
word 'red'.
'red patch
patch here'
here' would
would seem to
to be
be aa candidate
for
'red'. And 'red
candidate for
being a simple
or elementary
elementary observation
observation statement
statement such
such as
as Popper
Popper
simple or
being
refers
refers to.
to. This
suggests that
that the
the elementary
elementary propositions
propositions are
are not
not
This suggests
merely observation
observation statements,
statements, but
but sense-datum
statements; as,
as,
sense-datum statements;
merely
to
to
be
both
by
many
of
the
Vienna
indeed,
they
taken
were
taken
both
of
members
the
Vienna
indeed, they
by many
Circle
many years
years in
in Cambridge
Cambridge discussions.
discussions. And II think
think it
it
Circle and for
for many
is
is quite
possible that
that Wittgenstein
Wittgenstein had roughly
roughly this
this sort
sort of
of thing
thing
quite possible
truth-functions as
as
truth-functions

PROPOSITIONS
ELEMENTARY PROPOSITIONS

27
27

rather vaguely
vaguely in
mind. His
speaking of
of 'acquaintance'
'acquaintance' (for
(for that
that
in mind.
His speaking
rather
of
'kennen'
and
its
compounds
certainly
seems
the
best
rendering
certainly seems the best rendering of 'ken?ien' and its compounds
very strongly
suggests this;
this; we
we
where they
they occur
in the
occur in
the Tractatus)
where
Tractates) very
strongly suggests
of
Russell's
distinction
between
'knowledge
by
immediately
think
think
of
Russell's
distinction
between
immediately
'knowledge by
and
'knowledge
by
description'
.
acquaintance'
and
acquaintance'
'knowledge by description'.
.J| do
do not
not believe
believe that
that any
any other
other support
support for
for Popper's
Popper's view
view of
of
elementary
propositions is
is to
to be
be found
found in
in the
the Tractatus.
Tractatus. And this
this
elementary propositions
passage
is aa rather
rather slender
support.
slender support.
passage is
In
the first
place, Wittgenstein
Wittgenstein does
does not
not state,
state, or
or even
first place,
In the
even suggest,
suggest,
that the
the proposition
proposition which
which contains
contains an
an elementary
elementary name and
and
that
'elucidates'
that
for
a
person
acquainted
with
its
reference
that
name
for
a
'elucidates'
person acquainted with its reference
elementary proposition.
must be
be an
an elementary
must
proposition.
In
the second
place, the
kind of
of example
example that
that comes
comes most
most readily
readily
second place,
In the
the kind
is aa red
red patch',
patch', can
can be
be proved
proved not
not to
to be
be an
an elementary
elementary
to mind,
mind, 'This
'This is
to
For at
at 6.3751
6.3751 we find
find in
in
proposition
to the
the Tractatus.
Tractatus. For
according to
proposition according
parenthesis: 'It
'It is
that the
the logical
logical product
product of
of two
two elementary
elementary
is clear
clear that
parenthesis:
nor aa contradiction.
contradiction. The
The
propositions can
can be
be neither
neither aa tautology
tautology nor
propositions
at the
the
colours at
assertion
that aa point
point in
visual field
is two
two different
different colours
in the
the visual
assertion that
field is
is aa contradiction.'
contradiction.' It
follows directly
directly from
from this
this that
that "This
'This
same
time is
It follows
same time
elementary proposition.
proposition.
is
red patch'
patch' cannot
be an
cannot be
a red
an elementary
is a
if
elementary
propositions are
are simple
simple
Indeed,
quite
generally,
if
Indeed, quite generally,
elementary propositions
is very
very difficult
to see
see how what
what WittgenWittgenobservation
it is
difficult to
observation statements,
statements, it
them; for,
for, for
for any
proposistein
here can
can possibly
possibly hold
hold good
good of
of them;
stein says
says here
any proposition which
be called
called aa 'simple
'simple observation
observation statestatewhich could
could reasonably
tion
reasonably be
with
ment', one
one could
could find
that would
would be
be incompatible
incompatible with
find another
another that
ment',
it
be precisely
precisely analogous
to it
it logically.
logically. Therefore,
Therefore, whatever
whatever
and be
it and
analogous to
not simple
observation
elementary
propositions may
be, they
they are
are not
may be,
elementary propositions
simple observation
this accounts
for the
the lack
lack of
of reference
reference to
to observation
observation
statements;
accounts for
statements and this
in
the remarks
remarks concerning
elementary
propositions;
which
would
which
all the
in all
concerning elementary propositions;
Popper's interpretation
were the
the correct
correct one.
one.
surely
be very
very strange
if Popper's
surely be
strange if
interpretation were
that there
there is
is hardly
hardly any
epistemoWith this
this is
is connected
the fact
connected the
fact that
With
any epistemoatus; and
that Wittgenstein
Wittgenstein evidently
evidently did
did not
not think
think
logy
in the
the Tract
and that
Tractatus;
logy in
that epistemology
epistemology had
had any
bearing on
on his
his subject-matter.
find
that
any bearing
subject-matter. We find
put in
its place
place at
at 4.1121:
4.1121: 'Psychology
'Psychology is
is no nearer
nearer
epistemology
in its
epistemology put
related
philosophy than
than is
is any
any other
other natural
natural science.
theory
science. The theory
to philosophy
related to
of
knowledge is
is the
the philosophy
of
psychology.'
of
of knowledge
psychology.'
philosophy
at Monte
to Russell
Russell in
in 1919,
written from
the prison
prison camp
camp at
from the
A letter
letter to
1919, written
;

28
28

AN INI'RODUCTION
INTRODUCTION TO WITTGENSTEIN'S TRACTATUS

Cassino,
throws further
on this.
this. Russell
Russell had
had asked:
asked: '. . . But
But aa
further light
light on
Cassino, throws
Gedanke
is aa Tatsache
what are its constituents and
Tatsache [factj:
Gedanke [thought]
[fact] what are its constituents and
[thought] is
components,
what is
is their
their relation
relation to
to those
those of
of the
the pictured
pictured
and what
components, and
Tatsache?'
To
this
Wittgenstein
replies:
'I
don't
know
what
the
what the
this Wittgenstein replies: 'I don't
TatsacheT
of
a
thought
are
but
I
that
it
must
have
consticonstituents
it
I
know
that
must
have
are
but
consticonstituents of a thought
of language.
language. Again
Again the
the kind
kind
tuents which
which correspond
to the
the words
words of
tuents
correspond to
of
relation of
the constituents
constituents of
the thought
thought and
and of
of the
the pictured
pictured fact
fact
of the
of relation
of the
is
It would
would be
be a
matter of
psychology to
to find
find out.'
out.' That
That
of psychology
is irrelevant.
a matter
irrelevant. It
is
it would
would be
matter of
investigation to
to find
find out,
out,
of empirical
a matter
is to
be a
to say,
empirical investigation
say, it
both
the constituents
thought are
are and
and how they
they are
are
a thought
of a
both what
constituents of
what the
is to
to say,
say, to
to the
the objects
objects
related to
the 'objects'
in facts,
facts, that
that is
related
to the
occurring in
'objects' occurring
designated
by the
the 'names'
language.
in language.
'names' in
designated by
That this
fantastically untrue
untrue is
is shewn
shewn by
by any
any serious
investigais fantastically
serious investigaThat
this is
as
Wittgenstein
in
Philosophical
tion into
into epistemology,
such
in
such
as
made
tion
Wittgenstein
Philosophical
episteinology,
Investigations. But
But it
it is
is fair
fair to
to say
say that
that at
at the
the time
time when he
he wrote
wrote the
the
Investigations.
Tractatus,
Wittgenstein pretended
pretended that
that epistemology
had nothing
nothing to
to
Tractatus, Wittgenstein
epistemology had
do
the foundations
foundations of
logic and
and the
the theory
theory of
of meaning,
meaning, with
with
do with
with the
of logic
which he
he was
was concerned.
concerned. The passage
passage about
about the
the 'elucidation'
'elucidation' of
of
which
names, where
where he
he says
that one
one must
must be
be 'acquainted'
'acquainted' with
with their
their
names,
says that
the lie.
lie.
objects,
gives him
him the
objects, gives
that
positively, the
the grounds
grounds on
on which
which Wittgenstein
Wittgenstein holds
holds that
More positively,
there
elementary propositions
propositions and
and simple
simple names
names shew
shew that
that the
the
there are
are elementary
not the
the role
role of
of simple
simple observation
observation
elementary
propositions have
have not
elementary propositions
5.5562 we find:
find: 'If
know, on purely
purely logical
logical
statements.
'If we know,
statements. At 5.5562
grounds,
that there
there must
must be
be elementary
elementary propositions,
propositions, then
then this
this must
must
grounds, that
be
by anyone
anyone who understands
understands propositions
propositions in
in their
their ununbe known by
that he
he thought
thought we did
this on
on
analysed
form.' But it
it is
is clear
clear that
did know this
analysed form.'
purely
logical
grounds.
That
is
to
say,
the
character
of
inference,
and
That
is
to
the
character
of
purely logical grounds.
say,
inference, and
of
meaning itself,
itself, demands
demands that
that there
there should
should be
be elementary
proposiof meaning
elementary proposithat there
there should
be simple
simple names and
and simple
simple objects
objects is
is
tions.
tions. And that
should be
equally
presented as
3.23: 'The
'The demand for
for the
the possipossias a
a demand at
at 3.23:
equally presented
the simple
simple signs
signs is
is the
definiteness of
sense.' We
bility of
of the
the demand for
for definiteness
of sense.'
bility
shall
be aa sense
sense
shall see
that he
he holds
holds that
that an
an indefinite
indefinite sense
would not
not be
see that
sense would
in the
at all;
at
the Preface
Preface he
he put
put this
this forward,
forward, not
not just
just as
as one
one of
of
all; indeed in
the
the most important
important contentions
of the
the book,
book, but
but as
an epitome
epitome of
of its
its
contentions of
as an
whole
said at
at all,
all, can
can be
be said
said clearly;
clearly;
whole meaning:
meaning: 'Whatever
'Whatever can be said
and what
what we cannot
cannot speak
of,
must
be
silent
on.'
we
must
be
silent
on.'
of,
speak
'.

PROPOSITIONS
ELEMENTARY PROPOSITIONS

29
29

Again, the
the simple
objects are
presented as
as something
something demanded
demanded
are presented
simple objects
Again,
of language
language at
2.021, 2.0211
2.0211: "The
'The objects
objects form
form the
the
by the
the nature
nature of
at 2.021,
by
substance
of
the
world.
That
is
why
they
cannot
be
complex.
If
the
the
world.
of
substance
That is why they cannot be complex. If the
world
had no substance,
substance, then
one proposition's
proposition's making
making sense
sense would
would
then one
world had
another one's
being true.'
true.' But
But this
this is
is not
not the
the case:
case: we
we can
can
depend
one's being
depend on another
devise propositions
propositions at
what they
they mean,
mean, without
without
at will
will and
devise
and know what
ascertaining
one proposition's
proposition's making
making sense
always
If one
facts. lf
sense always
any facts.
ascertaining any
one's being
being true,
true, then
then it
it would
would be
be impossible
impossible
depended
another one's
depended on another
to do
this-impossible,
Wittgenstein puts
puts it,
it, to
to devise
devise aa picture
picture
do this
as Wittgenstein
to
impossible, as
of
world (true
(true or
or false)
false) (2.0212);
he means
means by
by this
this no
no more
more than
than
the world
of the
(2.0212); he
:

devising
proposition.
a proposition.
devising a
should judge,
judge, unnecessary)
unnecessary) confirmaconfirmafurther (though,
We get
get further
(though, II should
an entry
in
the
notebooks
out
of
which
he
composed
the
tion from an
in
the
notebooks
out
which
tion
he
of
entry
composed the
Tractatus,
which he
he remarks
(23.5.15): 'It
'It also
also seems
certain that
that
in which
remarks (23.5,15):
seems certain
Tractatus, in
we do not
the existence
of simple
objects from
from the
the existence
existence of
of
not infer
infer the
existence of
simple objects
particular simple
simple objects,
but rather
rather know them
them-by
as
objects, but
by description,
particular
description, as
it
the end
end product
product of
of analysis,
by means
means of
of aa process
process
were as the
it were-as
analysis, by
them.' The thought
thought of
of this
this entry
entry in
in the
the notebooks
notebooks is
is in
leading
to them.'
in
leading to
fact
the Tractatus
Tractatus text
text at
at 4.221
4.221 : 'It
'It is
obvious that
that in
in
in the
echoed in
is obvious
fact echoed
analysing
propositions we must
must arrive
arrive at
at elementary
elementary propositions
propositions
analysing propositions
of names in
immediate combination.'
combination.' This
view of
of names,
names,
consisting
in immediate
This view
consisting of
and hence
of our
our knowledge
knowledge of
is a
a more truthful
truthful one
one than
than
hence of
of objects,
and
objects, is
is
by the
the remark
remark about
'elucidations'. And in
in the
the notenoteabout 'elucidations'.
is suggested
suggested by
the fact
fact that
that he
he is
is absolutely
absolutely certain
that there
there
books he
he exclaims
at the
exclaims at
certain that
books
are
propositions, atomic
atomic facts,
simple objects,
objects, even
even
are elementary
facts, and simple
elementary propositions,
though
he
cannot
produce
one
single
example.
though he cannot produce one single example.
If
the elementary
propositions of
the Tractatus
not simple
simple
of the
Tractatus are
are not
If the
elementary propositions
it
seems
necessary
to
find
other
observation
to
find
it
some
other
seems
observation statements,
statements,
necessary
account
before we can
grasp the
the doctrines
doctrines of
of the
the book even
even
can grasp
of them before
account of
in
vague outline.
understanding of
of the
the notion
notion of
of an eleeleoutline. For an understanding
in vague
mentary proposition
proposition will
will help
help us
us with
with its
its correlate,
correlate, an atomic
atomic fact,
fact,
mentary
or
situation.
or elementary
elementary situation.
the Tractatus
by saying
that the
the world
world is
is the
the
Wittgenstein
opens the
Tractatus by
saying that
Wittgenstein opens
totality
of
facts
(Tatsachen).
He
quickly
introduces
a
term
a
new
introduces
facts
(Tatsachen).
quickly
totality of
(translated 'atomic
Literally this
this word simply
simply
'atomic fact'):
'Sachverhalt\ Literally
fact'): 'Sachverhalt'.
(translated
i.e. a
'bold
of
thlngs'-i.e.
a
means
it
suggests
'hold
it
'situation'. Etymologically
means 'situation'.
things'
suggests
Etymologically
way
things
stand
in
relation
to
one
another.
\-!ittged5tein
plays
one
another.
in
relation
to
stand
Wittgenstein
plays
things
way
:

30
30

AN INTRODUcriON
WITTGENSTEIN'S TRACTATUS
INTRODUCTION TO WJTI'GENSTEIN'S

heavily
becomes clear
clear that
It rapidly
that by
this suggestion.
on this
rapidly becomes
by aa
suggestion. It
heavily on
'situation'
which objects,
of objects,
an arrangement
means an
he means
he
'situation' he
objects, which
arrangement of
objects, he
says,
a concatenation
is a
concatenation of
of simple
'situation' is
The 'situation'
are 'simple'.
simple
'simple'. The
says, are
objects,
the links
like the
links of
of a
a chain'
chain' (2.03).
another like
in one
one another
which 'hang
'hang in
(2.03).
objects, which
Hence
for
'situation',
for
'atomic fact';
translated 'atomic
was translated
word was
not
the word
Hence the
fact';
'situation', not
carrying
with
it
the
special
suggestion
of
'Sachverhalt',
would
have
of
would
it
the
with
have
'Sachverhalt',
special suggestion
carrying
been
term for
Russell's term
fact' had been
been Russell's
for the
and 'atomic
'atomic fact'
the
been obscure;
obscure; and
true 'atomic'
correlate
a true
'atomic' proposition.
of a
correlate of
proposition.
Writing
in 1919,
Cassino in
Russell from
from Monte Cassino
to Russell
1919, Wittgenstein
Wittgenstein
Writing to
explained
to an elementary
what corresponds
as what
Sachverhalt as
corresponds to
elementary proproexplained Sachverhalt
to the
position
a Tatsache
Tatsache as
as what corresponds
and a
it is
is true,
the
if it
corresponds to
true, and
position if
logical
product
(i.e.
the
conjunction)
of
elementary
propositions
of
the
elementary propositions
conjunction)
logical product (i.e.
1
1
the first
when
is true.
true. This
This explanation
concerns the
first introwhen this
introthis product
explanation concerns
product is
duction
he introduced
2.06 he
'fact'. At 2.06
introduced the
'Tatsache' or
or 'fact'.
the further
further
duction of
of 'Tatsache'
expression
fact': 'We also
the non-existence
also call
call the
a negative
non-existence of
of
negative fact':
expression 'a
atomic
fact.'
a negative
atomic facts
facts a
negative fact.'
That
is aa fact?'
to the
the question
fact?' we must
must answer:
is to
to say,
answer:
That is
say, to
question 'What is
'It
is nothing
nothing but
but the
the existence
of atomic
atomic facts.'
facts.' This
This is
thesis about
about
existence of
is a
a thesis
'It is
of
a
technical
meaning
to
the
word
in
facts;
not
the
assignment
a
of
technical
to
the
the
word
in
not
meaning
assignment
facts;
Wittgenstein's system.
to the
the question:
'Is there
there such
such aa thing
thing as
as
system. And to
question: 'Is
Wittgenstein's
must answer:
answer: 'That
is only
only the
the non-existence
non-existence of
of
aa negative
negative fact?'
'That is
fact?' we must
atomic
the notion
notion of
fact is
is supposed
to be
be explained
explained
of a
a fact
facts.' Thus the
atomic facts.'
supposed to
to us
by means of
that of
atomic fact,
or elementary
elementary situation.
situation.
of that
of an atomic
to
us by
fact, or
that in
turn is
is simply
simply what
what corresponds
corresponds to
to aa true
true elementary
elementary
And that
in turn
exploration of
of this
this notion
notion is
is indispensable.
indispensable.
proposition. Thus an exploration
proposition.
4

11 Some critics
have objected
to the
the translation
translation 'atomic
'atomic fact'
fact' because
because an
an
critics have
objected to
atomic
fact is
is presumably
presumably aa fact,
fact, and it
it is
is awkward to
to speak
of 'non'nonatomic fact
speak of
existent
facts'; but
but Wittgenstein
Wittgenstein does
speak of
of non-existent
non-existent Sachverhalte
Sachverhalte
existent facts';
does speak
(2.06). This
This objection
objection does
does not
not amount to
to much.
much. But
But it
it is
is added
added that
that
(2.06).
Wittgenstein never
never speaks
speaks of
of 'possible
'possible facts'
facts' (Tatsachen).
(Tatsachen). For
For what
what he
he
Wittgenstein
speaks of
of as
as possible,
possible, he
he uses
uses another
another German word,
word, Sachlage,
Sach/age, which
which
speaks
'state of
of affairs'.
affairs'. Prof.
Prof. Stenius
Stenius suggests
suggests that
that this
this is
is the
the real
real nonnonmeans 'state
to Sachverhalt,
Sachverhalt, and
and that
that Wittgenstein
Wittgenstein was
was simply
simply wrong
wrong
atomic parallel
parallel to
atomic
in giving
giving Russell
Russell parallel
parallel accounts
accounts of
of Sachverhalt
Sachverhalt and
and Tatsache.
Tatsache. II find
find
in
suggestions that
that Wittgenstein
Wittgenstein gave
gave an
an incorrect
incorrect account
account of
of the
the Tractatus
Tractatus
suggestions
in
in 1919 quite
quite unacceptable.
unacceptable. In
In German aa 'possible
'possible fact'
fact' (mogliche
(mOgliche Tatsache)
Tatsache)
would be
be something
something that
that is
is perhaps
perhaps aa fact
fact-i.e.
for all
all we know to
to the
the
i.e. for
contrary; this
this irrelevant
irrelevant reference
reference to
to our
our knowledge
knowledge would
would surely
surely be
be what
what
contrary;
ruled
the phrase
phrase out.
out. The difficulties
difficulties we encounter
encounter here
here are
are really
really those
those of
of
ruled the
the
the subject-matter
subject-matter itself,
itself, and
and not
not of
of Wittgenstein's
Wittgenstein's terminology.
terminology. WittgenWittgenstein
stein accepted
accepted the
the translation
translation 'atomic
'atomic fact'.
fact'.

PROPOsniONS
ELEMENTARY PROPOSITIONS

31
31

The following
to be
theses which
which hold
hold for
for elementary
elementary
The
be theses
following appear
appear to
propositions::
propositions
(1)
a class
class of
of mutually
mutually independent
independent propositions.
propositions.
are a
(1) They
They are
(2)
essentially positive.
positive.
are essentially
They are
(2) They
such that
that for
each of
them there
there are
are no
no two
two ways
ways of
of
(3) They
are such
for each
of them
They are
(3)
being
but only
true or
or false,
one.
false, but
being true
only one.
that there
there is
is in
in them
them no
no distinction
distinction between
between an
an
(4) They
They are
are such
such that
(4)
internal
external negation.
an external
internal and an
negation.
names, which
which are
absolutely
(5) They
are concatenations
concatenations of
of names,
are absolutely
They are
(5)
simple signs.
signs.
simple

for the
the reasons
reasons for
holding that
that there
there are
are such
such propositions
propositions
As for
for holding
as
we
at
least
that,
according
to
the
Tractatus,
they are
are
at
as these,
know
the
least
to
these,
that, according
Tractatus, they
purely
logical'.
About
these
purely
logical
grounds
I
will
only
say
About
will
these
I
'purely logical'.
only say
purely logical grounds
here
that the
the main one
this: we can
draw conclusions
conclusions from
a false
false
one is
here that
is this
from a
can draw
This is
is the
fact as
that we can
can invent
invent or
or devise
devise a
a
proposition. This
the same fact
as that
proposition.
what it
it means,
means, without
without first
first discovering
discovering the
the
proposition
proposition and know what
facts which
which hold
hold in
in regard
regard to
to its
its subject-matter.
to understand
understand a
a
facts
subject-matter. For to
to know what
what is
the case
if it
it is
is true.
true.
proposition
is to
is the
case if
proposition is
five theses
theses which
which hold
hold good
good of
of elementary
elementary propositions
propositions can
can
The five
be found at
at or
inferred from
from several
several places
places in
in the
the Tractatus.
or inferred
Tractatus.
be
(1)
Elementary propositions
propositions are
are a
a class
class of
of mutually
mutually independent
independent
(1) Elementary
have already
already seen
seen stated
in aa restricted
restricted form at
at
propositions. This
This we have
stated in
propositions.
6.37
51 : n
is clear
the logical
product of
of two elementary
proposi'It is
clear that
that the
6.3751
elementary proposilogical product
tions
can neither
neither be
be aa tautology
tautology nor
nor a
a contradiction.'
contradiction.' 11 Strictly,
Strictly, it
it may
may
tions can
be
said
that
this
might
be
true
and
the
general mutual
mutual independence
independence
be said that this might be true and the general
need not
not delay
delay over
the suggestion.
suggestion. It
It is
is worth
worth noticing
noticing
false;
but we need
over the
false; but
that the
existence of
of aa great
great class
mutually independent
independent proposiproposithat
the existence
of mutually
class of
in the
the common explanation
explanation of
of truth-functions
truth-functions and
tions
is implicit
tions is
implicit in
truth-functional tautologies.
tautologies. For
For we are
told that
that a complex
proposiare told
truth-functional
complex proposiif its
tionis
the proposition(s)
proposition(s} contained
contained in
in it
it if
its truthtrutha truth-function
tion
of the
is a
truth-function of
value is
uniquely determined
determined by
by the
the truthtruth-value
the proposition(s)
proposition(s)
of the
value of
is uniquely
value
in
it is
is true
true for
for all
all combinations
combinations of
of
in question;
it is
a tautology
if it
is a
tautology if
question; and it
the truth-values
truth-values of
its components.
it is
is a function
function of
of several
several
If it
of its
the
components. If
propositions, it
is impossible
impossible that
that its
its tautological
tautological truth
truth should
should conconit is
propositions,
in its
its truth
all the
the combinations
unless its
its components
components have
sist
for all
sist in
combinations unless
truth for
11 And also
also 4.211
4.211 and 5.134.
5.134.
:

32
32

AN INTRODUCfiON
wnTGENSTEIN'S TRACTATUS
INTRODUCTION TO WITTGENSTEIN'S

some
mutual independence.
take an
an example,
example, the
the syllogism
some mutual
To take
syllogism
independence. To
'If
Europeans are
white and
some Europeans
Europeans are
Mohammedans,
all Europeans
and some
are Mohammedans,
are white
'If all
then
white men are
are Mohammedans'
Mohammedans' is
is aa logical
logical truth
truth in
in which
which
some white
then some
three
propositions
occur;
its
being
a
logical
truth
is
equivalent
to
is
truth
its
a
three propositions occur;
equivalent to
logical
being
of
the
case
in
which
the
first
two
component
the
logical impossibility
two
the
first
the
case
in
which
of
the logical
component
impossibility
propositions
true and
the last
false. A truth-table
truth-table will
will thus
thus not
not
last false.
are true
and the
propositions are
of
the
proposition;
for
if
one
display
the
tautological
character
if
for
one
the
character
of
the
proposition;
tautological
display
p and
q, then
then r',
r', one
has to
to show the
the
constructs
truth-table for
for 'If
one has
*If p
a truth-table
and q,
constructs a
of this
this conditional
conditional for
for the
the case
case
truth-value (namely
(namely falsehood)
truth-value
falsehood) of
and 'q'
'q' are
are both
both true
true but
but V
'r' is
is false;
false; and it
it is
is not
not the
the
where
where 'p'
'p* and
truth-table
but
the
interpretation
of
'p',
'q',
and
'r'
which
shows
which
and
'r'
shows
of
truth-table but the interpretation
*p', 'q*,
case the
the conditional
cannot be
be false.
false.
that in
in the
conditional cannot
the syllogistic
that
syllogistic case
may
Nevertheless aa truth-table
truth-table containing
containing inconsistent
inconsistent rows
rows may
Nevertheless
display
the
tautological
character
of
a
proposition.
e.g.
Aristotle
Aristotle
character
of
a
the
e.g.
proposition,
tautological
display
geometrical argument:
argument:
felt
difficulty about
the following
following form
of geometrical
form of
a difficulty
about the
felt a
scalene; all
all isosceles
isosceles triangles
triangles
'All
are either
isosceles11 or
either isosceles
or scalene;
All triangles
triangles are
all scalene
triangles have
have the
the property
property tfo;
have
property tfo; all
scalene triangles
the property
have the
therefore
triangles have
the property
property <.'
tfo.' We can
that his
his
see that
can see
all triangles
have the
therefore all
not
being
formalizable
in
his
difficulty
consisted
in
the
argument's
in
his
formalizable
in
the
not
consisted
being
argument's
difficulty
syllogistic
calculus.
What
he
needed
was
the
truth-functional
truth-functional
he
needed
was
the
calculus.
syllogistic
calculus.
Let xx be
be aa figure;
then let
let 'p'='x
is aa triangle',
triangle', 'q'=*x
'q'='x
calculus. Let
figure; then
p'='x is
is
is scalene',
has the
the property
property <f>\
tfo'.
'r'='x is
and 's'='x
's'='x has
is isosceles',
scalene', and
isosceles*, 'r'='x
Then
the fact
fact that
that (p::>q
vr. qDs.
q::>s. rDs)D(pDs)
r::>s)::>(p::>s) 21 is
is aa tautology
tautology
Then the
(pDqvr.
of the
the truth-functional
truth-functional calculus
calculus would
would have
have supplied
supplied the
the missing
missing
of
all
formalization.
being aa tautology
tautology means being
being true
true for
for all
formalization. Now being
combinations
of
the
possible
truth-values
of
the
elements
(means
the
truth-values
of
the
elements
of
combinations
(means
possible
logicians say,
tautology of
of the
the given
given elements),
elements), and
and
being, as
as logicians
a tautology
being,
say, a
the truth-table
forth
these
combinations
will
include
a
forth
these
truth-table setting
will
include
combinations
a
the
row
setting
in
both 'q'
and 'r'
are true,
true, and
another in
which both
both *q'
'q' and
and
*r' are
which both
in which
and another
in which
*q' and
'r'
while 'p'
'p' is
But if
if 'q'='x
is
isosceles',
and
'r'='x
is true.
true. But
false while
are false
r' are
x
is
and
*r*='x
isosceles',
'q'=
is
these combinations
combinations will
will be
be impossible.
impossible.
is scalene',
scalene*, these
that aa complex
complex proposition
proposition can
can be
be
We may
this that
conclude from this
may conclude
to
be
truth
that
it
is
a
tautology
of
its
shewn
to
be
a
logical
truth
from
the
fact
that
it
the
fact
is
a
shewn
logical
tautology of its
component
propositions, even
though some of
of these
these are
are mutually
mutually
even though
component propositions,
4

<f>;

<f>;

i.e. possessed
possessed of
of at
least two equal
equal sides.
at least
sides.
In
English 'p
implies that
q or
r, and q
q implies
implies that
that s,
s, and
and rr implies
implies
In English
that q
or r,
'p implies
that s,
all implies
that p
p implies
implies that
that s'.
s'.
that
s, all
implies that
1 i.e.

PROPOsmONS
ELEMENTARY PROPOSITIONS

33
33

inconsistent;
and from
from the
example, that
that it
it cannot
cannot be
be
the syllogistic
inconsistent; and
syllogistic example,
shewn
to
be
a
logical
truth
from
the
fact
that
it
is
not
a
tautology
shewn not
to
a
not
be logical truth from the fact that it is not a tautology
of
its component
propositions. 11 Nevertheless,
Nevertheless, the
the type
type of
of tautology
tautology
of its
component propositions.
in
of the
the combinations
combinations of
truth-possibilities are
are inconinconin which
which some
some of
of truth-possibilities
degenerate. The
The fact
fact that
that by
by our
our calculus
calculus
sistent must
must be
be regarded
regarded as
sistent
as degenerate.
the
proposition turns
'true' if
assign an
inconsistent
the complex
if we assign
turns out
out 'true'
an inconsistent
complex proposition
set of
truth-values to
to its
its components
components does
does not
not help
help to
to demonstrate
demonstrate its
its
set
of truth-values
tautological
character;
we
might
rather
strike
out
inconsistent
rows
rather
strike
out
inconsistent
rows
tautological character;
might
of
truth-table as
not counting.
But if
if all
all cases
cases were
were like
like this,
this, with
with
the truth-table
of the
as not
counting. But
one now another
row of
truth-tables inconsistent,
inconsistent, then
then the
the
now one
another row
of our
our truth-tables
formal truth
of the
the truth-functional
truth-functional tautology
tautology would
would vanish.
vanish.
truth of
formal
Thus either
the theory
theory of
of truth-functions
truth-functions has
has no
no application,
application, or
or
either the
there is
is aa class
class of
of mutually
mutually independent
propositions.
But
apply
there
But
we
independent propositions.
apply
the
calculus of
of truth-functions
truth-functions every
time we reason
reason e.g.
e.g. 'If
p, then
then
the calculus
'If p,
every time
q,
but not
not q,
therefore not
not p
p': aa thing
thing which
which we constantly
constantly do
do in
in the
the
q, but
q, therefore
most
diverse contexts
contexts of
of ordinary
ordinary life.
life. Here
Here is
is the
the beginning
beginning of
of aa
most diverse
justification for
for Wittgenstein's
Wittgenstein's saying:
saying: 'We know on
on purely
purely logical
logical
justification
grounds
that there
there must
must be
be elementary
elementary propositions*
propositions' and
and 'everyone
'everyone
grounds that
this who understands
understands propositions
propositions in
in their
their unanalysed
unanalysed form*.
form'.
knows this
At any
rate everyone
manifests an
an implicit
implicit knowledge
knowledge that
that there
there is
is
any rate
everyone manifests
aa (very
large)
class
of
mutually
independent
propositions.
class
of
(very large)
mutually independent propositions.
(2)
Elementary propositions
propositions are
are essentially
essentially positive.
positive. This
This we can
can
(2) Elementary
infer
'If the
proposition is
is true,
true, the
the atomic
atomic
infer from 4.25:
the elementary
4.25: 'If
elementary proposition
fact
it is
false the
the atomic
fact does
does not
not exist*
exist' together
together with
with
fact exists;
if it
is false
atomic fact
exists; if
2.06: 'We also
the existence
existence of
of atomic
atomic facts
facts aa positive,
positive, and their
their
2.06:
call the
also call
non-existence
negative fact*
fact': the
the elementary
proposition therefore
therefore
a negative
non-existence a
elementary proposition
is
to express
express something
positive, namely
namely the
the holding
holding of
of an
an
as to
is such
such as
something positive,
elementary
This, of
of course,
course, does
does not
not mean that
that the
the
situation. This,
elementary situation.
occurrence
of the
the sign
sign of
of negation
negation in
in aa prepositional
prepositional sign
sign would
occurrence of
prove that
that it
it did
not state
an elementary
elementary proposition.
proposition. Wittgenstein
Wittgenstein
did not
state an
prove
warns us
at 4.0621
negation in
in a proposition
proposition is
is
4.0621 : 'The
warns
us at
'The occurrence
of negation
occurrence of
1

1 According to
Wittgenstein, this
this logical
truth can
as aa
can be exhibited
exhibited as
According to Wittgenstein,
logical truth
tautology
of aa set
set of
propositions, though
though not
not as
as aa tautology
tautology of
of
of elementary
tautology of
elementary propositions,
in it;
it; see
see Chapter
Chapter 11.
Von Wright
Wright has
has
the propositions
propositions explicitly
11. Von
the
occurring in
explicitly occurring
shown aa simple
way of
exhibiting it
it as
as aa tautology
tautology if
if we assume
assume men to
to
of exhibiting
shown
simple way
any given
given finite
number; see
see Logical
Logical Studies
Studies (Routledge
(Routledge &
& Kegan
Kegan
have any
have
finite number;
Chapter I; it is exhibited
exhibited as
as aatautology
tautology of
of singular
singular propositions
propositions
Paul, 1957),
1957), Chapterl;itis
Paul,
about men.
men.
about

34
34

AN INTRODUCTION
INTR.ODUcnON TO WITTGENSTEIN'S
WITI'OENSTEIN'S TRACTATUS
TRACI'ATUS

not enough
enough to
to characterize
its sense'
sense'-i.e.
to characterize
characterize it
it as
as negative
negative
i.e. to
not
characterize its
rather than
positive in
in sense;
as stating,
stating, if
true, a
a negative
negative fact.
fact.
if true,
rather
than positive
sense; as
Russell
in
his
letters
to
Wittgenstein
after
receiving
the
text of
of
Russell in his letters to Wittgenstein after receiving the text
the
asked whether
whether the
the negations
negations of
elementary proproof elementary
the Tractatus
once asked
Tractatus once
positions
were
themselves
elementary
propositions,
and
received
the
and
received
the
were
themselves
elementary propositions,
positions
indignant-sounding
rejoinder:
'Of
course
not.'
not.*
'Of
course
indignant-sounding rejoinder:
{3)
Elementary propositions
propositions are
are such
such that
that for
for them
there are
are no
no
them there
(3) Elementary

being true
false but
but only
only one.
one.
two
ways of
two ways
true or
or false
of being
This is
is clearest
clearest for
falsehood. By
By 4.25
4.25 the
the falsehood
falsehood of
elemenof an elemenThis
for falsehood.
is simply
the non-existence
non-existence of
a single
atomic
of a
is
single atomic
simply the

tary proposition
proposition
tary

situation.
situation.
Wittgenstein says:
complex can
can be
be given
only by
by its
its
At 3.24
*A complex
3.24 Wittgenstein
given only
says: 'A
description,
which
will
hold
or
not
hold.
proposition
in
which
in
The
which
or
not
which
will
hold
hold.
proposition
description,
there is
is mention
mention of
a complex
will not
not be
be meaningless
meaningless when the
the
there
of a
complex will
complex
does not
not exist,
exist, but
but merely
merely false.
false. That
That a prepositional
prepositional
complex does
element designates
designates aa complex
complex can
can be
seen from an indefiniteness
in
indefiniteness in
element
be seen
the propositions
propositions in
in which
which it
occurs.' One kind
kind of
of indefiniteness
in a
a
indefiniteness in
the
it occurs.*
proposition might
might be
be that
that there
there was
was more than
than one
one way
way of
of its
its being
being
proposition
false:
might exist,
but what was said
said of
it might
might not
not
of it
false: the
the complex
exist, but
complex might
hold;
or
the
complex
might
not
exist.
or
the
not
exist.
hold;
complex might
We could
imagine aa proposition
proposition in
in which
which there
there was mention
mention of
of
could imagine
aa complex,
which
had
only
one
way
of
being
true,
though
ways
two
which
one
of
had
true,
being
ways
only
though
way
complex,
of being
being false.
Let us
us suppose
proposition *^a'
't/Ja' such
such that
that a
is a
a
*a' is
of
a proposition
false. Let
suppose a
simple
being such
there was
was only
only one way
way for
for tP to
to hold
hold
that there
such that
simple name,
name, tf, being
of anything.
us suppose
A. which exists
exists if
bRc.
if bRc.
let us
complex A,
anything. Then let
suppose a complex
Then 'cpA'
will be
be false
A exists
but ^
t/J does
does not
not hold
hold of
of it,
it, and also
also
if A
exists but
false if
'^A' will
if
not bRc,
so
there
are
ways
for
it
to
false;
but
only
way
if not
it
to
be
so
two
but
one
there
are
for
false;
way
bRc,
only
ways
for
it to
to be true,
true, namely
namely that
bRc, so
that A exists,
exists, and tPA.
for it
that bRc,
so that
</>A.
'We
know,' Wittgenstein
Wittgenstein goes
on, *that
'that not
not everything
everything is
is settled
settled
*We know,'
goes on,
by such aa proposition'
proposition'-that
to say,
say, by
by aa proposition
proposition in
in which
that is
is to
by
there is
complex. In
In the
the example
example that
that II have
have imagined,
imagined,
there
is mention of
of a
a complex.
'everything would be
be settled'
by the
the truth
truth of
of the
the proposition,
proposition, but
but
settled' by
'everything
not everything
by its
its falsehood.
principally had in
in mind was
falsehood. What he principally
everything by
the
the sort
proposition where there
there is
variety of ways
ways for
for the
the
sort of proposition
is a variety
proposition
to
true.
(This
is
in
fact
the
ordinary
sort
of
to
be
true.
is
in
the
most
sort
of
fact
proposition
(This
ordinary
proposition,
of
alone
one
can
give
examples;
to
illustrate
which
of
alone
to
illustrate
can
proposition,
give examples;
other sorts
of proposition
proposition one has
has to
to use
use dummy names and dummy
sorts of
<f>

<f>

35
35

PROPOSIDONS
ELEMENTARY PROPOSITIONS

predicates
and stipulate
their characters.)
Take for
for example
'My
stipulate their
predicates and
characters.) Take
example 'My
watch
is
lying
on
the
table',
which
Wittgenstein
considers
in
watch is lying
the table', which Wittgenstein considers in
his notebooks.
are hundreds
hundreds of
of different,
different, more
more minutely
minutely
his
notebooks. There
There are
statable,
states of
of affairs
affairs which
which would
would make
make that
that
and incompatible
statable, and
incompatible states
proposition
true.
The
elementary
proposition
will
have
only
one
true.
will
have
elementary proposition
proposition
only one
state
that will
will make it
it true:
true: 'everything'
'everything' will
will be
be settled
settled by
by
of affairs
affairs that
state of
it-i.e.
nothing be
be left
left open.
open.
i.e. nothing
it
(4)
Elementary propositions
propositions are
are such
such that
there is
is in
in them
no distincdistincthat there
them no
(4) Elementary
external negation.
negation. This
is in
in part
part the
the
tion
between an
internal and
an internal
tion between
and an
an external
This is
same
point as
as has
has already
already been
been made in
in connection
connection with
with definiteness
definiteness
same point
of
say: 'The
France is
is bald'
bald' has
has as
a negation
negation
can say
'The King
of sense.
sense. We can
of France
as a
King of
'The
of
France
is
not
bald';
I
distinguish
this
internal
negation
of
France
is
I
'The King
not
this
internal
bald'; distinguish
King
negation
of
the proposition
proposition from
the external
negation: 'Not:
'Not: The
The King
King of
of
of the
external negation:
from the
France is
is bald'
bald'-we
have already
already seen
seen how these
these differ
in sense.
sense. To
we have
France
differ in
is wise*
wise' has
has an
an internal
internal
take another
case: the
the proposition
'Everyone is
another case:
take
proposition 'Everyone
negation, 'Everyone
is not
wise' (or:
(or: 'is
'is unwise'),
unwise'), and
and another,
another,
not wise'
'Everyone is
negation,
external,
negation: 'Not
is wise.'
wise.' Aristotle
Aristotle was
was rather
rather
'Not everyone
external, negation:
everyone is
puzzled
by
this
difference
between
'Socrates
is
wise'
and
'Everyone
this
and
difference
between
'Socrates
is
wise'
'Everyone
puzzled by
is
'Socrates is
is wise'
wise' is
is untrue,
untrue, then
then 'Socrates
'Socrates is
is not
not wise'
wise' is
if 'Socrates
is wise':
wise' if
is
is wise'
untrue, still
it does
does not
not follow
follow that
that
true; but
if 'Everyone
still it
but if
wise' is
is untrue,
'Everyone is
true;
'Everyone
is not
not wise',
wise', or
or 'is
unwise', is
is true;
true; the
the contradictory
contradictory is
is the
the
'is unwise',
'Everyone is
not everyone
everyone is
is wise.
wise.
different proposition
proposition that
that not
different
It
is true
that we sometimes
use 'Everyone
'Everyone is
is not
not ... ' in
in the
the sense
sense
It is
true that
sometimes use
'Not everyone
everyone is
hence it
is convenient
convenient to
to use
use the
the term
term 'un'unit is
is .. .'; and
and hence
'Not
1
wise' to
to make our
point. But,
to
adapt
what
Frege
says,t
it
should
it
what
should
to
wise'
our point.
Frege says,
But,
adapt
not be
be supposed
from this
this attachment
attachment of
of the
the negation
negation to
to 'wise'
'wise' that
that
not
supposed from
but
'what
is negated
is
the
content,
not
of
the
whole
sentence,
but
just
of
the
whole
of
is
the
not
of
'what is
sentence,
just
content,
negated
this
is incorrect
to say:
the negative
negative syllable
is
"Because the
... It
It is
incorrect to
this part
syllable is
say: "Because
part.....
combined with
with part
part of
of the
the sense
of the
the whole
whole sentence
sentence
sense of
the sentence,
combined
sentence, the
is
not negated."
the contrary;
it is
is by
by combining
combining the
the negative
negative
is not
contrary; it
negated." On the
... the
syllable
with aa part
part of
the sentence
that we do negate
negate ...
the whole
of the
sentence that
syllable with
sentence.'
is to
to say,
the sentence
sentence 'Everyone
wise' is
is certainly
certainly
is wise'
That is
sentence.' That
'Everyone is
say, the
made out
to be
be untrue
untrue by
by someone
says 'Everyone
'Everyone is
is unwise';
unwise';
someone who says
out to
but
this is
is still
still aa different
different negation
negation from
from that
that expressed
expressed by
by 'Not
but this
everyone
is wise'.
wise'.
everyone is
:

.'

.*

11 Negation, Philosophical Writings of Gottlob


Frege, ed.
ed. Geach
Negation, Philosophical Writings of Gottlob Frege,
Black (Blackwell,
(Blackwell, 1952),
131.
Black
p. 131.
1952), p.

&

36
36

WfiTGENnEIN'S TRACTATUS
TRACfATUS
AN INTRODUCTION TO WITTGENSTEIN'S

II choose
'internal' and
and 'external'
'external' merely
merely as
as convenient
convenient labels
labels to
to
choose 'internal
attach
these negations.
negations. An elementary
proposition will
will be
be one
one for
for
to these
attach to
elementary proposition
no such
between an
internal and
and an
an external
external
which
an internal
such difference,
which no
difference, between
of
the
elementary
proposition
negation,
can
be
found.
The
falsehood
the
elementary proposition
negation, can be found. The falsehood of
a single
single atomic
atomic
never consists
in anything
but the
the non-existence
non-existence of
of a
never
consists in
anything but
fact.
fact.
(5)
Elementary propositions are concatenations of names. This
(5) Elementary propositions are concatenations of names. This we
4.22: "The
'The elementary
elementary proposition
proposition consists
consists
find stated
stated explicitly
at 4.22:
find
explicitly at
of
is aa connection,
connection, aa concatenation,
concatenation, of
of names.'
names.' Names are
are
It is
of names.
names. It
simple signs;
this is
not merely
merely asserted,
asserted, but
but argued
argued for,
for, in
in the
the
is not
signs; this
simple
Tractatus,
at 3.3411:
could be
be said
that the
the real
real name is
is what all
all
it could
3.341 1 'So
said that
'So it
Tractatus, at
symbols
that
designate
the
object
have
in
Then
could
we
the
in
common.
Then
could
object have
symbols that designate
steps, that
that no
no kind
kind of
of composition
was
get
the result,
result, in
a number
number of
of steps,
in a
composition was
get the
is to
to say,
say, any
will
of
course
have
essential
to the
the name.*
name.' That
will
That is
name
of
course
have
essential to
any
aa certain
certain physical
physical complexity,
but you
you could
could replace
replace it
it by
by another,
another,
complexity, but
with
different complexity,
complexity, without
without detriment
detriment to
to its
its doing
the job
job of
of
with a
a different
doing the
naming the
the object.
object. Whereas
Whereas you
you could
could not,
not, for
for example,
example, adequately
adequately
naming
symbolize
a relation
relation without
without using
using aa symbol
symbol whose
whose complexity
complexity
symbolize a
to shew
shew the
the difference
between, say,
say, aRb and bRa.
enabled
you to
bRa.
difference between,
enabled you
So
what is
is argued
argued about
would seem
to be
be perfectly
perfectly
about names would
seem to
far what
So far
to ordinary
ordinary names,
names, such
such as
which are
are not
not
applicable
as 'Wittgenstein',
'Wittgenstein', which
applicable to
names
sense of
the Tractatus.
'Wittgenstein' is
is what
what he
he calls
calls aa
the sense
of the
Tractatus. 'Wittgenstein'
in the
names in
at 3.24:
3.24: 'The
'The contraction
contraction of
of the
the symbol
of aa complex
complex
'simple
symbol' at
symbol of
'simple symbol'
of aa definition.'
definition.'
into aa simple
be expressed
expressed by
by means
means of
can be
into
symbol can
simple symbol
This
will be
basically the
the same thing
thing as
as the
the 'description'
'description'
be basically
This 'definition'
'definition' will
the complex.
complex.
which
of as
as 'giving'
which he
he speaks
speaks of
'giving' the
the name 'Wittgenstein'
'Wittgenstein' exexthe physical
physical complexity
Now the
of the
complexity of
the
presses nothing,
nothing, as
as can
can be
be shewn
in the
the way
way suggested.
suggested. But
But if
if the
shewn in
presses
'real' symbol,
the object
called Wittgenstein,
Wittgenstein, has
has
'real'
name, or
or 'real'
'real* name,
of the
symbol, of
object called
something
about
it
that
implies
complexity,
then
the
can
be
it
then
the
about
that
name
can
be
something
implies complexity,
not to
to be
be aa logically
simple
sign,
even
though
it
appears
as
a
said
it
said not
even
as
a
logically simple sign,
though
appears
in the
simple
the sentence.
as it
it is
is put
put at
at 3.262:
3.262: 'What does
does not
not
sentence. For,
For, as
sign in
simple sign
get
in the
the signs
is shewn by
by their
their application.
Their
expressed in
signs is
get expressed
application. Their
the appliappliapplication
declares what the
fail to
to bring
bring out.'
the signs
out.' And the
signs fail
application declares
of the
the name 'Wittgenstein'
brings out
out that
that aa great
great many
many
cation
cation of
'Wittgenstein' brings
a great
things,
variety of
of things,
things, have
have to
to be
be true
true in
order for
for there
there
in order
great variety
things, and a
to
be true
true statements
the name occurs.
occurs. The same would be
be
statements in
in which the
to be
1

37
37

PROPOSITIONS
ELEMENTARY PROPOSTHONS

true of
sign which
which had
had the
the same
same function
function as
as this
this sign
sign 'Wittgen'Wittgentrue
of any
any sign
what is
is common to
to all
all the
the symbols
symbols with
with this
this function
function is
is
stein'. But
But what
what is
to the
the symbol,
symbol, as
as has
has been
been said
said at
3. 341 : 'In
'In general
general
is essential
essential to
at 3.341
about aa symbol
what all
all symbols
symbols capable
capable of
of fulfulwhat is
is essential
essential about
is what
symbol is
in
common.'
Therefore
a
certain
filling
the
same
function
have
the
same
function
have
in
common.' Therefore a certain
filling
in the
the application,
application, is
essential to
to
complexity,
which only
only comes
comes out
out in
is essential
complexity, which
the name 'Wittgenstein*.
'Wittgenstein'.
the
Thus the
the true
true names
names of
the Tractatus
will be,
be, not
not physically
physically
of the
Tractatus will
simple
but ones
lacking the
the sort
of complexity
complexity that
that the
the name
name
ones lacking
sort of
signs, but
simple signs,
has; and it
it is
is clear
that elementary
elementary propositions
propositions can
can
'Wittgenstein'
clear that
'Wittgenstein' has;
contain
only such
such names,
names, since
since if
if they
they contained
contained names
names like
like 'Witt'Wittcontain only
genstein'
could not
not have
only one
way of
of being
being true
true or
or false.
false.
have only
one way
they could
genstein' they
of
names;
must
discuss
So much here
here for
the simplicity
for the
of
we
must
now
discuss
names;
simplicity
'concatenation'.
metaphor of
a chain
chain should
suggest an
an essential
essential
'concatenation'. The metaphor
of a
should suggest
of elementary
propositions. As we have
have seen,
seen, what
what is
is exexfeature
feature of
elementary propositions.
proposition aa concatenation
concatenation is
is
pressed
by calling
an elementary
calling an
elementary proposition
pressed by
expressed
for elementary
('atomic facts')
facts') at
at 2.03:
2.03: 'In
'In the
the
situations ('atomic
expressed for
elementary situations
atomic
fact the
the objects
objects hang
hang in
in one
one another
like the
the links
links of
of aa chain.*
chain."
atomic fact
another like
In aa literal
literal chain
consisting of
In
chain consisting
of links
links
stein'.

A-B-C-D
A B C D
there
difference between
between A's
A's being
being linked
linked to
to the
the B end
end of
of the
the
is no difference
there is
D's being
being linked
linked to
to the
the C end
end of
the chain
chain
chain
B C D, and D's
of the
chain B-C-D,
A-B-C.
think this
the analogy
analogy should
be taken
taken
element in
in the
should be
this element
A B C. II think
in the
the elementary
proposition there
there must be
be nothing
nothing
seriously;
elementary proposition
seriously; in
corresponding
to bracketing.
bracketing.
corresponding to
Let us
us look
at what Wittgenstein
Wittgenstein says
about bracketing
bracketing at
at
look at
Let
says about
5.461-5.4611:
'The apparently
unimportant
fact
that
logical
pseudofact
that
5.461-5.461 1 'The
logical pseudoapparently unimportant
then . . ..)}--as
opposed to
to
relations like
v (or)
as opposed
like v
D (if
relations
(if . . . , then
(or) and ::>
real relations
relations-require
brackets is
is significant.'
has
This remark has
real
significant.' This
require brackets
on the
the ground
that aa bracketless
bracketless notation,
notation, such
such as
as
been criticized
criticized on
been
ground that
that invented
invented by
by l::ukasiewicz,
possible. In
In this
this notation
notation we write
write
is possible.
that
Lukasiewicz, is
:

Cpq
Cpq
instead
instead of

.,

38
38

WTITGENSTEIN'S TRACTATUS
1RACTATUS
AN INTRODUCTION TO WITTGENSTEIN'S

and
then the
between
and then
the difference
difference between
(p::Jq):n

and
and

will be
be expressed
expressed by
by the
the difference
difference between
between

will

C(Cpq)r
C(Cpq)r
and
and
Cp(Cqr)
Cp(Cqr)
where, though
have put
put brackets
brackets in,
in, these
these are
are only
only an
an aid
aid to
to readreadwhere,
though II have
and
are
not
needed
to
resolve
any
ambiguity.
this
is of
of
ing
Now
this
is
resolve
and
are
not
needed
to
ing
any ambiguity.
course
it
is
true
because
the
collecting
done
by
brackets
is
done
the
brackets
is
done
done
course true;
it
is
true
because
by
true;
collecting
by the
the rule
rule for
reading an
expression containing
containing 'C'.
'C'. Some method
method of
of
an expression
for reading
by
collecting is
required, and
that is
the essential
essential point.
point. 'Logical
operais the
is required,
and that
'Logical operacollecting
tion
punctuation marks,'
Wittgenstein says,
Lukasietion signs
are punctuation
marks,' Wittgenstein
says, and Lukasiesigns are
wicz's notation,
notation, far
far from
refuting Wittgenstein's
Wittgenstein's remarks
remarks about
about
wicz's
from refuting
out
what
Wittgenstein
meant,
for
in
it
the
collecting
brackets,
brings
in
it
for
the
brackets, brings out what Wittgenstein meant,
collecting
or
normally done
by brackets
brackets is
is done
done by
by the
the rule
rule for
for
or punctuating
done by
punctuating normally
if
the
chain
metaphor
is
to
reading
the
logical
operation-signs.
if
the
chain
is
the
Now
metaphor to
reading
logical operation-signs.
be taken
taken seriously,
this
differentiation
of
meanings
by
punctuation
be
this
differentiation
of
by
punctuation
meanings
seriously,
or
collection must
must somehow be
be inapplicable
inapplicable to
to the
the elementary
elementary
or collection
proposition.
proposition.
or 'punctuation'
can occur
occur in
in proposiproposicall 'collection'
'collection' or
What II call
'punctuation' can
tions
other than
than those
those (overtly)
(overtly) containing
containing truth-functional
truth-functional concontions other
nectives.
Consider the
loves
girl.'
may
some
We
nectives. Consider
the sentence
sentence 'Every
man
loves
girl.*
may
'Every
regard
this
as
splitting
up
into
three
'expressions':
'Every
man',
this
as
into
three
regard
'expressions': 'Every man',
splitting up
girl'. It
useful here
here to
to adopt
adopt the
the metaphor
metaphor of
of
'loves'
'loves' and 'some
It is
is useful
'some girl'.
structural
formulae in
chemistry for
for the
the structure
structure of
of sentences.
sentences. An
structural formulae
in chemistry
expression
will then
then sometimes
correspond to
to what chemists
chemists call
call aa
sometimes correspond
expression will
'radical':
that is,
of atoms
atoms which
which cannot
cannot by
by itself
itself forma
form a
'radical': that
a group
is, a
group of
stable molecule,
stable
molecule, but
but which
which can
in chemical
chemical transformations
transformations pass
pass
can in
of its
its own
from one
one compound
compound into
into another
another without
without the
the break-up
break-up of
inner connection
the fact
fact that
that what compound
compound you
you
inner
connection of
of atoms.
atoms. And the
what
radicals
you
have,
but
also
have depends,
depends, not
not only
but
on
what
radicals
also
on
how
only
you have,

PROPOSmONS
ELEMENTARY PROPOSITIONS

39
39

they are
are
they

fitted
together, would
be aa parallel
parallel to
to such
such a
a difference
difference as
as
fitted together,
would be
or
that
loves Plato'
and Tlato
'Plato loves
loves Socrates,
between 'Socrates
that between
'Socrates loves
Plato' and
Socrates', or
again 'Every
'Every man loves
girl' and
and 'Some
'Some girl
girl loves
loves every
man'.
loves some
some girl'
again
every man'.
of
'Every
There
however,
a
difference
between
two
possible
senses
There is,
a
difference
two
between
senses
of
is, however,
'Every
possible
man loves
which could
could be
be brought
brought out
out by
by aa difference
difference of
of
loves some girl'
girl' which
bracketing.
In
bracketing. In
girl)
(Every
man) (loves
some girl)
(Every man)
(loves some

we could
take the
the bracketing
bracketing as
as indicating
indicating that
that 'every
'every man'
man' is
is
could take
supplied
as
an
argument
in
as
an
in
supplied
argument
-loves
girl
loves some
some girl
and the
the sense
will be
be that
that the
the predicate
predicate 'loves
'loves some
some girl'
girl' is
is true
true of
of
sense will
every
whereas in
in
man; whereas
every man;
(Every
(Every

man loves)
loves) (some
girl)
(some girl)

is supplied
supplied as
an argument
argument in
'some
girl' is
in
as an
'some girl'
Every
Every

lovesman loves

and
the sense
will be
that of
of some
some girl
girl it
it is
is true
true that
that every
loves
sense will
be that
and the
every man loves
is of
of course
course the
the one
one usually
usually brought
brought out
out by
by the
the
her.
difference is
her. The difference
11
order
This
difference
is
one
that
cannot
be
illustrated
is
that
one
of quantifiers.
difference
cannot
be
illustrated
This
order of
quantifiers.
it is
a sort
sort of
of possibility
possibility of
difference
by our
of difference
chemical analogy.
is a
our chemical
analogy. And it
by
that has
be absent
the elementary
proposition.
to be
that
has to
absent from
from the
elementary proposition.
Contrast
with this
this case
loves Plato'.
Plato'. We can
can indeed
indeed
case 'Socrates
'Socrates loves
Contrast with
introduce
two different
different bracketings:
bracketings: '(Socrates)
'(Socrates) (loves
(loves Plato)',
Plato)', which
which
introduce two
of Socrates
that he
he loves
Plato, and '(Socrates
'(Socrates loves)
loves) (Plato)
(Plato)',
asserts of
loves Plato,
Socrates that
asserts
which asserts
asserts of
of Plato
Plato that
that Socrates
loves him.
him. But
But in
in this
this case
case
which
Socrates loves
that
there
was
Wittgenstein,
following
Frege,
would
say
that
there
was
absolutely
would
absolutely
say
Wittgenstein, following Frege,
no difference
difference of
of sense.
sense.
have an
plausible to
to say
say that
that the
the reason
reason why
why we have
seems plausible
Now itit seems
ambiguity
resoluble by
brackets in
in the
the one
one case
case but
but not
not in
in the
the other
other
ambiguity resoluble
by brackets
1

11

See
pp. 138-41.
138-41.
See Chapter
11, pp.
Chapter 11,

40
40

WI1TGF.NSTEIN'S TRACfATUS
AN INTRODUCTION TO WITTGENSTEIN'S
TRACTATUS

is
that, at
at any
rate as
as compared
with 'Every
'Every man'
man' and
girl', the
the
is that,
and 'some
'some girl',
any rate
compared with
expressions
'Socrates'
and
'Plato'
are
simple.
This
sort
of
considera'Plato'
This
of
'Socrates*
and
sort
are
consideraexpressions
simple.
tion may
lead us
us to
to divine
behind our
propositions aa kind
kind of
of propopropotion
divine behind
our propositions
may lead
radicals will
will apply
perfectly;
sition
to which
the chemical
analogy of
sition to
of radicals
which the
chemical analogy
apply perfectly;
unlike aa proposition
proposition in
in which,
though you
you have
have the
the same
same expressions
unlike
which, though
expressions
combined
in the
the same
way, it
it makes
makes aa difference
difference by
by what
what stages
you
combined in
same way,
stages you
conceive
the proposition
proposition as
built up.
up. Such
Such aa proposition
proposition will
will be
be aa
as built
conceive the
concatenation
signs, which
which have
have indeed
indeed an
an acciacciof really
concatenation of
really simple
simple signs,
dental
but one
one irrelevant
irrelevant to
to their
their function
function as
signs.
as signs.
dental complexity,
complexity, but

2
2

THE THEORY OF DESCRIPTIONS


Wittgenstein's 'picture
'picture theory'
of the
the proposition
proposition
theory' of
Wittgenstein's

is much influenced
inffuenced

is

by Russell's
of Descriptions.
According to
to that
that theory,
theory,
Russell's Theory
by
Theory of
Descriptions. According
definite
such as
as 'the
'the author
of Waverley',
Waverley', and
and 'the
'the
definite descriptions
author of
descriptions such
present King
France', and
and again
again indefinite
indefinite descriptions
descriptions like
like *a
'a
of France',
present
King of
as this
this phrase
phrase occurs
met aa man',
man', or
or 'A
'A man has
has been
been
man' as
in 'I
occurs in
'I met
here', are
are not
not the
the designating
designating expressions
they at
at first
first seem
seem to
to be.
be.
here',
expressions they
first sight,
readily assumes
assumes that,
that, if
if the
the sentences
sentences in
which
At first
in which
sight, one readily
are true,
description stands
stands for
for an
an object,
object,
descriptions
occur are
each description
true, each
descriptions occur
and the
the rest
rest of
the sentence
holds of
of the
the object.
object. To
of the
sentence expresses
expresses what holds
say
compare descriptions
with (real)
(real) proper
proper names;
names; but
but at
at
this is
is to
to compare
say this
descriptions with
the
time the
the way
way in
in which descriptions
descriptions stand
stand for
for objects
objects must
the same time
be different
the way
way in
in which
which proper
proper names stand
for objects;
objects;
different from the
be
stand for
the consideration
consideration of
of this
this leads
leads to
to a
a breakdown of
of the
the idea
idea
indeed, the
indeed,
that descriptions
descriptions 'stand-for'
at all.
all.
that
'stand-for' at
This
is most obvious
obvious for
descriptions; but
but is
is also
also true
true
This is
for indefinite
indefinite descriptions;
of
proper name will
will stand
stand for
its object
object
for its
definite descriptions.
of definite
descriptions. A proper
that object
is called
by that
that name
name; but
but aa description,
if it
it
because
called by
because that
description, if
object is
stands
its object,
so because
because the
the object
object satisfies
it, which is
is
satisfies it,
for its
stands for
object, does so
relation.
clearly
different relation.
clearly quite
quite a different
Further:
proper name (i.e.
(i.e. what has
has the
the superficial
superficial grammar
grammar
If a
a proper
Further If
of
proper name)
name) has
in fact
fact no bearer
bearer in
in the
the use
use that
that is
is being
being made'
made
a proper
has in
of a
of it,
it, then
then nothing
nothing has
has been
been ascribed
ascribed to
to any
any object
object by
by sentences
sentences in
in
of
which it
it occurs
occurs; and so
nothing has
has been
been said,
said, truly
truly or
or falsely.
falsely. But
so nothing
which
if
a bearer
bearer (i.e.
has the
the use,
use, and not
not merely
merely the
the superficial
superficial
if it
it has
it has
has a
if it
(i.e. if
grammar,
proper name)
then the
the sentence
is false
if what is
is
false if
sentence is
of a proper
name) then
grammar, of
predicated in
it does
does not
not hold
hold of
of that
that bearer.
bearer. Now if
if a sentence like
like
in it
predicated
'Some man has
has been
been on the
the Moon'
is false,
false, this
this is
not because
because *has
'has
is not
Moon* is
been
is false
false of
man-though
if it
it is
is true,
true, it
it is
is
of some man
the Moon' is
been on the
though if
41
41
;

42
42

WITTGENSTIIN's TRACTATUS
AN INTRODUCTION TO WITTGENSTEIN'S

true
been on
the Moon'
Moon' is
is true
true of
of some
some man.
man. So,
if we
true because
because 'has
'has been
on the
So, if
persist in
thinking that
that the
the sentence
sentence would
would be
be made
made true
true by
by the
the fact
fact
in thinking
persist
of
what
the
grammatical
subject
stands
for,
it
that
something
holds
that something holds of what the grammatical subject stands for, it
turns
out that
that its
its falsehood
falsehood would
would not
not consist
consist in
in the
the same
same thing's
thing's
turns out
not
holding of
what the
grammatical subject
stands tor.
for.
not holding
of what
the grammatical
subject stands
we turn
turn to
to definite
definite descriptions,
it
is
easier
to retain
retain the
the
to
is
easier
When we
it
descriptions,
comparison
with proper
proper names;
names; hence
hence Frege
Frege called
called definite
definite descripdescripcomparison with
tions
names. But
But the
the comparison
comparison breaks
breaks down in
in various
various
tions proper
proper names.
of aa definite
definite description
description must
must
ways.
predicate occurring
as part
part of
The predicate
ways. The
occurring as
of something,
if the
the description
description is
is to
to be
be taken
taken as
as
be
uniquely true
true of
be uniquely
something, if
standing
whereas aa proper
proper name stands
stands for
for aa bearer
bearer
for anything;
standing for
anything; whereas
to which
which it
it has
has been
been assigned,
without its
its being
being guaranteed,
guaranteed, concernconcernto
assigned, without
ing
any
given
unique
description,
that
the
bearer
satisfies
it.
Hence
satisfies
it.
the
Hence
that
bearer
ing any given unique description,
truth-conditions
for
statements
containing
definite
desdeswe can
definite
can give
for
statements
truth-conditions
containing
give
whether the
the descriptions
are vacuous
vacuous or
or not.
not.
criptions
regardless of
of whether
criptions regardless
descriptions are
It
been said
(in the
the first
first instance
instance by
by Frege)
Frege) that
that the
the occurrence
occurrence
It has
has been
said (in
of aa vacuous
vacuous definite
definite description
description in
in aa sentenc.e
that
of
sentence disqualifies
disqualifies that
sentence
from making
making aa true
false statement.
statement. But
But this
this is
is unplausible
unplausible
true or
or false
sentence from
one. A vacuous
vacuous definite
definite desdesexcept
the sentence
sentence is
is a
a simple
simple one.
except when the
cription
can
occur
in
a
clause
within
a
sentence
without
so
disqualiin
within
can
a
clause
a
sentence
without
so
occur
disqualicription
fying the
the whole
whole sentence,
sentence, e.g.
e.g. 'Either
'Either he
he has
has no
no children
children or
or his
his
fying
first
child's name is
Hilary.' All
All this
this shews
that the
the object,
if
there
is
is Hilary.'
if
first child's
shews that
there
is
object,
is not
not so
so designated
by it
it that
that
one,
a definite
description, is
definite description,
one, satisfying
satisfying a
designated by
nothing could
could be
be truly
truly or
falsely said
by aa sentence
containing the
the
or falsely
said by
sentence containing
nothing
had never
never
description
if that
that object
not exist;
exist; whereas
whereas if
did not
if Scott
Scott had
description if
object did
existed,
the use
use of
word 'Scott'
as the
the name of
of that
that famous
famous
of the
the word
'Scott' as
existed, the
author
could have
have existed
existed either.
author never
never could
either.
As aa logical
logical doctrine,
Russell's Theory
Theory of
of Descriptions
Descriptions makes
makes the
the
doctrine, Russell's
contrast
between definite
definite descriptions
descriptions and
and (ordinary)
(ordinary) proper
proper names
names
contrast between
which these
these considerations
considerations seem to
to demand. When doing
logic,
which
doing logic,
Russell always
treats e.g.
as aa proper
proper name,
name, by
by contrast
with
Russell
'Scott' as
contrast with
always treats
e.g. 'Scott'
Waverley'. His
His theory
theory of
of knowledge,
knowledge,
descriptions
like 'the
'the author
author of
of Waverley'.
descriptions like
part
the other
hand, leads
leads him to
to propound
propound the
the less
less convincing
convincing part
on the
other hand,
of
the theory
theory: that
that ordinary
proper names,
names, like
like 'Scott',
'Scott', are
are not
not the
the
of the
ordinary proper
real
genuine proper
proper name must
must have
have aa bearer;
bearer;
real proper
proper names at
at all.
all. A genuine
this
is a
a harmless
harmless point
point of
of logic;
it becomes
becomes less
less harmless
harmless if
it is
is
this is
if it
logic; it
rendered
For this
this
rendered as:
as: What aa proper
proper name stands
stands for
for must
must exist.
exist. For
:

DESCRIPTIONS
THE THEORY OF DESCRIPTIONS

43
43

may lead
lead us
us to
to the
the idea
idea that
that the
the bearers
bearers of
of the
the only
only genuine
genuine proper
proper
may
are existents
existents not
not subject
subject to
to Cartesian
Cartesian doubt
doubt (Russell's
(Russell's objects
objects
names are
of
acquaintance-sense-data,
etc.); or
or are
are eternal
eternal and
and
of immediate
immediate acquaintance
sense-data, etc.);
changeless
sirnples
(Wittgenstein's
'objects').
changeless simples (Wittgenstein's 'objects')Russell
that aa definite
definite description
has no
no meaning
meaning by
by itself,
itself,
Russell says
says that
description has
but the
the whole
in which
which it
has aa meaning.
meaning. He means
means
but
whole sentence
sentence in
it occurs
occurs has
a definite
definite description
does not
not function
function like
like aa name.
name. He
simply
that a
simply that
description does
puts
point in
in that
that obscure
obscure way
way because
because of
of his
his idea
idea of
of what
what it
it is
is for
for aa
the point
puts the
or phrase
phrase to
to 'have
meaning', namely:
namely: aa word
word has
has meaning
meaning if
word or
'have meaning',
if
it
with which
which one
one means
means an
an object;
object; to
to mean an
an object
object one
one
it is
is a
a word with
or phrase
phrase to
to have
have meaning,
meaning,
must be
with it;
it; for
for aa word
word or
be acquainted
acquainted with
then, it
it is
is necessary
necessary for
what we mean by
it
to
exist.
In
accordance
for what
it
to
exist.
In
accordance
then,
by
with
this theory
theory of
meaning Russell
Russell passes
passes from
from the
the truism
truism that
that in
in
with this
of meaning
order
understand aa sentence
we must
must know what
what each
each word
word
order to
to understand
sentence we
that in
in judging
judging or
or supposing
supposing we must
must be
be
means,
to the
the doctrine
doctrine that
means, to
acquainted
with each
each of
the objects
that the
the judgment
judgment or
or supposition
supposition
of the
acquainted with
objects that
is
really about.
is really
about.
Russell's view,
if aa description
description had
had 'meaning
by itself,
itself',
Thus, on Russell's
Thus,
view, if
'meaning by
it
would foilow
that what
what it
it stood
stood for
had some sort
being. In
In the
the
it would
follow that
for had
sort of
of being.
Principles of
of Mathematics
Mathematics Russell
Russell had
had actually
actually thought
thought that
that there
there
Principles
were entities
entities 'meant'
'meant' by
by descriptions,
descriptions, and
and called
called these
these entities
entities
'denoting
concepts'; not
not only
descriptions, but
but such
such
definite descriptions,
only definite
'denoting concepts';
'any number'
number' in
in 'Any
is either
either odd or
even', had
phrases
as 'any
or even',
'Any number is
phrases as
denoting
concepts as
'meanings'. But
But what
what aa proposition
proposition
as their
their 'meanings'.
denoting concepts
containing
a
description
asserted
would
ordinarily
be
asserted
not
not
be
asserted
would
asserted
a
ordinarily
description
containing
of
the
corresponding
denoting
concept,
but
of
a
term
or
complex
of
or
of
a
but
term
complex of
0/the corresponding denoting concept,
terms somehow connected
connected with
with the
the denoting
denoting concept;
concept; e.g.
e.g. it
it is
is not
not
terms
the denoting
denoting concept
concept answering
answering to
to the
the phrase
phrase 'any
'any number'
number' that
that is
is
the
said
be odd or
even. Russell's
Theory of
of Descriptions
Descriptions represents
represents
Russell's Theory
or even.
to be
said to
an
this position;
position; he
he adopted
adopted Frege's
Frege's way
way of
of handling
handling
an escape
from this
escape from
'some'
and 'all',
indefinite descriptions
descriptions and phrases
phrases like
like 'any
'any
indefinite
'some' and
'all',
number'/
and further
further applied
applied it,
it, as
as Frege
Frege never
never did,
did, to
to definite
definite
number', and
descriptions
well.
as well.
descriptions as
Frege's
enquiries
given the
the notion
notion of
of proper
proper names
already given
Frege's enquiries had already
an importance
importance for
for logic
the theory
theory of
of truth
truth which it
it had never
never
logic and the
1

11

See Chapter
See
Chapter

11.
cf. also
Philosophical Writings
of Gottlob
Gottlob Frege
Frege
also Philosophical
11. cf.
Writings of

(Blackwell,
pp. 13-14,
35-8, 93.
93.
16-20, 35-8,
1952), pp.
13-14, 16-20,
(Blackwell, 1952),

44
44

INTRODUCTION TO
AN INTRODUCTTON

WITTGENSTEIN'S TRACTATUS
TRACI'ATUS
WITTGENSTEIN'S

had
before. In
Russell's theory
theory it
it retains
retains that
that importance,
importance, and
and at
at the
the
had before.
In Russell's
"simple"
same
comprises only
signs: 'A
*A "simple"
time comprises
same time
simple signs:
only logically
logically simple
symbol
is one
which has
no parts
parts that
that are
are symbols.
symbols. Thus
Thus "Scott"
"Scott" is
is
one which
has no
symbol is
aa simple
symbol
because
though
it
has
parts
(namely
separate
it
because
has
though
simple symbol
parts (namely separate
letters),
these parts
parts are
the other
other hand
hand "the
"the author
author
not symbols.
are not
letters), these
symbols. On the
of
Waverley" is
not aa simple
symbol
because
the
separate
words
the
of Waverley"
is not
because
separate words
simple symbol
1
1
This
that compose
the symbol
parts which
which are
are symbols.'
that
are parts
symbols.' This
compose the
symbol are
the simplicity
simplicity of
proper names
names is
is correct;
correct; as
as also
also it
it is
is
account
account of
of the
of proper
correct
that the
the way
way aa proper
proper name
name contributes
contributes to
to the
the meanmeanto say
correct to
say that
in which
it occurs
occurs is
is simply
simply that
that it
stands for
for its
its
ing
it stands
which it
sentence in
of a
a sentence
ing of
bearer.
bearer.
Waverley drank
port' as:
as:
Russell analyses
drank port'
'The author
author of
Russell
of Waverley
analyses e.g.
e.g. 'The
'For
x, xx wrote
wrote Waverley
Waverley and
and for
ally,
y
wrote
Waverley
only
for all
wrote
'For some
some x,
only
Waverley
y, y
ify=x,
x drank
port'; such
an analysis
of sentences
sentences containing
containing
if y==x, and
such an
and x
drank port';
analysis of
definite descriptions
other 'denoting
phrases' excludes
excludes these
these
definite
and other
descriptions and
'denoting phrases'
from
the class
that contribute
to the
the meaning
meaning of
of sentences
of signs
class of
contribute to
sentences
from the
signs that
by standing
for their
their bearers.
bearers. The denoting
denoting
in which
which they
they occur
occur by
in
standing for
phrases
disappear,
and
only
the
predicates
(and
proper
names,
if
the
phrases disappear, and only
predicates (and proper names, if
of
the
any)
used
in
their
construction
play
a
part
in
the
result
in
result
the
their
in
the
of
used
construction
a
any)
play
part
In consequence,
consequence, 'standing-for'
'standing-for' is
is shewn
shewn to
to be
be attributable
attributable
analysis.
analysis. In
only
'Where,' Wittgenstein
Wittgenstein asked
asked in
in aa later
later writing,
writing,
to simple
only to
simple signs.
signs. 'Where,'
'does
language hook
hook on
to the
the world?'
world?' One place
place will
will be
be here,
here, where
where
'does language
on to
the
proper name stands
its bearer.
bearer.
the proper
stands for
for its
In Russell's
Russell's doctrine,
a simple
having aa meaning
meaning consists
consists
In
doctrine, a
simple sign's
sign's having
in
its standing
for
something;
its
meaning
simply
is
the
thing
for
in its
for
standing
something; its meaning simply is the thing for
which it
it stands;
and
'simple
signs'
will
include
not
only
proper
which
and
will
include
not
stands;
'simple signs'
only proper
names of
'individuals', but
but also
also signs
for 'universals'
'universals'-i.e.
for relarelaof 'individuals',
i.e. for
signs for
tions, and
and for
non-relational properties
properties (if
there are
perfor non-relational
are any)-and
tions,
(if there
any) and perhaps signs
for logical
logical forms
forms as
as well;
well; and
and these
these other
simple signs
signs
other simple
haps
signs for
will
will equally
have as
their meanings
meanings the
the non-individual
non-individual 'things'
'things' they
they
as their
equally have
are
signs for.
Now, after
after Philosophical
Philosophical Investigations,
investigations, it
it is
is easy
easy to
to
are signs
for. Now,
this doctrine
doctrine
distinguish between
between the
the two
two different
different elements
elements of
of this
distinguish
which we have
of the
the simplicity
of the
the
have mentioned:
mentioned: (a)
(a) the
the doctrine
doctrine of
simplicity of
proper
name,
and
of
its
contributing
to
the
meaning
of
the
sentence
of
its
the
to
of
sentence
the
name,
proper
contributing
meaning
precisely
by standing
standing for
bearer; and (b)
(b) the
the idea
idea that
that the
the meanmeanfor its
its bearer;
precisely by
is its
ing
a name just
just is
its bearer,
bearer, or
the meaning
meaning of
of aa simple
simple sign
like
of a
or the
ing of
sign like
11

to Mathematical
Introduction to
Mathematical Philosophy,
Philosophy, p.
p. 173.
Introduction
173.

THE THEORY OF DESCRIPTIONS

45
45

'red'
just is
is the
the quality
which we
we have
have immediate
immediate acquaintance.
'red' just
with which
quality with
acquaintance.
At the
the time
time when Russell
Russell wrote,
wrote, these
these elements
elements were
were inextricably
inextricably
At
conflated
into one
one theory.
theory.
conflated into
of the
the most
most noteworthy
noteworthy features
of Russell's
Russell's doctrine
doctrine is
is his
his
One of
features of
1
1
of
the
Fregean
distinction
between
sense
and
reference.
rejection
of
and
distinction
between
sense
reference.
the
rejection
Fregean
This
distinction is
is highly
plausible and
and tempting;
tempting; but
but as
as an
an instruinstruThis distinction
highly plausible
ment in
in the
theory of
truth it
it leads
leads to
to great
wcat difficulties,
difficulties, and
and not
not to
to
the theory
ment
of truth
of our
our problems.
problems. Frege
Frege held
h~ia that
that all
all symbols
symbols-i.e.
the solution
solution of
the
i.e.
both 'proper
'proper names'
names' and
and predicates
predicates-had
'sense', that
that some
some 'proper
'proper
both
had 'sense',
well, and
that all
all predicates
predicates had
had reference,
reference,
names'
reference as
names' had
had reference
as well,
and that
a predicate
being what
what he
he termed
termed aa concept.
(But
the
reference of
of a
the reference
predicate being
concept. (But
explain the
the distinction
distinction of
sense from
from reference
reference for
for simple
simple
he does
does not
not explain
he
of sense
unasserted sentence
sentence (e.g.
one occurring
as aa clause
clause
predicates. 22)) An unasserted
predicates.
occurring as
(e.g. one
in
is for
him aa proper
proper name;
name; if
if it
it has
has reference,
reference, its
its
in another
another sentence)
for him
sentence) is
reference is
truth-value. This
This raises
raises the
the problem
problem how it
it comes
comes
is a
reference
a truth-value.
about
certain senses-namely
those of
of sentences
containing no
no
that certain
about that
senses namely those
sentences containing
vacuous
proper names
names-are
to have
have reference.
reference.
vacuous proper
are guaranteed
guaranteed to
not arise;
arise; in
any fully
fully
On Russell's
Russell's theory
theory this
problem does
does not
this problem
in any
but
words
whose
meananalysed
sentence
there
will
occur
nothing
sentence
will
meanthere
whose
occur
but
words
analysed
nothing
will
ings
are present
present to
to us
us and
are real
real things;
things; for
for those
those meanings
meanings will
and are
ings are
just
be
the
'things'
(including
relations,
properties,
and
logical
be
the
and
just
'things' (including relations, properties,
logical
logical schemata)
schemata) for
for which
which
forms
by logical
words and
forms signified
and logical
signified by
logical words
his theory,
may say,
'language reaches
reaches right
right
the words stand.
stand. In
the
In his
theory, we may
say, 'language
want to
to shew
shew it
it doing.
up to
to reality',
reality', which
which is
is something
doing.
something we want
up
But
there are
great defects
defects in
in the
the theory
theory as
as Russell
Russell states
states it,
it, even
even
But there
are great
if
for
the
moment
allow
to
identify
the
meaning
of
a
of
name
a
the
we
allow
him
the
if for
to identify
meaning
with its
its bearer.
bearer. For
For Russell
Russell held
held that
that judgment
judgment and supposing
supposing are
are
with
in
which
the
mind
stands
to
a
set
of
objects
(different)
relations
of
a
set
the
to
in
which
mind
stands
relations
objects
(different)
including
relation R;
R; if
if R relates
relates the
the objects
objects other
than R in
in
other than
a relation
including a
this set,
the judgment
judgment or
is true,
true, and if
not it
it is
is
if not
then the
this
or supposition
set, then
supposition is
false.
false.
1 His
His detailed
were, however,
however, partly
partly based
based on misunderstandmisunderstanddetailed criticisms
criticisms were,
ing:
wrongly assimilated
assimilated Frege's
views to
to what he
he had held
held in
in the
the
he wrongly
ing: he
Frege's views
Principles of
of Mathematics.
Mathematics.
Principles
2 For at least some complex predicates the distinction is
easily made
For at least some complex predicates the distinction is easily
out:
the two
predicates 'killed
and 'killed
'killed the
the philosopher
philosopher who
two predicates
Socrates* and
out: the
killed Socrates'
was executed
by aa draught
draught of
of hemlock'
hemlock' have
have different
different senses
senses but
but the
the same
was
executed by
reference.
reference.
1

46
46

WTITGENSTEIN'S TRACTATUS
AN INTRODUCTION TO WITTGENSTEIN'S

This theory
theory (a)
not make
make it
impossible to
to judge
judge aa nonsense',
nonsense',
it impossible
This
'does not
(a) 'does
as
Wittgenstein complains
complains at
at 5.5422;
5.5422; (b)
(b) fails
fails to
to distinguish
distinguish effeceffecas Wittgenstein
tively
between
judging
(or
supposing)
that
aRb
and
that
bRa;
and
and that bRa; and
tively between judging (or supposing) that
(c)
fails
to
explain
negative
judgments.
For
if
when
I
judge
that
is
if
I
that
when
For
A
is
to
judge
(c) fails
explain negative judgments.
to the
the right
of
I
stand
in
the
judging
relation
to
A,
B,
and
the
to
relation
and
the
the
B
in
of
I
stand
to
A, B,
judging
right
relation to
to the
the right
what happens
happens when II judge
judge that
that A is
is not
noc to
to
relation
right of,
of, what
the
right of
of B?
B? Do II stand
in the
the judging
judging relation
relation to
to A,
A, B,
B, to
to the
the right
right
stand in
the right
of,
not? Similar
the other
other logical
logical constants,
constants,
for the
arise for
and not!
Similar questions
of, and
questions arise
'if',
'and', and 'or'.
'if', 'and', and 'or'.
This difficulty
lies behind
behind Wittgenstein's
Wittgenstein's remark
remark (3.42):
(3.42): Al'AlThis
difficulty lies
though
the
proposition
can
only
determine
a
single
region
of
logical
a
of
determine
can
only
single region
logical
though the proposition
space,
the whole
whole of
logical space
space must
must be
be given
given by
by it.
it. Otherwise
Otherwise
of logical
still the
space, still
producV2 etc.
etc. would
would
negation,
the logical
the logical
logical product,'
sum, the
negation, the
logical sum,t
keep on
introducing new elements
elements-in
co-ordination' (sc.
(se. with
with those
those
in co-ordination'
on introducing
keep
previously
introduced).
previously introduced).
Wittgenstein avoids
avoids these
these difficulties,
while retaining
retaining the
the idea
idea
difficulties, while
Wittgenstein
that the
the meaning
of aa simple
is its
its bearer,
bearer, by
by giving
a different
different
that
sign is
giving a
simple sign
meaning of
account
of propositions,
propositions, judgments,
judgments, and
logical constants.
the
and logical
constants. On the
account of
of
Descriptions
in
its
purely
other
hand he
he accepts
Russell's
Theory
in
Russell's
of
other hand
its
Theory
Descriptions
purely
accepts
as it
it shews
the analysis
analysis of
of propositions
propositions
logical
far as
shews how the
so far
logical aspect-in
aspect in so
their truth-conditions
truth-conditions is
is to
to be
be carried
carried
into
statement of
into the
the complete
of their
complete statement
out
propositions containing
containing definite
definite descriptions.
descriptions. The statement
statement
for propositions
out for
of truth-conditions
truth-conditions for
proposition containing
containing aa definite
definite descripdescripa proposition
of
for a
tion thus
thus includes
includes aa statement
that there
there is
is one
one and
and only
only one
one object
object
tion
statement that
satisfying
the description,
i.e. aa statement
that for
for some x,
x, </>x,
4>x, and,
and,
statement that
satisfying the
description, i.e.
for
only
if
y=x.
for ally,
all y, 4>Y
if
y=x.
<f>y only
Let
us now suppose
suppose that
that we have
have aa proposition
proposition 'A
'A is
is corrupt'.
corrupt'.
Let us
argument place
place in
in the
the function
function 'x
'xis
corrupt'.
Here 'A'
Here
*A' appears
in the
the argument
is corrupt'.
appears in
Now let
let us
us consider
the negation:
negation: 'A
'A is
is not
not corrupt.'
corrupt.' Can we disdisconsider the
tinguish between
between an
an external
and an
an internal
internal negation
negation here
here-i.e.
external and
i.e.
tinguish
between
between taking
taking this
this as
negation of
of the
the result
result of
of substituting
'A'
the negation
as the
substituting 'A*
in *x
for 'x' in
for
'xis
corrupt' (external
negation), and taking
taking it
it as
as the
the result
result
is corrupt'
(external negation),
*x'
of substituting
'A'
for
'x'
in
'xis
not
corrupt'
(internal
negation)?
'A'
for
is
in
*x
not
substituting
corrupt' (internal negation)?
If we cannot,
If
then 'A'
is a proper
proper name;
name; if
if we can,
can, it
it is
is not.
not. One sort
sort
'A' is
cannot, then
case where we can
of case
can is
is where
where 'A'
is, e.g.
e.g. 'Some
'Some committee'
or 'Any
'Any
'A' is,
committee' or
institution'. For these
institution'.
these cases
the point
point is
is readily
readily seen
Chapter 1,
cases the
seen (cf.
(cf. Chapter
1,
1
2
p or q.
p and q.
1

OF DESCRIPTIONS
DESCRIPTIONS
THE THEORY OF

p. 35).
35).
p.

47
47

But where
where 'A'
is aa definite
definite description,
description, the
the distinction
distinction bebeBut
A' is
and external
external negation
negation still
still holds.
holds.
tween the
the internal
internal and
tween
be simple
simple signs
signs in
in Russell's
Russell's
The question
question whether
whether there
there must
must be
on to
to the
the question
question whether
whether there
there must
must be
be substisubstisense thus
thus leads
leads us
us on
sense
'x is
is corrupt'
corrupt' for
for which
which there
there is
is no
no distinction
distinction between
between
tutions in
in 'x
tutions
and external
external negation.
negation. Now if
if 'A'
'A' is
is an
an ostensibly
ostensibly singular
singular
internal and
internal
term, the
the distinction
distinction could
could arise
arise only
only because
because the
the expression
expression 'A*
'A'
term,
itself indicated
indicated certain
certain truth-conditions.
truth-conditions.
itself
never does
does this;
this; either
either one
one has
has to
to be
be told
told ad hoc
hoc
proper name never
A proper
what, and
and what kind
kind of
of thing,
thing, it
it is
is aa proper
proper name of;
of; or
or one
one may
may
what,
glean this
this latter
latter information
information from
from the
the predicates
predicates associated
associated with
with
glean
the name,
name, or
or guess
guess it
it from
from custom:
custom: for
for example
example 'John'
'John' is
is customcustomthe
countriesarily aa masculine
masculine human name
name in
in English-speaking
English-speaking countries
arily
though this
this does
does not
not mean
mean that
that aa man makes
makes aa mistake
mistake if
if he
he calls
calls
though
his sow
sow 'John'.
'John'.
his
question is
is: Must
Must there
there be
be (at
(at least
least the
the possibility
possibility of)
of) proper
proper
Our question
this question
question can
can be
be reformulated
reformulated thus:
thus: Is
Is it
it impossible
impossible
names? And this
names?
that,
for any
any given
given f,
f, every
proposition which
which is
is aa value
value of
of fx
fx should
should
that, for
every proposition
indicate
from the
the conditions
conditions for
for the
the
indicate truth-conditions
truth-conditions C distinct
distinct from
holding
of
the
property
f?
the
statement
of
the
truth-conditruth-condiof
the
f
the
statement
of
?
Now
the
holding
property
run: 'There
'There is
is an
an x
x such
that <x,
cpx. and,
and, for
allY.
cpy only
only
tions
will run:
for all
tions C will
such that
y, <y
if
y=x'. But
But this
this could
not be
true, unless
unless some
some singular
singular proposiproposiif y=x'.
could not
be true,
tion
of the
the form
might indeed
indeed be
be known,
known, without
without
tion of
form 'cpb'
true. It
It might
*<b' were
were true.
our
proposition of
of the
the form
form '<b';
'c/>b'; but
but if
if we
our knowing
any singular
knowing any
singular proposition
it we should
be postulating,
postulating, even
even if
did not
not
claimed
if we did
claimed to
to know it
should be
know,
a
proposition
of
the
form
'c/>b'.
know, a proposition of the form *<b'.
Thus we have
have
(1)
fA,
where
'A'
the form
form 'The
'The <*.
cf>'.
is of
*A' is
of the
where
(1) fA,
(2)
There
is
an
x
such
that
cf>x,
and,
for
all
cf>y only
only if
if y=x.
all y,
for
an
such
There
is
x
that
y=x.
and,
<x,
y, ^y
(2)
(3)
(3) cf>b.
#b.
Now what
this postulated
in this
*b' in
the sign
what do
do we postulate
about the
postulated
sign 'b'
postulate about
is for
between
proposition?
it no distinction
distinction between
for it
there is
that there
Necessarily, that
proposition? Necessarily,
the propo(~)band
....{c/>b).
For if there were such
proposuch a distinction,
distinction, the
(~$)b and ,>(<f>ty. For if there were
not
an
x
such
that
cf>x'
would
in
turn
be
ambiguous
sition
'There
is
in
turn
<x'
x
'There
is
such
that
sition
not an
ambiguous
in
that every
in its
its truth-conditions:
it might
truth-conditions: it
got
proposition got
every proposition
require that
might require
be
shall
in
by
substituting
an
expression
of
the
kind
'b'
in
'(
~)x'
shall
'b'
the
kind
of
'(~<)x'
by substituting
expression
true,
proposition
got
by
substituting
an
expression
of
or that
that every
expression
substituting
true, or
by
got
every proposition
4

48
48

AN INTRODUCTION TO

WITIGENSTEIN'S TRACfATUS
WITTGENSTEIN'S
TRACTATUS

the kind
kind
the

'b'
in *$x'
'rfox' shall
be false.
false. There
There would
would thus
thus be
be two
two quite
quite
shall be
*b* in
'(Ex)rfox' might
might be
be false,
false, if
if the
the only
only substitudifferent
ways in
in which
which '(Ex)^x'
substitudifferent ways
were expressions
expressions 'b'
such that
that *<b'
'rfob' had
had different
different
tions
'<x' were
*b* such
x in
in 'rfox'
for x
tions for
possible
negations.
possible negations.
So
much follows
follows from
from the
logical part
part of
of the
the Theory
of DescripDescripthe logical
So much
Theory of
tions.
This, however,
however, does
not lead
lead us
us to
to 'simples'
'simples'; for
for the
the theory
theory in
in
does not
tions. This,
of reduction
reduction to
to
its
logical aspect
aspect has
has nothing
nothing to
to do
do with
with any
any theory
theory of
its logical
only demands
simple symbols
as 'Parliament'
simples.
'Parliament'
demands that
It only
that such
such simple
symbols as
simples. It
propositions as
as 'The
'The body
body making
making laws
laws for
for
shall
possible if
if such
such propositions
be possible
shall be
Great
are to
to make
make sense.
The type
type of
of name that
that
Britain is
is corrupt'
sense. The
Great Britain
corrupt' are
is
here is
is the
the type:
name of
of aa body
body corporate.
corporate. A truthtruthis postulated
type: name
postulated here
is
corrupt'
is
'There
is an
an
condition
for
'The
British
legislative
body
is
is
There
is
British
for
'The
condition
corrupt'
legislative body
x such
that xx corporately
corporately makes
laws for
for Great
Great Britain'.
Britain'. The variable
variable
x
makes laws
such that
'x'
here ranges
over bodies
bodies corporate.
corporate.
'x' here
ranges over
If
were no
no such
things as
as bodies
bodies corporate,
corporate, there
there would
would be
be
such things
If there
there were
no proper
proper names
names of
them either;
so it
it looks
looks as
as if
if in
in that
that case
case 'There
'There
of them
no
either; so
is
that xx corporately
corporately makes
makes laws
laws for
for Great
Great Britain'
Britain' would
would
x such
such that
is an
an x
it
where there
there were
were no
no such
such things,
things, it
lose
its meaning.
meaning. But
But in
in aa world
world where
lose its
might
be possible
possible to
to imagine
them. For
For aa body
body corporate,
corporate, e.g.,
e.g.,
still be
imagine them.
might still
to
pass aa measure
by aa large
large majority
majority means
means that
that men stand
in cercermeasure by
stand in
to pass
tain
to one
one another
do certain
certain things.
things. If
If there
there were
were no
relations to
another and do
tain relations
bodies corporate,
corporate, someone
might yet
yet imagine
imagine certain
certain men standing
standing
someone might
bodies
to one
one another,
another, might
might give
give an
an imaginary
imaginary proper
proper
in
these relations
relations to
in these
name to
to the
the complex
and might
might construct
construct predicates
predicates that
that
so formed,
formed, and
complex so
the complex
when the
the individuals
individuals standing
standing in
in these
these
were
to hold
hold of
of the
were to
complex when
relations
did certain
certain things.
proposition 'There
'There is
is an
an xx such
such
relations did
things. The proposition
that xx corporately
makes
laws'
would
then
after
all
not
fail
to
have
that
makes
laws'
then
have
would
after
all
not
fail
to
corporately
meaning.
meaning.
Let us
us suppose
suppose that
that someone
in aa world
world without
without bodies
bodies corporate
corporate
Let
someone in
and has
has constructed
this
has imagined
there being
being such
things, and
has
such things,
constructed this
imagined there
it can
can
proposition;
there are
two quite
quite different
different ways
ways in
in which
which it
are now two
proposition; there
not the
the same
two ways
ways as
as we considered
considered before.
before. It
be false,
be
It
same two
false, though
though not
in his
is
false in
is false
his world,
world, because
because there
there are
bodies corporate
at all
all
are no bodies
corporate at
there.
were bodies
bodies corporate,
corporate,
there. But in
in a possible
possible world
world where there
there were
there would be
"x" in
in
there
be no distinction
between 'All
substitutions for
for "x"
distinction between
'All substitutions
"x corporately
laws"
are
false'
and
'All
substitutions
in
"x
does
makes
laws"
are
false'
'All
in
does
substitutions
"x
corporately
not corporately
true'; these
these propositions
propositions would
would both
both
not
laws" are
are true'
corporately make laws"
;

DESCRIPTIONS
THE THEORY OF DESCRIPTIONS

49
49

be true
or both
both false
false together,
together, and
they were
were true
true then
then 'There
'There is
is
true or
be
and if
if they
an
x corporately
corporately makes
makes laws'
laws' would
would be
be false.
false.
x such
such that
that x
an x
of this
this proposition
proposition in
the world
world where
where
Let
the falsehood
falsehood of
us call
Let us
call the
in the
no bodies
bodies corporate
corporate 'radical
'radical falsehood*:
falsehood': the
the proposition
proposition
there are
are no
there
is
false because
because certain
certain propositions
propositions about
about men are
are false
falseis radically
radically false
they
do
not
stand
in
such
relations
or
do
such
things.
in
do
not
stand
such
relations
or
do
such
they
things.
could there
there always
always be
be the
the possibility
possibility of
of
The question
arises: could
question arises:
radical, as
as opposed
is clear
clear that
that a
a 'radical
'radical
to ordinary,
It is
falsehood? It
radical,
opposed to
ordinary, falsehood?
the possibility
possibility of
of an
an ordinary
ordinary falsefalsefalsehood'
falsehood' always
on the
always depends
depends on
can construct
construct proposiproposihood. Wittgenstein's
is: We can
hood.
starting-point is:
Wittgenstein's starting-point
tions at
at will,
will, without
without enquiry
enquiry into
into any
facts at
at all,
all, and
what is
is
tions
and know what
any facts
the case
if they
they are
true. On the
the supposition
supposition that
that the
the question
question of
of
the
case if
are true.
'radical
falsehood' can
can always
always be
be raised,
raised, we should
should always
always have
have to
to
'radical falsehood'
distinguish
between possible
possible kinds
kinds of
falsehood of
of our
statements.
of falsehood
our statements.
distinguish between
the falsehood
falsehood of
of
But then
never determine
the sense
sense of
then we could
could never
determine the
of the
aa proposition,
on the
of the
the truth
truth of
prior
the supposition
of some prior
proposition, except
except on
supposition of
each time
time have
have to
to consider
consider the
the
proposition; for
for otherwise
otherwise we should
should each
proposition
possibility of
of aa radical
radical falsehood,
which must
must be
be explained
explained in
in terms
terms
falsehood, which
possibility
of
the ordinary
falsehood of
of aa prior
prior proposition.
proposition. Then we might
might
of the
ordinary falsehood
propositions; but
but without
without this
this
indeed
indeed start
start from the
the truth
truth of
of certain
certain propositions;
any. 'Whether
'Whether one
one proposition
proposition
never know the
the sense
sense of
we could
could never
of any.
made sense
depend on
on whether
whether another
another one
one was true;
true; so
so we
sense would depend
of the
the world
world (true
or false)'
false)'
should
not be
be able
able to
to invent
invent aa picture
picture of
should not
(true or
(2.0211-2).
(2.0211-2).
Thus if
if we can
can construct
propositions at
at will
will and know what is
is
construct propositions
the
case
if
they
are
true,
without
knowing
is
true
what
is
is
what
what
is
and
if
are
true
the case
they
true, without knowing
false,
it follows
follows that
that there
there must
must be
be propositions
propositions incapable
incapable of
of what
what II
false, it
is to
to say,
say, there
there must be names
have
'radical' falsehood.
That is
have called
falsehood. That
called 'radical'
of
which can
can only
only be
be named,
named, and
not defined\yy
defined by aa description
description
and not
of simples
simples which
and whose
whose existence
existence is
is guaranteed.
guaranteed. 'The
'The demand
as
Parliament is,
is, and
as Parliament
for
possibility of
the simple
is the
the demand that
that sense
shall
sense shall
of the
for the
the possibility
simple signs
signs is
be
determinate' (3.23).
(3.23).
be determinate'
of the
the Theory
Theory
Here the
'simple signs'
not the
the 'simple
symbols' of
the 'simple
are not
'simple symbols'
signs' are
of
Descriptions,
in
its
purely
logical
aspect
as
presented
by Russell.
Russell.
as
in
its purely logical aspect
of Descriptions,
presented by
that the
the meaning
meaning of
of aa
Wittgenstein shares
with Russell
the idea
idea that
shares with
Russell the
Wittgenstein
name is
is its
its bearer:
bearer: but
but in
in him this
this is
is not
not noticeably
noticeably based
based on the
the
We
Russell.
have,
British
empiricist epistemology
that
influences
Russell.
influences
that
British empiricist
have,
epistemology
;

50
50

AN INTRODUCTION TO

WIITGENSTEIN'S TRACTATUS
TRACfATUS
WITTGENSTEIN'S

rather, aa Frege-like
Frege-like
rather,

argument: Unless
Unless names
names have
have bearers,
bearers, there
there is
is
argument:
no truth
truth or
or falsehood.
falsehood. But
But if
if you
you always
always distinguish
distinguish aa sense
sense and
and aa
no
reference in
in names,
names, as
as you
you must
must for
for aa name like
like 'Parliament',
'Parliament', the
the
reference
connection between
between sense
sense and
and truth-value
truth-value becomes
becomes obscure.
obscure. For
For
connection
then the
the sense
sense of
of aa
then

name will
will present
present aa reference
reference if
if something
something satissatisname
fies the
the description
description in
in which
which that
that sense
sense might
might be
be set
set forth,
forth, i.e.
i.e. if
if
something
is
true;
this
truth
must
be
expressible
by
comcomis
this
now
truth
must
be
true;
something
expressible by
bining aa name and
and aa predicate;
predicate; and
and unless
unless names
names are
are somewhere
somewhere
bining
nailed to
to reality
reality without
without the
the mediation
mediation of
of senses
senses which
which hold
hold true
true of
of
nailed
objects, that
that relation
relation between
between sentences
sentences and
and reality
reality which
which consticonstiobjects,
tutes their
their truth
truth will
will in
in no
no way
way have
have been
been explained.
explained.
tutes
fies

NEGATION:

(l)
(1)

THE LOGICIANS' DEFINITION


P'
OF 'NOT P'

'Everyone
unwise' is
is aa negation
is wise',
wise', but
but it
it is
is not
not
of 'everyone
is unwise'
'everyone is
negation of
'Everyone is
what logicians
call the
negation of
of it;
in logic
logic books,
books, when the
the sign
sign
the negation
what
it; in
logicians call
for
is introduced,
introduced, we are
are told
told that
that 'not
'not p'
p' is
is 'the
proposition
"the proposition
'not' is
for 'not'
that
is true
p is
is false
false and
p is
is true'.
true'. 'Everyone
'Everyone is
is
and false
false when p
true when p
that is
not certainly
true if
if 'Everyone
'Everyone is
is wise'
wise' is
is false;
false; hence
hence it
it
unwise' is
is not
unwise'
certainly true
is
not the
negation of
of 'Everyone
is wise'.
wise'. This
This was
was the
the point
point already
already
the negation
is not
'Everyone is
noticed
by Aristotle
Aristotle in
in the
Interpretatione.
the De Interpretation
noticed by
Such
a definition
definition of
p' as
as is
is found
found in
in many
many logic
logic books
books may
may
of 'not
'not p'
Such a
in the
the manner
manner of
of Frege)
Frege) what
what right
right anyone
anyone has
has
make us
us ask
ask (rather
(rather in
to give
a definition.
define something
something as
so-and-so,
I can
can define
such a
definition. I
to
the so-and-so,
as the
give such
I am justified
justified in
in being
being sure,
that there
there is
is a so-and-so,
so-and-so, and
only if
if I
first that
sure, first
only
second
there is
is only
only one.
one. If
have no such
such assurance,
it is
is not
not
If II have
second that
that there
assurance, it
certain
defining anything.
anything. How,
How, then,
then, am II
in defining
certain that
that II am succeeding
succeeding in
there is
and only
only one,
one, proposition
proposition that
that is
is true
true when
when
assured
assured that
that there
is one,
one, and
p is
false when pp is
is true?
true?
is false,
false, and false
p
It
might seem
seem that
that we could
could say:
is evident
evident that
that a
a proposition
proposition
It might
It is
say: It
has
a coin
coin has
has two
two sides;
sides; and we might
might think
think of
of
as a
truth- values, as
has two truth-values,
truth-functions
as like
bets on the
the results
results of
of tossing
tossing coins.
if
like bets
truth-functions as
coins. Thus if
one
is tossed
tossed once,
there are
possible bets,
bets, which can
can be
coin is
are two possible
one coin
once, there
represented
as follows:
follows:
represented as
>.

Coin
Coin

Bet 1I
Bet

w
W

Bet 22
Bet

H
H
T

w
W

L
L

in
table in
heads and tails,
tails, and W and L
for heads
in which H and T stand
stand for
in a table
51
51

52
52

AN INTRODUCTION TO WITTGENSTEIN'S
WTITGENSTEIN'S TRACTATUS

for win
win
for

and lose.
lose. This
could be
be considered
to correspond
to the
the
considered to
and
This could
correspond to
following
truth-table:
following truth-table:
p
P

p
P

T
F

T
F

-p
P
F

The
analogy of
of course
course holds
holds for
whole range
range of
of truthtruththe whole
for the
The analogy
functions.
For example,
if
we
have
two
coins,
and
B,
could
set
could
and
we
two
A
set
we
if
have
functions. For
coins,
B,
example,
forth
one possible
possible bet
bet as
as follows:
forth one
follows:

H
H

H
T
T

w
W
L
w
W
w
W

H
T

Here the
the bet
bet that
that the
coins, in
in aa single
single toss
of both
both together,
together, will
will fall
fall
toss of
the coins,
Here
that either
either A is
tails or
is heads,
heads, corresponds
corresponds to
to the
truthso
the truthso that
is tails
or B is
function
function
p
p
T
T
F
F

or alternatively
alternatively
or

q
q

T
F

T
F

T
F
T

T
T
F
T

that is
is to
to say:
v q,
q, or
alternatively, to
to ,._,qv
p; which,
which, depends
depends
that
to ~'p v
or alternatively,
say: to-p
~q v p;
on whether
whether we assimilate
assimilate 'Heads'
'Heads' or
or 'Tails'
to True'.
'True'.
Tails' to
striking thing
thing about
about this
this analogy
is that
that when we set
set
The most striking
analogy is
forth the
forth
the table
bets on the
toss of
coin, we put
put different
different symbols
symbols
table of
of bets
the toss
of a
a coin,
in the
the columns that
in
that display
display the
the bets
bets from those
those we put
put in
in the
the
columns of
of possible
possible results
the toss,
toss, whereas
whereas in
in the
the truth-table
truth-table we
of the
results of
the same signs
used the
signs in
in all
three columns.
columns. The question
question arises
arises with
with
all three
what right,
or on what
what grounds,
grounds, or
or again,
with
a
view
to
expressing
right, or
with
a
view
to
again,
expressing
in all
what, we use
use the
the same symbols
all the
the columns
columns of
of the
the truth-table,
truth-table,
what,
symbols in

NEGATION: {1)
(1)

53
53

which we should
not think
think of
doing in
in all
the columns
columns of
of the
the betting
betting
should not
which
of doing
all the
tables.
tables.
Consider
the explanations
of propositions
propositions and
and truth-functions,
truth-functions,
Consider the
explanations of
or
constants,
which
are
commonly
found
in
logic
books. It
or logical
which
are commonly found in logic books.
It is
is
logical constants,
usual for
us to
to be
be told:
told: first,
first, propositions
propositions are
are whatever
whatever can
can be
be either
either
for us
usual
true or
or false;
false; second,
second, propositions
propositions can
can be
be combined
combined in
in certain
certain
true
ways
form further
propositions; and
and third,
third, in
in examining
examining
to form
further propositions;
ways to
these combinations,
i.e. in
in developing
developing the
the truth-functional
truth-functional calcalthese
combinations, i.e.
culus,
are not
not interested
interested in
in the
the internal
internal structure
structure of
of the
the comcomculus, we are
1
bined propositions.l
bined
propositions.
the internal
internal
Such
explanations raise
raise certain
e.g. has
has the
Such explanations
certain questions:
questions: e.g.
structure
of the
the propositions,
propositions, which
which does
does not
not concern
concern us
us when
when we
structure of
study
truth-functions, anything
anything to
to do
do with
with the
the property
property of
of being
being true
true
study truth-functions,
or
Again, is
is the
the property
property of
being true
true or
or false,
which
belongs
false? Again,
or false?
of being
which
belongs
false,
to
the very
very same
same property
property as
as the
the property
property of
of
the truth-functions,
to the
truth-functions, the
being true
true or
false that
that belongs
belongs to
to the
the propositions
propositions whose
whose internal
internal
or false
being
not interest
interest us?
us? And,
And, finally,
finally, if
if that
that is
is so,
is it
it to
to be
be
structure
does not
structure does
so, is
regarded
ultimate fact
fact that
that propositions
propositions combine
combine to
to form
form furfuras an ultimate
regarded as
ther
as metals
metals combine
to form
form alloys
alloys which
which
ther propositions,
combine to
propositions, much as
still
a
good
many
of
the
properties
of
metals?
a
still display
the
of
of
metals?
good many
display
properties
In short,
there not
not an
an impression
impression as
as it
it were
were oflogical
chemistry
In
is there
of logical chemistry
short, is
about
these explanations?
this conception that Wittgenstein
about these
It ,is
explanations? It
,is this conception that Wittgenstein
opposes
the Tractatus
at 6.111
'Theories that
that make aa proposition
proposition
in the
Tractates at
6.1 1 1 : 'Theories
opposes in
of
logic appear
always wrong.
wrong. It
might be
be thought,
thought,
It might
of logic
are always
substantial are
appear substantial
for
that the
the words
words "true"
denote two properties
properties
for example,
"true" and "false"
"false" denote
example, that
among other
other properties,
properties, and
and then
then it
would look
look like
like aa remarkable
remarkable
it would
among
every proposition
proposition possesses
possesses one
one of
of these
these properties.
properties.
fact that
that every
fact
This
a matter
matter of
of course
course than
than the
the proposition
proposition
This now looks
looks no more a
if it
"all
roses are
either red
red or
or yellow"
yellow" would
would sound,
it were
even if
"all roses
are either
sound, even
true.'
true.*
Logical calculi
are sometimes
sometimes described
as essentially
essentially sets
sets of
calculi are
described as
Logical
marks with
with rules
rules for
for manipulating
manipulating them.
them. For example
example Lewis
Lewis and
Langford
Logic, p.
p. 227)
227) say
say: 'Whatever
'Whatever more it
it may be,
be, the
the
(Symbolic Logic,
Langford (Symbolic
with
matrix
at least
is aa kind
kind of
of game
which
play
with
recogwe
which
matrix method at
least is
recogplay
game
nizable
to certain
certain rules.'
rules.' They
They then
then make some
nizable marks,
marks, according
according to
:

11

See
Ackennann, Mathematical
Mathemalica/ Logic,
Logic, p.
p. 3.
3.
and Ackermann,
See e.g.
Hilbert and
e.g. Hilbert

54
54

INTRODUCITON TO
AN INTRODUCnON

WITTGENSTEIN'S TRACfATUS
-mACTATUS
WITTGENSTEIN'S

remarks
an extract
a table
table for
for plq
plq (which
(which might
might
remarks concerning
extract for
for a
concerning an
logical interpretation
interpretation pDq,
p::)q, but
but of
of course
course need
need not):
not):
have the
have
the logical
q
q

p
P
11
1

plq
Plq

1
1

11

They
rightly assert
such aa table
table need
need not
not have
have 'any
assert that
that such
'any "logical"
"logical"
They rightly
and
q
may
be
'any
kind
of
things'.
is required
required
significance';
p
is
of
What
things'.
significance'; p and q may be 'any kind
on their
their view
view is
that in
in some
some game
game or
other there
there should
should be
be 'an
'an
or other
is that
operation
or
move,
plq,
which
according
to
the
rules
can
be
taken
rules
can
taken
the
be
to
or
which
operation
according
move, plq,
if qq also
has the
the property
property A';
A'; and
and
p has
has the
the property
property A,
only if
when p
also has
A, only
in that
that case
case the
the table
table will
will tell
us that
that if
ifp
has the
the property
property A,
A, and
and plq
plq
in
tell us
p has
is an
move, then
then qq must
must have
have A.
A. The
The logical
logical interpretation
interpretation
is
an allowable
allowable move,
taking the
the property
property A,
A, expressed
expressed by
by the
the figure
figure
will then
then consist
consist in
will
in taking
'1',
to be
be truth,
the property
property expressed
by the
the figure
figure '0'
'0' to
to be
be
and the
T, to
truth, and
expressed by
and
reading
'plq'
as
'p::)q'.
falsehood,
and
as
falsehood,
reading *plq'
'pDq'.
view as
as this
this is
is aa desire
desire to
to get
get rid
rid of
of the
the
The animus
behind such
The
animus behind
such a
a view
truth'
in
the
mysterious
character
that
it
assumes
notion of
that
notion
character
it
of 'logical
in
the
assumes
truth'
mysterious
'logical
to
with an
outlook. But
But the
the argument
argument presented
presented
to someone
someone with
an empiricist
empiricist outlook.
by
Lewis and
and Langford
fails, and,
by the
the way
way in
which it
it fails,
fails, helps
helps
in which
and, by
by Lewis
Langford fails,
the fact
that we use
use the
the same signs,
'T'
us to
see the
the importance
importance of
us
to see
fact that
of the
signs, *T*
and 'F',
and '0',
the columns
of aa truth-table.
truth-table. For
For-as
in all
as
T and
columns of
or '1'
all the
'F', or
'0', in
has been
remarked by
is an
an inconsistency
inconsistency here
here in
in the
the
has
been remarked
Geach 1-there
there is
by Geach
the figure
figure 1,
ifp
and qq may
may be
be 'any
'any kind
kind of
of things'.
things'.
interpretation
of the
interpretation of
1, if
p and
and q,
q, the
figure T
'1' is
is taken
taken to
to stand
stand for
for some property
property
As regards
regards pp and
the figure
is taken
taken to
to stand
stand for
for the
the property
property of
of being
being an
an
A,
but as
as regards
regards plq
pJq it
it is
A, but
allowable
in aa certain
game. This
This is
is inconsistent
inconsistent unless
unless A is
is the
the
allowable move in
certain game.
of being
being an allowable
move-and
that is
is not
not necessary.
necessary.
property of
and that
allowable move
property
is not
not necessary
necessary is
is clearly
clearly seen
seen if
if we take
take aa simple
simple nonnonThat it
it is
That
table. Let
Let the
the figures
figures '1'
connote
logical
'0' connote
T and '0'
the table.
of the
logical interpretation
interpretation of
the absence
an hereditary
hereditary property
property A,
A, and
and let
let
the presence
the
and the
absence of
of an
presence and
'plq'
mean
'offspring
by
p
out
of
q'.
the
table
will
have
will
have
no
Then
the
table
out
of
'plq'
'offspring by p
q'.
in any
any game.
will state
that the
the trait
trait A is
is
reference
It will
reference to
to moves in
state that
game. It
it is
is present
present in
in the
the sire,
if and only
only if
if
present in
in the
the offspring,
offspring, when it
sire, if
present
1

'Ifs
Ands, Analysis,
Analysis, Vol.
9, 1948-9.
This and
and the
the succeeding
two
1948-9. This
Vol. 9,
succeeding two
Jfs and Ands,
paragraphs are
are adapted
adapted from this
article.
this article.
paragraphs
1

55
55

NEGATION: (1)
(1)

it
present in
in the
the dam:
darn: aa good
good example
example of
of what
what Wittgenstein
Wittgenstein
is also
it is
also present
would
a 'substantial'
piece of
Note that
that here
here plq
piq is
would call
call a
'substantial' piece
of information.
information. Note
is
not
in aa game'
game' at
all-any
more than
than pp and
and qq are;
are; plq
p!q is
is an
an
a 'move
not a
'move in
at all
any more
animal.
animal.
as this
this example
example shows,
you need
need not
not interpret
interpret the
the
Now though,
though, as
shows, you
figures
'1'
and
'0'
to
that
moves
in
a
game
are
respectively
T
and
0'
mean
to
that
moves
in
a
are
figures
respectively
game
it is
course perfectly
perfectly permissible
permissible to
to do
do so.
so.
allowed
and forbidden,
of course
is of
allowed and
forbidden, it
p and
and q
q cannot
be 'any
'any kind
kind of
of things'
things' but
but must
must be
But in
in that
that case
case p
But
cannot be
be
moves
in the
game, like
piq. The table
table will
will then
then be
equivalent to
to the
the
the game,
like plq.
moves in
be equivalent
pis
move, then
then q
q is
is an
an allowable
allowable
following
sentence: 'If
'If p
an allowable
is an
allowable move,
following sentence
plq is
is also
allowable move/
move.' And here
here the
the sign
sign
move if
if and
only if
if plq
and only
also an
an allowable
'I'
belong to
to the
terminology of
of any
any special
special game,
like
'Kt'
not belong
T does
does not
the terminology
game, like 'Kt*
in
it
expresses
what
we
may
fittingly
call
a
logical
relation
of
in chess;
it
what
we
call
a
relation
of
chess;
expresses
may fittingly
logical
the
piq to
to the
the moves
moves pp and
so
that
the
significance
of
the
the move plq
and q,
so
that
the
of
the
q,
significance
notation
'plq' is
is after
after all
all 'logical'.
'logical'.
notation 'plq'
p is
is an
an allowable
allowable move,
move, then
then qq is
is an
an allowable
allowable move if
if
'If p
Now 'If
and
only if
if plq
plq is
move' at
at least
least sounds
like aa subsuban allowable
is an
allowable move'
and only
sounds like
stantial piece
piece of
about aa game;
game; at
at any
any rate
rate if
if one
one can
can
of information
information about
stantial
specify
p,
p!q independently
independently as
as moves:
moves: pp might
might be
be a
a diagonal
diagonal
and plq
q, and
specify p, q,
move of
of aa certain
board, q
q aa move of
of another
another
a squared
certain piece
piece on a
squared board,
of
the
board,
and
'piq'
the
given
piece
parallel
with
an
edge
an
the
with
of
and
the
name
board,
edge
*plq'
given
piece parallel
to aa move by
by yet
yet another
another piece
piece
(we
why, for
for the
ask why,
the moment)
won't ask
moment) to
(we won't
along
the edges
of the
the board.
board. Then the
the information
information 'If
'If you
you
one of
of the
edges of
along one
can
this piece
piece diagonally
you can
this piece
piece along
along the
the
can move this
can move this
diagonally you
board if,
if, and only
if, you
you can
can move this
this piece
piece parallel
parallel
edge
the board
of the
only if,
edge of
with one
one of
the edges'
edges' might
either be
rule of
of the
the game,
game, or
or inferable
inferable
be a
a rule
with
of the
might either
from
rules of
of the
the game.
game.
the rules
from the
If,
do ask
why moving
moving this
this piece
piece along
along the
the
ask why
however, we now do
If, however,
edge
the board
board should
be symbolized
symbolized by
by aa sign
sign mentioning
mentioning those
those
should be
of the
edge of
can answer
answer by
by saying
saying that
that
two other
other moves,
moves, then
then we can
two
4

p
P

q
q

11
1
1

11
0

1
1

defines
possible allowability
allowability in
in terms
terms of
of given
given allowabilities,
allowabilities, and
a possible
defines a
'plq'
is
a
notation
in
which
this
allowability
is
set
forth: that,
that, and
set
forth:
is
in
this
which
notation
a
is
allowability
'plq'

56
56

AN INTRODUCTION
JNrRODUCTION TO WITTGENSTEIN'S
WITIGENSTEIN'S TRACTATUS

that
is the
the meaning
meaning of
of this
this notation.
notation. Then
the substantial
substantial
Then the
that alone,
alone, is
is concerned
concerned is
is that
that there
there do
do exist
exist
information
as far
far as
as this
this game
information as
game is
is so
conditioned, and
and that
that the
the move
move
some
whose allowability
so conditioned,
some moves
moves whose
allowability is
along
of the
the board
in fact
fact one
one of
of them
them; but
but that
that any
any move
move
the edge
is in
board is
along the
edge of
plq is
is allowable,
if
p
is
allowable,
if
and
only
if
q is
is
describable
if
and
if
is
if
as plq
describable as
allowable,
only q
allowable,
p
11
also
is
not
a
'substantial'
piece
of
information.
information.
of
also allowable,
is
a
'substantial'
not
allowable,
piece
Similarly, if
if we
we revert
revert to
the analogy
tossing coins,
coins, we
we set
set forth
forth
of tossing
to the
analogy of
Similarly,
the betting
betting table
we have
have already
already considered:
considered:
part
of the
table we
part of
;

Coin
Coin B
H
T

Coin
Coin A
H
H
H
H

Bet:
Bet:

tails or
or B heads
heads
A tails

w
W
L

and
it is
is not
not aa substantial
substantial piece
piece of
of information
information that
that this
this is
is aa possible
possible
and it
of aa toss
of two
two coins,
coins, each
each with
with two
two possible
possible sides
sides
bet on
on the
result of
bet
the result
toss of
to
come
uppermost.
Nor
is
it
informative
to
say
that
this
is
the
bet
is
it
that
to
this
to
is
informative
the bet
say
uppermost.
'A
orB
heads'; that
that is
is simply
simply another
way of
of writing
writing what
what is
is
B heads';
another way
*A tails
tails or
already
written
in
the
column;
one
could
simply
point
to
WL
one
in
the
could
written
down
column
to
simply point
already
my bet.
bet.
the
and say:
say: That's
That's my
the column
column and
Wittgenstein says
that such
a sign
as
such a
And so
so Wittgenstein
says that
sign as
;

p
P
T
T

q
q

T
F

T
F
F
F

FTP

F
F

or,
a standard
standard convention
convention for
the pp and
and qq columns,
columns,
for the
or, assuming
assuming a
is aa prepositional
sign: we find
find this
this statement
at
'(TFFF)
statement at
'(TFFF) (p,q)'
(p,q)' is
propositional sign:
4.442. '(TFFF)
is just
just another
another way
way of
of writing
writing 'p.q'.
'p.q'.
4.442.
'(TFFF) (p,q)'
(p,q)' is
This is
the explanation
of the
the symbolism
symbolism introduced
introduced at
at 5.5:
5.5:
is the
This
explanation of
( - - - - - - T) (g, ......)

The Greek letter


letter

g
a variable
variable whose
whose value
value is aa proposition;
proposition; the
the
is a
f is
is

11 The reader
reader must be careful,
in reading
reading this
this passage,
passage, to
to distinguish
distinguish
careful, in
between
'plq' and plq.
plq. plq
is aa move in
the game,
game, 'plq'
'plq' aa notation
notation for
for the
the
in the
between *plq*
plq is

move.
move.

57
57

NEGATION: (1)
(1)

dots
a set
after it
it indicate
indicate a
set of
of such
such variables
variables of
dots after
of unspecified
The
unspecified length.
length. The
dashes
in the
the left-hand
left-hand bracket
bracket indicate
an absence
indicate an
dashes in
absence of
Ts in
in the
of T's
the
truthrtable,
however long
this may
be: its
its length
in any
case
truthrtable, however
long this
may be:
length in
any given
given case
will
will depend
are indicated
indicated in
in the
the rightmany propositions
depend on how many
propositions are
righthand bracket.
is
that
only
the
bottom
row
of
the
matrix
is
bracket. The point
that
the
bottom
row
of the matrix
point
only
has
is the
it: this
this is
the case
T set
set against
case in
in which
has T
which all
all the
the propositions
against it:
propositions
indicated
the right-hand
bracket
are
false;
this
combination
in the
bracket
are
indicated in
this
combination is
is
false;
right-hand
to
the bottom,
at the
whichever of
of various
stand at
various possible
to stand
conventions is
is
bottom, whichever
possible conventions
adopted
the other
other possible
for arranging
combinations of
of truth-values
truth- values
arranging the
possible combinations
adopted for
n
in
formula '(
matrix. ThusWittgenstein's
Thus Wittgenstein's formula'(-----in the
the matrix.
T) (~
(f ......)'
)'
is
propositions in
in the
the right-hand
right-hand bracket.
all the
the propositions
of all
the negation
is the
bracket
negation of
Now in
that
in the
the coin-tossing
the 'substantial'
'substantial* information
information is
is that
case, the
coin-tossing case,
the
heads
and
tails.
And
as
we
of a
a coin
coin has
has two possibilities,
heads
toss of
and
the toss
tails.
as we
possibilities,
have seen,
this
substantial
fact
has
an
analogue
in
the
opening
exfact
has
this
substantial
in
have
the
exseen,
analogue
opening
planations
books: that
that propositions
of logic
are what
can be
what can
be true
true or
or
logic books:
propositions are
planations of
false.
that for
has only
for coin-tossing
false. We might
a coin
coin has
say that
coin-tossing purposes
might say
purposes a
only
two
if a
coin e.g.
a coin
of falling:
stood on
its edge
two possibilities
on its
it
falling: if
e.g. stood
possibilities of
edge when it
reached
floor, that
that wouldn't
wouldn't count
count as
as aa toss.
toss. And similarly
similarly if
if
the floor,
reached the
(for
reason) aa sentence
hasn't got
got aa truth-value,
truth-value, it
it doesn't
doesn't
sentence hasn't
whatever reason)
(for whatever
count
for making
making statements
with or
or for
for operating
operating the
the truthtruthstatements with
count for
with.
functional
calculus
with.
functional calculus
Frege allows
allows such
such sentences:
a sentence
is aa fiction,
fiction, it
it has
has not
not
if a
sentences if
sentence is
Frege
got
a
truth-value;
it
is
a
fiction
if
it
contains
empty
names.
It
can
if
it
it
is
a
fiction
contains
and
truthIt
a
names.
can
value;
empty
got
still
have aa perfectly
perfectly good
good 'sense',
but not
not have
have aa truth-value.
truth-value. In
In our
our
still have
'sense', but
day,
Mr. P.
P. F.
F. Strawson
has also
a concept
concept of
a sentence's
sentence's
also introduced
introduced a
of a
Strawson has
day, Mr.
is not
not sufficient
sufficient to
to guarantee
guarantee that
that if
if it
it is
is uttered
uttered
having aa sense,
which is
sense, which
having
thereby made. We know its
its sense,
sense, if
if we know in
in what
what
a statement
is thereby
a
statement is
circumstances it
it could
could be used
used to
to make aa statement.
statement. Now,
Now, apart
apart
circumstances
from sentences
sentences containing
containing fictitious
fictitious proper
proper names,
names, Frege
Frege found
found his
his
from
of constructing
constructing such
such
view inconvenient;
inconvenient; he
he regarded
regarded the
the possibility
possibility of
view
of (a
(a priori)
priori) science.
science. 22 So when
sentences as
as aa defect
defect in
in the
the language
language of
sentences
1

1
1 This is
used rather
rather than
than 'p' because
because 'p'
'p' is
is generally
generally used
used for
for an
an elemenelemenThis is used
tary proposition,
proposition, and
and there
there is
is no
no requirement
requirement here
here that
that the
the value
value of
of 5 be
be
tary
elementary.
elementary.
2
2 In
In an
an empirical
empirical science,
science, such
such as
as astronomy,
astronomy, the
the possibility
possibility cannot
cannot be
be
regarded as
as aa defect
defect of
of language,
language, or
or legislated
legislated away.
away. e.g.
e.g. at
at one
one time
time itit was
was
regarded
thought that
that there
there was
was an
an extra
extra planet,
planet, which
which was
was called
called 'Vulcan*.
'Vulcan'. On
thought

r;

Frege's view
view propositions
propositions about
about Vulcan
Vulcan could
could not
not have
have aa truth-value.
truth-value.
Frege's

58
58

AN INTRODUCTION TO WITTGENSTEIN'S TRACTATUS

in developing
the foundations
of mathematics
mathematics
in
foundations of
developing the

he needed
needed to
to use
use aa
he

descriptive phrase
phrase which
as ordinarily
ordinarily interpreted
interpreted might
might have
have no
no
which as
descriptive
reference, he
he used
used an
reinterpretation to
to guarantee
guarantee that
that it
it
artificial reinterpretation
an artificial
reference,
this artificiality,
artificiality, as
as Russell
Russell remarks,
remarks, is
is an
an
had aa reference;
reference; 11 and
had
and this
objection
to
his
procedure.
Mr.
Strawson's
suggestion
has
not
has
to
Mr.
own
his procedure.
Strawson's
not
objection
suggestion
been
worked out
out for
us to
to estimate
estimate its
its value.
value.
been sufficiently
for us
sufficiently worked
It
is well
well known
known that
that Russell
Wittgenstein were
were on
on the
the other
other
It is
and Wittgenstein
Russell and
for
Wittgenstein
'having
a
sense'
was
one
and
the
side
side of
of this
was
and
the
a
one
this fence;
sense'
for
fence;
Wittgenstein 'having
at
same thing
with being
being true-or-false.
true-or-false. We have
have already
already seen
seen this
this at
thing with
3.24:
proposition in
in which
which aa complex
complex is
is mentioned
mentioned does
does not
not
3.24: 'The
'The proposition
become nonsensical
if the
the complex
not exist,
exist, but
but simply
simply false.'
false.'
become
does not
nonsensical if
complex does
And we see
again at
4.063, where
where he
he develops
develops an
an illustration
illustration of
of the
the
it again
see it
at 4.063,
truth by
by aa black
black spot
spot on
on white
white paper:
paper: black
black corresponds
corresponds
concept
of truth
concept of
to
white to
to false.
you indicate
indicate aa point
point on
on the
the surface,
surface, that
that
to true
true and
and white
If you
false. If
or
the
sense
of
a
is
like pointing
pointing to
to what
what Frege
calls
a
'thought',
is like
the
of
a
a
or
sense
calls
'thought',
Frege
and you
you are,
of
course,
pointing
to
something
that
is
in
sentence;
is
in
to
that
of
sentence; and
course, pointing
something
are,
fact
black or
white. But,
But, Wittgenstein
Wittgenstein says,
the point
point at
at which
which
fact either
either black
or white.
says, the
is this:
this: you
you can
can indicate
indicate aa point
point on
on aa sheet
sheet
the illustration
illustration goes
goes lame
lame is
the
of
paper without
without so
so much as
having aa notion
notion of
of black
black and
and white;
white;
of paper
as having
be indicating
indicating aa thought
thought withwithwhat would
would correspond
this would
would be
to this
correspond to
out
as having
having aa notion
notion of
true
and
false:
'but
to
a
proposiout so
so much as
false:
to
'but
a proposiof true and
tion without
without aa sense
there corresponds
corresponds nothing,
nothing, for
for aa proposition
proposition
tion
sense there
with the
the properties
properties called
called "true"
"true" and
and
doesn't
doesn't designate
an object
object with
designate an
"false";' as,
say, the
the description
of
a
point
designates
an
object
with
"false"
a
an
with
of
as, say,
object
point designates
description
That is
is to
to say,
say, unless
unless the
the
the properties
called 'black'
and 'white'.
'white'. That
the
'black' and
properties called
is already
already something
true or
false, he
he calls
it something
something
proposition
calls it
or false,
proposition is
something true
'without sense'.
'without
sense'.
Again,
at 4.064,
4.064, we find
Wittgenstein saying:
saying: 'Every
'Every proposition
proposition
find Wittgenstein
Again, at
must already
have aa sense;
sense; assertion
cannot give
give it
it one.'
Since this
this
one.' Since
assertion cannot
already have
is an attack
attack upon
upon Frege,
Frege, it
it may
may well
well confuse
a reader;
reader; for
for of
of course
course
is
confuse a
Frege
would agree
that every
(well-formed) sentence
sentence must
must already
already
Frege would
every (well-formed)
agree that
have aa sense!
But Wittgenstein
Wittgenstein holds
holds that
that what
what already
already has
has aa sense
sense
sense! But
;'

In school
school mathematics
mathematics one
one is
is told
told that
that *.~. does
does not
not mean any
any number
number
y
when y
a
y=O;
a
reinterpretation
in
Frege's
style
might
stipulate
that
when
in
0;
Frege's style might stipulate that when
reinterpretation
X
X
y0.~is
the number
number zz such
zy=x, and
and when
when y=0,
y=O,~ =x.
=x.
that zy=x,
such that
O, -is the
1 In

59
59

NEGATION: (1)
(1)

must already
already be
be true
true or
or false;
false; he
he is
is attacking
idea that
that in
in
must
attacking Frege's
Frege's idea
'advance from
a thought
thought to
to aa truth-value'.
truth-value'. 11
we 'advance
from a
Wittgenstein
remained on
this side
side of
the fence
fence all
all his
life; for
for in
in
on this
his life;
of the
Wittgenstein remained
the
very passage
passage of
Philosophical
Investigations
in
which
he
attacked
the very
of Philosophical Investigations in which he attacked
about complexes
which he
he expounded
expounded in
in the
the Tractatus,
Tractatus, he
he
the
the ideas
ideas about
complexes which
really prepared
prepared in
in advance
to say
what,
and
much,
asked:
asked 'Am II really
how
and
advance to
much,
say what,

judging
judging

has got
got to
to turn
turn out
out untrue
untrue before
before II give
give up
up my
my proposition
proposition about
about
has
Moses asfalseT
as false?' The
The kind
kind of
thing he
he has
has been
been considering
considering has
has been
been
Moses
of thing
to shew
that there
there was
was no
no such
such
facts
taken together,
together, would
tend to
facts that,
would tend
shew that
that, taken
person as
of giving
up the
the proposition
proposition about
about
as Moses;
and he
he spoke
Moses; and
person
spoke of
giving up
Moses, not
not as
as neither
neither true
true nor
nor false,
false, but
but as
as false.
false.
Moses,

It
will be
be worth
worth while
to say
say aa few
things about
about the
the FregeFregeIt will
while to
few things
the fence.
Frege
was
sure
that
a
well-formed
Strawson side
Strawson
side of
of the
sure
that
a
well-formed
fence. First,
was
First, Frege
sentence
whose names
names were
were not
not empty
empty had
had a
a truth-value.
truth-value. But
But is
is it
it
sentence whose
not
to be
be sure
sure of
of that?
that? Is
Is it
it not
not as
as if
if there
there were
were aa great
great metal
metal
not strange
strange to
and we had
had some
some way
way of
of casting
casting metal
metal objects,
objects,
wall with
with holes
holes in
it, and
wall
in it,
and were
that each
each object
object that
that was
was properly
properly cast
cast
and
were absolutely
certain that
absolutely certain
hole in
the wall
wall one
way up
up or
or the
the other
(the wellwellwould fit
fit into
into a
a hole
other (the
in the
one way
formed
proposition or
its negation
negation is
true) although
although no
no connection
connection
formed proposition
or its
is true)
had been
between the
the principles
principles of
of casting
casting objects
objects and
and the
the
had
been shewn
shewn between
of the
the metal
metal wall?
wall? The
The fact
that Frege's
Frege's account
account makes
character
character of
fact that
is aa sure
that he
he has
has gone
gone wrong,
wrong, like
like the
the
things
look like
like this
this is
sure sign
things look
sign that
accounts
which make 'Every
'Every proposition
proposition is
is either
either
accounts of
of 'true'
*true' and 'false'
'false' which
true or
like 'Every
rose is
is either
either red
red or
or yellow'.
yellow'. Frege's
Frege's reply
reply
true
or false'
false' like
'Every rose
to
this
would
be
that
a
sentence
is
only
well-formed
if
the
concepts
the
if
well-formed
to this would be that a sentence is only
concepts
it
are sharply
sharply defined,
defined, and
a concept
concept is
is sharply
sharply defined
defined if
if
it employs
and a
employs are
that
it
is determined
determined for
for every
object
whether
it
falls
under
that
concept
falls
under
it is
it
whether
concept
every object
or
problem now assumes
the form
form: how does
does it
it come about
or not.
not. The problem
assumes the
that
which this
this is
is determined,
determined, without
without any
any
that we can
can form
form concepts
for which
concepts for
the facts?
reference to
reference
to the
facts?
that the
the truth-conditions
truth-conditions deterdeterSecondly,
Frege actually
said that
actually said
Secondly, Frege
of
a
proposition.
specifies
the
truth-conditions,
mine
the
sense
the
He
sense
of
mine the
a proposition.
truth-conditions,
specifies
and therefore
he is
is working
working in
in an
an aa priori
priori discipline)
discipline) the
the
therefore (since
(since he
welltruth-value,
which
on
his
theory
is
also
the
reference,
of
any
wellof
the
is
which
his
also
on
any
reference,
theory
truth-value,
in his
he then
then adds,
adds, as
as if
if to
to anticipate
anticipate the
the
formed
formula in
his sy!.i.em;
formed formula
system; he
:

1 See 'Sense
and Reference',
Reference', in
Philosophical Writings
of Gottlob
in Philosophical
See 'Sense and
Writings of
Frege,
p. 65.
65.
Frege, p.

60
60

INrRODUCTION TO
AN INTRODUCTION

WTITGENSTEIN'S TRACTATUS
TRACfATUS
WITTGENSTEIN'S

objection
he has
has only
the reference
reference and
and not
not the
the sense,
sense,
that he
only specified
objection that
specified the
that the
the sense
of such
a formula
formula is
is the
the sense
sense of
of this
this: that
that its
its truthtruthsense of
such a
that
And
to
this,
mutatis
mutandis,
we
may
see aa
conditions
are
fulfilled.
to this, mutatis mutandis,
conditions are fulfilled.
may see
correspondence
in
Mr.
Strawson's
'knowing
in
what
circumstances
in
what
in
Mr. Strawson's 'knowing
circumstances
correspondence
the sentence
be used
to make
make aa statement'.
propositions
statement'. The propositions
could be
the
used to
sentence could
or
describing
the
circumstances
in
embodying
the
truth-conditions,
the
the
or
circumstances
in
describing
truth-conditions,
embodying
which aa sentence
could be
used to
to make
make aa statement,
must themselves
themselves
which
sentence could
be used
statement, must
be either
true or
false, or
require explanation
explanation in
in terms
terms of
of further
further
or require
either true
or false,
be
further circumstances.
circumstances. In
In view
view of
this, the
the FregeFregetruth-conditions, or
of this,
or further
truth-conditions,
the possibility
possibility of
sentences without
without truthtruth-value
Strawson
position on
of sentences
on the
value
Strawson position
of time:
in such
such an
an account
account the
the concept
concept of
of
appears
be aa waste
waste of
to be
time: in
appears to
'sense'
is not
not divorced
those of
truth and
and falsehood;
it
is
merely
it
is
divorced from
from those
of truth
'sense' is
falsehood;
merely
of the
the truth-conditions
truth-conditions of
of aa proposiproposidetermined
that when
when certain
certain of
determined that
are to
to say
that 'nothing
either true
true or
or false
false has
has been
been
tion are
false we are
tion
are false
'nothing either
say that
said'.
said'.
We have
have observed
observed that
that the
the most
most striking
difference between
between the
the
striking difference
coin-tossing
tables and
the truth-tables
truth-tables is
is that
that in
in the
the former
use
and the
former we use
coin-tossing tables
out the
the possible
possible results
results of
of coin-tossing
coin-tossing
different
in setting
different symbols
setting out
symbols in
on these
these results.
results. Now let
let us
us suppose
that we
and the
possible bets
bets on
and
the possible
suppose that
have aa coin
with 'win'
written on
one side
side and
and 'lose'
the other,
other,
'win' written
'lose' on the
on one
coin with
have
said that
that we bet
bet on
on the
the coin's
coming up
up 'win'
or 'lose'
'lose'
so
'win' or
coin's coming
that we said
so that
'tails'. Then aa bet
bet that
that the
the coin
would 'win'
'win'
rather
'heads' and
than 'heads'
and 'tails'.
rather than
coin would
-aa bet,
bet, so
to speak,
speak, in
agreement with
with the
the coin
coin-on
the one
one hand,
hand,
in agreement
so to
on the
and
bet that
that the
the coin
would lose,
lose, would
would be
exactly comparable
comparable
be exactly
a bet
coin would
and a
a single
singli! proposition:
proposition:
to the
truth-functions of
of a
the two
two truth-functions
to
:

p
P

T
F

immediately arisesfthat
arises"that while
while we have
have aa good
good sense
sense
The objection
objection immediately
and 'losing'
connection with
with aa bet
whether the
the
for
in connection
bet on whether
for 'winning'
'winning' and
'losing' in
the other,
coin
will fall
fall one side
side up
up or
or the
other, there
there really
really is
is no sense
in these
these
coin will
sense in
of the
the coin
themselves, except
except that
that we
terms
applied to
to the
sides of
as applied
the sides
coin themselves,
terms as
happen
to
write
this
sign
one
side
and
that
the
other.
The
signs
write
to
this
on
one
side
that
the
on
other.
The
happen
sign
signs
are
not really
really the
the same;
any
than
'jam'
is
the
same
in
than
are not
more
the
in
is
same
word
same; any
'jam'
in
and
in
Latin.
that
may
be
so:
but
have
in
fact
English
Latin.
Now
that
be
so:
but
in
fact
have
we
English
may

NEGATION: (1)
(1)

61
61

already
parallel difficulty
difficulty in
connection with
with using
using
encountered a
a parallel
in connection
already encountered
the word
'true' for
for the
the elementary
elementary propositions
propositions and
and for
for the
the truthtruththe
word 'true'
may be
be intuitively
obvious that
that there
there is
no equivocaequivocafunctions.
It may
functions. It
is no
intuitively obvious
is
certainly
extremely
natural
to
give
the
explanations
tion;
and
it
it
is
and
tion;
certainly extremely natural to give the explanations
found
in the
books and
and then
then simply
simply get
get on
with the
the calculus.
calculus.
the logic
found in
on with
logic books
But our
were
reasonable
ones;
if
there
is
no
way of
of
were
But
our questions
reasonable
if
there
is
no
questions
ones;
way
answering
them, and
just to
to rely
rely on
on our
our intuition,
intuition, that
that is
is of
of
and we have
have just
answering them,
itself an
rate, it
it is
is important
important for
philosophy.
an important
at any
itself
fact
for philosophy.
important fact-at
any rate,
however, does
does attempt
to give
give an
answer to
to these
these
The Tractatus,
an answer
Tractatus, however,
attempt to
of these
these two
two uses
uses of
of the
the
questions
tha.IPthat
other thai*
the correctness
that the
correctness of
questions other
intuitively obvious.
obvious. II opened
opened by
by raising
raising
words
'true' and
and 'false'
'false' is
is intuitively
words 'true'
a definition
'not p*
p' as
proposition
the
question: If
If we offer
offer a
the question:
of 'not
definition of
as 'that
'that proposition
is true
true when p
p is
is false
false and
and false
when p
p is
is true'
true' how can
can this
this
which
which is
false when
be
justified if
are not
not assured
assured that
that there
there is
is such
such aa proposition,
proposition, and
and
if we are
be justified
only
one? Now grounds
saying that
that there
there is
is only
only one
one
are given
for saying
grounds are
only one?
given for
such
proposition at
be said
that what
what is
is common to
to
'It could
at 5.513:
5.513 'It
could be
such proposition
said that
all
that assert
assert pp as
as well
well as
as q,
is the
the proposition
proposition "p.q."
all symbols
symbols that
q, is
"p.q." What
is common to
to all
that either
either assert
assert pp or
or assert
assert q,
q, is
is the
the
all symbols
is
symbols that
proposition
"p
v
q".
v
proposition "p
q".
'And
this way
way it
it can
be said:
said: Two propositions
propositions are
opposed
in this
can be
'And in
are opposed
to
if
they
have
nothing
in
common,
and:
Every
propoif
in
have
and:
to one
one another,
common,
another,
they
nothing
Every proposition
has only
only one
negative, because
because there
there is
is only
only one
one proposition
proposition
one negative,
sition has
wholly outside
it.'
which is
outside it.*
is wholly
which
In
the first
first of
of these
these paragraphs,
paragraphs, we must
must understand
understand that
that it
it is
is the
the
In the
propositions 'p.q'
'p vv q'
that are
being explained
explained in
in terms
terms of
of
are being
and *p
q that
'p.q' and
propositions
what
is
common
to
a
class
of
symbols.
have
already
seen
Witta
of
We
have
to
class
what is
symbols.
already seen Wittor
genstein
(3.341) that
that the
the essential
thing about
about aa symbol,
symbol, or
essential thing
saying (3.341)
genstein saying
the real
real symbol,
symbol, is
is what
what all
all symbols
symbols that
that do
do the
the same
same job
job have
have in
in
the
common. If
then there
there is
is anything
anything that
that aa set
set of
of propositions
propositions all
all say,
say,
If then
is common to
to that
set of
of propositions
propositions he
he calls
calls the
the real
real
then what
what is
that set
then
symbol
for the
the thing
thing that
they all
all say.
you might
might say
say that
that aa set
set of
of
that they
So you
say. So
symbol for
propositions, 'A
'A is
is red*,
red', 'A
is green',
green', 'A is
is blue*,
blue', etc.,
etc., have
have something
something
*A is
propositions,
'real symbol'
all say,
namely: 'A
is coloured.'
coloured.' And the
the 'real
symbol' for
for 'A
they all
*A is
say, namely:
they
is
will be
be what is
is common to
to the
the propositions
propositions 'A is
is red%
red',
is coloured'
coloured' will
'A
green', 'A is
is blue',
blue', etc.
etc.
A isis green',
of independent
independent propositions
propositions has
has something
something that
that
set of
Now any
any set
a
they
all
say;
what
this
is
is
brought
out
by
writing
out
a
truth-table
out
is
out
truth-table
is
what
this
all
by
writing
brought
say;
they
:

62
62

INTRODUCilON TO
AN INTRODUCTION

WITTGENSTEIN'S TRACTATUS
WITTGENSTEIN'S

where all
all places
places but
but the
the bottom
bottom are
marked T,
'T', the
the bottom
bottom place
place
are marked
where
having
having

F in
it opposite
opposite the
row of
ofF's
the matrix.
matrix. This
truth-table
This truth-table
F's of
of the
F
in it
the row
true
by
the
truth
of
any
one of
of
specifies
a
proposition,
which
is
made
specifies a proposition, which is made true by the truth of any one
the
components; hence
hence II call
it
something
that
they
all
say.
that
all
And
the components;
it
call
they
say.
something
according
to Wittgenstein's
Wittgenstein's dictum,
the 'real
symbol' for
this will
will be
be
for this
'real symbol'
dictum, the
according to
what is
is common to
all. But
But the
the proposition
proposition in
in question
is
of
is
of
what
to them
them all.
question
course
the disjunction
disjunction of
of them
them all:
all: and
hence the
the 'real
'real symbol'
for
and hence
course the
symbol' for
is what
what is
to all
all propositions*
propositions- that
that either
either assert
assert
e.g.
pv
vq
is common to
e.g. p
q is
p
q.
or assert
assert q.
p or
How the
the common thing
a set
set of
of symbols,
symbols, and hence
hence the
the
about a
thing about
is
to
be
described
is
a
matter
of
which
the
Tractatus
'real
which
the
'real symbol',
matter
of
Tractatus
symbol', is to be described is a
an account
account in
the range
range of
entries under
under 3.31,
3.31, that
that is
is to
to say,
say,
gives
in the
of entries
gives an
3.31-3.318,
and
there
is
further
matter
relevant
to
the
specification
of
is
matter
relevant
to
the
there
further
and
3.31-3.318,
specification of
sets
of propositions
propositions at
Let us
us assume
that the
the account
account is
is
sets of
at 5.501.
5.501. Let
assume that
For our
our present
purpose is
is to
to shew
shew how Wittgenstein
Wittgenstein
satisfactory. For
satisfactory.
present purpose
justify our
assurance that
that every
every proposition
proposition has
has only
only
proposes to
to justify
our assurance
proposes
one
negative.
one negative.
to one
one another
another if
if they
they have
have
'Two propositions
propositions are
are opposed
opposed to
nothing
in
common.'
That
is
to
say,
if
there
is
nothing
that
they
in
if
there
That
is
to
is
that
common.'
nothing
say,
nothing
they
both say.
In
this
sense
'The
King
of
France
is
bald'
and
'The
King
both
In
sense
'The
France
is
The
of
bald'
and
this
say.
King
King
of
is not
not bald'
bald' are
are not
not opposed
opposed to
to one
one another
another (if
(if the
the latter
latter
of France
France is
substituting 'The
King of
of France'
France' for
for 'x'
in 'x
'x is
is not
not
is the
result of
the result
is
'x' in
of substituting
'The King
bald'), for
there is
that they
they both
both say.
say. This
out in
in
for there
is something
This comes out
bald'),
something that
the fact
that 'The
'The King
King of
of France
bald or
or the
the King
King of
of France
France is
the
fact that
France is
is bald
is
not bald'
bald' may
may not
not hold,
hold, namely
namely if
there is
is no King
King of
of France;
France; the
the
not
if there
that some one
one of
of the
the
proposition therefore
therefore asserts
asserts something,
something, viz.
viz. that
proposition
situations
which it
it would hold
hold is
is actual;
actual; it
it asserts
asserts something
in which
situations in
besomething because these
these situations
situations are
are not
not an
list of
all possible
possible
an exhaustive
exhaustive list
of all
not hold.
hold.
situations;
excludes the
the situation
situation in
in which
which it
it would not
it excludes
situations; it
He goes
goes on to
to say:
proposition has
has only
only one
negative, bebeone negative,
say: 'Every
'Every proposition
cause there
there is
is only
one proposition
proposition that
that lies
lies wholly
wholly outside
it.' Let
Let
outside it.'
only one
test this
that there
there might
might be
be two.
two. Ex hypothesi,
hypothesi, these
these
us test
this by
by supposing
supposing that
two must have
be possible
possible for
for one
one to
to
have different
different senses,
senses, i.e.
i.e. it
it must be
hold and the
the other
not. Let
Let us
us write
write them as
as not-p
not-p (1)
(I) and not-p
not-p (2).
(2).
other not.
p and not-p
not-p (1)
(1) could
could be
be false,
false, if
what held
held
Then the
the disjunction
disjunction of
of p
if what
were not-p
(2). So the
the disjunction
of
p
not-p
(1)
does
assert
and
of
does
assert
not-p (2).
disjunction
not-p (1)
p
there is
asserted by
by both
both pp and not-p
not-p (1),
(1),
something,
is something
something, and there
something asserted

NEGATION: (1)
(1)
NEGATION:

63
63

that some
some one
one of
of the
the situations
situations in
in which
which the
the disjunction
disjunction
namely that
namely
hold is
is actual.
actual. It
It follows
follows that
that there
there can
can be
be at
at most
most one
one propopropowould hold
would
sition that
that has
has 'nothing
'nothing in
in common'
common' with
with any
any given
given proposition.
proposition.
sition
There can
can of
of course
course be
be many
many propositional
prepositional signs
signs for
for this
this proposition,
proposition,
There
but their
their sense
sense will
will all
all be
be the
the same.
same.
but
That there
there can
can be
be at
at most
most one
one proposition
proposition of
of this
this character
character for
for
That
not
shew
that
there
is
one;
and
must
any
given
proposition
does
must
and
we
not
shew
that
there
is
does
one;
any given proposition
next shew
shew how this
this is
is made out
out in
in the
the Tractatus.
Tractatus.
next

4
4

NEGATION: (2)
(2) THE PICTURE THEORY
been troubled
troubled by
by the
the procedure
procedure of
of the
the logic
logic books in
in e.g.
e.g.
have been
We have
placing
signs, T and
F, under
under the
signs of
the elementary
elementary
the signs
of the
the same
same signs,
and F,
placing the
proposition in
the truth-table
truth-table and
the final
final column,
column, and by
by the
the
in the
in the
and in
proposition
justifications of
of this
this procedure,
which consist
consist in
in quasi-factual
quasi-factual proproprocedure, which
justifications
nouncements.
us now consider
remedying this
this procedure.
procedure. II adopt
adopt
Let us
nouncements. Let
consider remedying
two new signs,
N, which
which mean 'Positive'
'Positive' and 'Negative',
'Negative',
and N,
two
signs, P and
put under
under the
for the
the elementary
elementary propositions:
propositions:
which II put
which
the signs
signs for
p
P
p
P

T
F

F
T

The proposition
which is
is an
an element
element in
in a truth-function
truth-function is
is thus
thus
proposition which
introduced
as having
having two
two senses,
the
positive
the
negative,
rather
and
rather
the
the
introduced as
senses,
positive
negative,
than two truthtruth-values,
false.
than
true and false.
values, true
for looking
looking at
it like
like this,
tliis,
Now there
there is
is actually
at it
foundation for
actually some foundation
in
the Tractatus
Tractatus itself.
Wittgenstein writes:
writes: 'The
'The proposiproposiin the
itself. At 4.463
4.463 Wittgenstein
the picture,
tion, the
picture, the
the model,
model, in
the negative
negative sense
sense are
are like
like aa solid
solid
in the
tion,
body, which restricts
restricts the
the free
free movements of
of another;
another; in
in the
the positive
positive
body,
like the
sense,
limited by
by solid
substance, in
in which a
a body
body may
may
the space
solid substance,
sense, like
space limited
be placed.'
placed.' Here at
rate aa proposition,
proposition, as
as well
well as
a picture
picture or
or
at any
as a
any rate
model,
is conceived as
that
can
have
both
a
positive
as something
that
have
and
a
both
model, is
something
positive
aa negative
sense.
negative sense.
far as
as concerns
a picture,
picture, this
this is
is quite
quite reasonable.
reasonable. It
is in
in fact
fact
As far
concerns a
It is
connected with one of the
the objections
that it
it is
is most natural
natural to
to feel
feel to
to
objections that
Wittgenstein's
'picture' theory
theory of
the position.
position. A picture
picture is
is not
not like
like
of the
Wittgenstein's 'picture'
a proposition
proposition: it
say anything.
picture is
is not
not an
an assertion
assertion
it doesn't
doesn't say
anything. A picture
:

64

65
65

NEGATION: (2)
(2)

that something
like it
it is
is to
to be
be found
found somewhere
in the
the world,
world, wherewherethat
somewhere in
something like
as
in aa proposition
proposition something
is said
said to
be the
the case.
case. If
If we
we accept
accept
as in
to be
something is
Wittgenstein's
at 4.022
that 'A
'A proposition
proposition shews
shews how things
things
dictum at
4.022 that
Wittgenstein's dictum
are
it is
it says
says that
that they
they are
are so\
so', we
we might
might say:
say: 'Just
'Just this
this
are if
true. And it
is true.
if it
shews
the difference
between aa proposition
proposition and
and aa picture;
picture; for
for while
while
shews the
difference between
a picture
picture may
may be
be said
said to
shew how things
things are,
are, if
there is
is something
something
a
to shew
//there
it
is
a
correct
representation
of,
it
certainly
does
not
say
that
that is
is
it is a correct representation of, it certainly does not say that that
things are;
are; the
the most
most that
could grant
grant would
would be
be that
that we
we
how things
that one
one could
could
use the
the picture
picture in
things are
are: we
we could
could hold
hold the
the
could use
in saying
saying how things
picture
up
and
ourselves
say:
"This
is
things
are."
'
and
ourselves
is
are."
how
"This
picture up
say:
things
in fact
this is
point. For
For in
order to
to be
be able
able
fact this
Now in
is Wittgenstein's
in order
Wittgenstein's point.
to do
it is
is necessary
necessary that
that the
the
do this
this in
in a
a quite
to
sense, it
quite straightforward
straightforward sense,
elements
the picture
picture should
should be
be correlated
correlated with
with objects.
of the
elements of
objects.
For example,
here is
a picture:
picture:
For
is a
example, here
:

'

and if
I have
correlated the
the right-hand
right-hand figure
figure with
with aa man A,
A, and
and the
the
if I
and
have correlated
then II can
hold the
the picture
picture up
up and
and say
say:
left-hand
figure with
with aa man B,
can hold
left-hand figure
B, then
:

'This
'This

is how things
things are.'
But II can
can just
just as
as well
well hold
hold the
the picture
picture up
up
are.' But
and say:
things aren't.'
aren't.'
*This is
is how things
say: 'This
If
you could
could not
not do
this with,
with, say,
the figures
figures drawn or
or painted
painted
do this
If you
say, the
on aa piece
piece of
of paper,
paper, once
once they
they had been
been correlated
correlated with
with actual
people
actual people
or
then
what
was
on
the
paper
would
not
be
a
picture,
but
be
a
the
would
not
or objects,
then
what
was
on
picture, but
paper
objects,
aa set
set of
figures each
of which
which was
was correlated
with some object.
object.
correlated with
each of
of figures
I may
for example
draw aa figure
figure here
here
I
example draw
may for
is

66
66

AN INTRODUCTION
INTRODUCriON TO WITTGENSTEIN'S TRACTATUS
TRACfATUS

and
another figure
figure here
here
draw another
and then
it 'Plato';
then draw
and call
call it
'Plato'; and

and
'Socrates'; the
the two
two figures
figures do
do not
not together
together constitute
constitute aa
call it
it 'Socrates'
and call
picture,
because
although
of
course
there
is
a
relation
between
them
a
there
is
relation
between
course
of
them
because
although
picture,
-they
are, say,
certain distance
apart on aa single
single leaf
leaf-this
relaa certain
distance apart
this relasay, a
they are,
tion is
is non-significant.
non-significant. Whereas
Whereas in
the drawing
drawing of
of the
the two
two men
in the
tion
fencing
the relation
relation of
the ink
strokes constituting
constituting the
the drawing
drawing of
of
ink strokes
of the
fencing the
the
those constituting
constituting the
the drawing
drawing of
the second
second man
of the
and those
first man and
the first
was significant.
was
significant.
The isolated
isolated figures
figures labelled
labelled 'Plato'
'Plato' and 'Socrates'
'Socrates' each
each consist
consist
of
in significant
significant relationship,
relationship, and hence
hence it
it seems
seems reasonable
reasonable
of strokes
strokes in
to speak
figures, one
one with
with one
one person,
person, another
another
such figures,
of correlating
to
correlating such
speak of
with another.
another. But
But if
I just
just put
put aa single
single stroke
if I
stroke
with
;

and then
then another
another stroke
stroke

I
the sense
there was
was in
in saying
saying 'correlate
the first
first mark with
with one
one
the
'correlate the
sense that
that there
person
the
second
with
another'
vanish.
If
someone
said
the
second
with
and
would
another'
If
vanish.
said
person
this, we should
wait for
to be
be done
done with
with the
the strokes;
should wait
for something
this,
something to
strokes; we
might
think that
that this
announcement was
was aa preparation
preparation for
for somethis announcement
somemight think
thing;
unless it
it is
that it
it is
is not
not anything
at all.
all. Suppose
Suppose II said:
'That
is that
said: 'That
thing; unless
anything at
door stands
for Dante and that
that table
table for
for Bertrand
Bertrand Russell'.
Russell'. My
stands for
audience would,
audience
would, if
if anything,
look at
at me enquiringly
enquiringly and
and say:
say: 'Well?'
'Well?'
anything, look
And here
here 'Well?'
'Well?' means 'Do something
something to
to shew the
the point
point of
of
and
that
this';
that
'Let
something
else
into
such
a
relationmeans
'Let
else
come
into
such
a
relationthis';
something
this door,
ship
with this
again with
with this
this table,
table, that
that the
the terms
terms in
in relation
relation
or again
door, or
ship with

NEGATION:

(2)
(2)

67
67

represent something.'
could say:
say: 'Only
'Only in
in the
the connections
connections that
that
represent
something.' We could
make up
up the
the picture
picture can
the elements
elements of
of the
the picture
picture stand
stand for
for
can the

We

objects.'
objects.'
The picture-theory
picture-theory of
of the
proposition is
is that
that the
the proposition
proposition in
in
the proposition
the positive
positive sense
sense says:
says: 'This
'This is
things are'
are' and
in the
the negative
negative
the
is how things
and in
aren't'-the
in both
both cases
cases being
being
sense
is how things
things aren't'
'This is
sense says:
the 'this'
'this in
says: 'This
of the
the 'this*
'this'
the same
same: the
the comparison
comparison is
a comparison
comparison with
with aa picture
picture of
is a
the
in
because of
of the
the character
of the
the 'this'
'this' that
that there
there is
is the
the
It is
is because
in question.
character of
question. It
possibility of
of saying
things are'
are' or
or 'it's
'it's how things
things aren't'.
aren't'.
'it's how things
saying 'it's
possibility
And this
is in
in pictures,
pictures, ordinary
pictures, themselves
themselves-all
this character
character is
all
ordinary pictures,
that
is
required
for
the
possibility
to
be
actualized
is that
that their
their
is
for
the
that
required
possibility to be actualized is
to tell
tell us
us why
why WittWittfigures be
be correlated
correlated with
with objects.
objects. This
begins to
This begins
figures
genstein
says
at
2.182
that
'Every
picture
is
also
a
logical
picture';
at
2.182
that
is
also
a
'Every picture
genstein says
logical picture';
and
2.1514 that
that 'the
picturing relation
relation consists
consists of
of the
the co-ordinaco-ordinaat 2.1514
'the picturing
and at
the elements
elements of
the picture
picture and
and of
of the
the things'.
things'.
tions
of the
of the
tions of
The quite
possibility of
of doing
doing this
this depends
depends on
on
straightforward possibility
quite straightforward
the correlations'
correlations' having
having been
been made;
made; now this
this correlation
correlation is
is in
in one
one
the
picture of
two men fencing
fencing was intelligible
intelligible
way quite
quite external.
external. The picture
of two
way
as
picture, without
without our
our making
any
correlations
of
the
figures
with
a picture,
correlations
of
the
as a
making any
figures with
to
this
picture,
without
indiindividual
men. We might
might compare
individual men.
to
this
without
indipicture,
compare
at 3.24
3.24 calls
calls the
the 'proto'protovidual correlations,
correlations, what
what Wittgenstein
Wittgenstein at
vidual
picture'
occurring
in
the
generality
notation:
the
'xRy',
for
example,
in
the
the
notation:
for
occurring
generality
'xRy',
example,
picture'
in
in '(Ex)(y)xRy'.
'(Ex)(y)xRy\
have called
of the
the correlations
correlations between
between the
the
called the
the externality
What II have
externality of
of aa picture
picture and
and actual
actual objects
objects is
is an important
important feature
feature of
of
elements
elements of
Wittgenstein's account.
account. Giancarlo
s.J., the
the Italian
Italian transtransGiancarlo Colombo,
Colombo, s.j.,
Wittgenstein's
lator of
Wittgenstein's theory
theory of
of the
the
the Tractatus,
of the
lator
Tractatus, commented on Wittgenstein's
'isomorphism',
as
it
is
called,
between
language
the
world,
that
and
the
it
between
as
that
is
called,
language
world,
'isomorphism',
it was
was difficult
difficult to
to see
why aa described
described fact
fact should
should not
not be
be regarded
regarded as
as
see why
it
itself aa description
the proposition
proposition that
that would normally
normally be
be said
said
of the
itself
description of
to describe
rather than
than the
other way
way round.
round. And as
as far
far as
as conconthe other
to
describe it,
it, rather
cerns
of proposition
proposition and fact,
fact, this
this is
is aa strong
strong
internal features
features of
the internal
cerns the
point;
for all
the internal
internal features
are supposed
to be
be identical
identical in
in the
the
features are
all the
supposed to
point; for
the
described
fact.
proposition
(or
describing
fact)
described
fact.
and
the
proposition (or describing fact)
But after
after having
having stated
stated at
2.15 that
that the
the way
way the
the elements
elements are
are
at 2.15
But
connected in
in the
the picture
picture is
is the
the same as
as the
the way
way it
it sets
sets forth
forth the
the things
things
connected
as
being connected,
connected, Wittgenstein
goes on to
to compare
compare it
it to
to aa ruler
ruler
as being
Wittgenstein goes
9

68
68

AN INTRODUCTION TO

WITTGENSTEIN'S TRACTATUS

which you
you set
set up
up against
object (2.1512-2.15121)
and then
then says:
says:
an object
which
(2.1512-2.15121) and
against an
(2.1513)
to this
this conception,
conception, the
the picture
picture must
must have
have in
in
(2.1513) 'According
According to
addition
the depicting
depicting relation
relation which
which makes
makes it
it into
into aa picture'
picture' ;l1 and,
and,
addition the
as
we have
have already
already seen,
this depicting
depicting relation
relation consists
of the
the
consists of
as we
seen, this
correlations
with objects
(2.1514).
correlations with
objects (2.1514).
Thus
there are
two distinct
distinct features
features belonging
belonging to
to aa picture
picture (in
(in
Thus there
are two
the ordinary
ordinary sense
of 'picture'):
first, the
the relation
relation between
between the
the eleelethe
sense of
'picture') first,
the picture;
picture; and
the correlations
correlations of
of the
the elements
elements in
in
ments of
of the
ments
and second,
second, the
the picture
picture with
with things
things outside
outside the
the picture;
picture; and as
have seen,
the
as we have
the
seen, the
to aa picture
picture before
before the
the second
one can
can; only
only
first
must belong
second one
first feature
feature must
belong to
if
relations
hold
among
the
elements
of
the
picture
can
of
elements
the
the
if significant
hold
relations
among
picture can
significant
they
be
correlated
with
objects
outside
so
as
to
stand
for
them.
The
to
stand
so
as
for
them.
outside
be
with
correlated
The
objects
they
not something
something that
that the
the picture
picture itself
itself does;
does; it
it is
is somesomecorrelating
is not
correlating is
thing we do.
do.
thing
We see
this at
where Wittgenstein
Wittgenstein says:
'Frege says:
says:
at 5.4733,
see this
says: 'Frege
5.4733, where
Every
Every
well-formed proposition
proposition must
must have
have aa sense;
sense; and II say:
say: Every
Every well-formed
it doesn't
doesn't make sense,
sense,
possible
proposition is
is well-formed,
well-formed, and if
if it
possible proposition
of
our
not
having
supplied
any
reference
for
some
this
come
reference
for
can only
of
not
this can
our
some
having supplied any
only
of
parts.'
Wittgenstein
means
by
'Every
What
of its
its component
means
by 'Every
Wittgenstein
component parts.'
is well-formed'
well-formed' is
is that
that the
the relations
relations that
that must
must
possible proposition
proposition is
possible
if aa sentence
sentence is
is to
to be
be aa sentence
at all
all
hold
between the
the elements
sentence at
hold between
elements if
must be
be there
also in
in any
any nonsensical
nonsensical sentence,
sentence, if
if you
you could
could make this
this
there also
must
have
a perfectly
perfectly good
good sense
just by
by changing
the kind
kind of
of reference
reference
have a
sense just
changing the
that some part
part of
the sentence
sentence had.
had. Here it
it is
is 'we'
'we' who 'give'
'give' aa sign
sign
of the
that
its
reference.
its reference.
This
is why
why at
Wittgenstein says
says that
that *A
'A proposition
proposition has
has in
in
at 3.13
This is
3.13 Wittgenstein
it
that aa projection
projection has;
has; but
but it
it hasn't
hasn't got
got the
the projected
projected
it everything
everything that
has the
the possibility
possibility of
the projected
projected thing
thing in
in it,
it, but
but
thing
in it;
it has
of the
so it
it; so
thing in
not the
very thing
thing itself:
itself: And so
the proposition
proposition does
does not
not yet
yet contain
contain
the very
so the
its
what it
does contain
the possibility
possibility of
of expressing
that
its sense;
it does
contain is
is the
sense; what
expressing that
*

1
Ogden's
rendering of
of this
this sentence:
sentence: 'the
'the representing
representing relation
relation ... also
also
Ogden's rendering
belongs
picture' can
be misleading.
misleading. There
There is
is evidence
evidence in
in Ramsey's
Ramsey's
to the
the picture'
can be
belongs to
review of
atus (since
Ramsey helped
helped with
with the
the translation)
translation) that
that it
it
of the
the Tract
review
Tractatus
(since Ramsey
was
intended in
was intended
in an
an incorrect
incorrect sense.
Ramsey says
says that
that the
the elements
elements 'are
'are
sense. Ramsey
co-ordinated with
co-ordinated
with the
the objects
objects by
by the
the representing
representing relation
relation which
which belongs
belongs
of Mathematics,
Mathematics, p.
p. 27
271).
This interpretation
interpretation
to.the picture'
picture' (Foundations
to.the
(Foundations of
J). This
throws
throws Wittgenstein's
Wittgenstein's quite
quite straightforward
idea into
into obscurity;
the sensenstraightforward idea
obscurity; the
tence has
no such
such obscurity
obscurity for
for educated
native speakers
speakers of
German.
tence
has no
educated native
of German.
.

(2)
NEGATION: (2)

69
69

sense
the form of
of its
but not
not its
its content.'
content.' 11 The
The
... It
It contains
sense.....
contains the/orm
its sense,
sense, but
that the
the
reason
why
the
proposition
doesn't
'contain
its
sense'
is that
reason why the proposition doesn't 'contain its sense' is
correlations
are
made
by
us;
we
mean
the
objects
by
the
components
correlations are
mean the objects by the components
by us;
of the
the proposition
proposition in
this is
is part
part of
of what
what is
is meant
meant
of
in 'thinking
its sense':
sense' this
'thinking its
at
'The method
method of
of projection
projection is
the thinking
thinking of
of the
the sense
of the
the
3. 1 1 : 'The
at 3.11
is the
sense of
It
is
'use
the
sensibly
perceptible
signs
as
a
proposition.'
It
who
is
we
'use
the
a
as
proposition.'
sensibly perceptible signs
of aa possible
possible state
do this
this by
by using
using the
the
projection
state of
of affairs';
projection of
affairs'; we do
the proposition
proposition to
to stand
the objects
objects whose
whose possible
possible
elements
elements of
stand for
of the
for the
the arrangement
arrangement of
of the
the elements
elements
configuration
are reproducing
in the
configuration we are
reproducing in
of
the proposition.
proposition. This
This is
is what
what Wittgenstein
Wittgenstein means
means by
by calling
calling the
the
of the
It
is
at
any
rate
clear
enough
that
we
could
proposition
a
picture.
It
a
is
at
could
proposition
picture.
any rate clear enough that
use
this way.
in this
use a
a picture
way.
picture in
if we
Now, confining
confining ourselves
ourselves to
to pictures,
pictures, it
it is
is also
also clear
that if
clear that
Now,
'thinkll
the picture'
picture' by
by correlating
correlating its
its elements
elements with
with
'think2 the
the sense
sense of
of the
actual
can in
think it
it in
in either
either of
of two
ways: namely
namely
in fact
actual objects,
fact think
two ways:
objects, we can
is the
the case,
case, or
as depicting
depicting what
what isn't
isn't the
the
either
what is
either as
as depicting
or as
depicting what
is to
to say,
say, there
two senses
senses which
which we can
'think' in
in
case.
That is
there are
case. That
are two
can 'think'
connection
with the
the picture.
picture. For
it is
is the
the very
very same picture
picture we hold
hold
connection with
For it
wish to
to say
that it
holds or
or that
that it
doesn't hold.
hold. Or again,
again, if
if II
up if
it doesn't
if we wish
// holds
say that
up
a
picture
and
say
'If
I
correlate
the
elements
of
this
picture
hold
I
a
'If
correlate
of
hold up
and
the
elements
this
say
picture
up picture
can say
something by
by holding
holding it
it up',
up', someone
someone might
might
with
things, II can
with things,
say something
reply: There
There are
are two
two things
things you
you could
could assert
assert in
in holding
holding the
the picture
picture
reply:
up: first
and second
the non-existence,
non-existence, of
of that
that situation
second the
situation
first the
the existence,
existence, and
up
is represented
represented by
by the
the picture
picture so
soon as
as its
its elements
elements are
are
which is
so soon
which
not
correlated
with objects.
the difference
difference between
between the
the two
two is
is not
correlated with
objects. And the
that the
relations between
between the
the elements
elements are
are taken
taken to
to be
be different;
different; on
that
the relations
exactly the
the same.
the
contrary, they
they are
same.
the contrary,
are exactly
It
is clear
that one
must convey
convey what
what situation
one is
is saying
does
situation one
It is
one must
clear that
saying does
not
and this
this will
will be
be conveyed
conveyed precisely
precisely by
by the
the picture
picture depicting
depicting
not exist,
exist, and
that situation.
other picture
picture could
be involved:
involved: you
you could
not for
for
could not
could be
that
situation. No other
picture of
the situation's
situation's not
not existing.
existing. We must be
be
example
a picture
of the
example make a
:

1
1 Wittgenstein's use
of 'projection'
is aa metaphorical
metaphorical extension
extension of
of the
the
'projection' is
Wittgenstein's use of
of straight
straight
mathematical
use, which
which may
be explained
thus: "The
'The drawing
drawing of
mathematical use,
may be
explained thus:
of aa given
figure, so
so as
as to
to produce
produce aa new figure
figure
lines
point of
lines through
given figure,
through every
every point
each
point of
of which
which corresponds
to a point
point of
of the
the original
original figure.'
figure.' The new
each point
corresponds to
figure is
is also
also said
said to
to be
a projection
projection 0/the
of the original
original one,
one, which
which is
is projected
projected
be a
figure
into
it (cf.
(cf. The
Shorter Oxford
Dictionary).
The Shorter
into it
Oxford Dictionary).
2 This is a
2
which it
it seems
seems necessary
necessary to
to retain
retain in
in English.
English.
This is a Germanism which

70
70

AN INI'RODUcnON
WITI'GI!NSTEIN'S TRACTATUS
TRACfATUS
INTRODUCTION TO WITTGENSTEIN'S

careful
to confuse
confuse what
what is
not the
case with
with what
what is
is the
the case
case
careful not
not to
the case
is not
of it;
it; if
you tried
tried to
to make
make aa picture
picture of
situation's not
not
instead
instead of
a situation's
of a
if you
existing
you would
would only
picture of
of what
what did
did exist
exist instead
instead of
of
make aa picture
existing you
only make
it.
The
only
exception
to
this
is
when
we
have
the
convention
that
it. The only exception to this is when
have the convention that
not shewing
that the
the thing
thing does
does not
not exist:
as when
exist: as
not
shews that
shewing something
something shews
aa map
map shews
that no
no large
river
passes
through
Birmingham
by not
not
shews that
river
passes through Birmingham by
large
shewing
a river
river passing
passing through
Birmingham.
shewing a
Birmingham.
through
are the
the reasons
reasons for
speaking of
of aa picture
picture as
as having
havingThese,
then, are
for speaking
These, then,
or
being capable
being given-a
positive and aa negative
negative
or rather
rather being
of being
given a positive
capable of
two senses
are integral
integral to
to the
the picture,
picture, once
once the
the correlacorrela~
sense.
sense. The two
senses are
tions have
have been
been established.
a picture
picture whose 'sense'
'sense' is
is
tions
established. Certainly
Certainly a
thought'
one
way
or
the
other,
as
I
have
described,
is
a
proposi~
I
is
a
one
have
the
as
or
described,
'thought'
other,
preposiway
tional sign.
tional
sign.
mysterious about
about negation
negation is
is that
that something's
something's not
not being
being
is mysterious
What is
being something
that is
the case;
case; 11 and
and
the case
be capable
is the
the
case should
should be
of being
something that
capable of
it is
peculiarity of
picture of
being the
the case
case that
that it
it
it
a peculiarity
is a
of something's
of a
a picture
something's being
can
be taken
pres~nting us
us with
with something
something that
that is
is the
the case
case by
by
can be
taken as
as presenting
being aa picture
picture of
of what
what is
is not
not the
the case.
case. In
In his
his notebooks,.
notebooks, WittgenWittgen~
being
stein
of
logical
constants
as
giving
the
of
projection
the
method
of
stein speaks
of
constants
as
speaks
giving
projection
logical
of
proto-picture in
in the
the proposition.
proposition. II think
think this
this conception
is not
not
the proto-picture
of the
conception is
discarded
in the
the Tractatus.
discarded in
Tractatus.
In
the course
of his
his researches
researches prior
prior to
to writing
writing the
the Tractatus,
In the
course of
Tractatus,
Wittgenstein invented
invented what
what he
he called
called the
the a-b
a-b notation.
notation. He proposed
proposed
Wittgenstein
to write
proposition like
this:
write a
to
a proposition
like this:
apb
b being
being what
what he
he called
the two
poles' of
the propopropo~
of the
called the
b
'two poles'
sition.
notation has
has survived
the Tractatus
at 6.1203,
6.1203, except
except
This notation
Tractatus at
in the
sition. This
survived in
that
writes T and
and F instead
of aa and
and b.
b. But
But we could
represent the
the
that he writes
could represent
instead of
prepositional
sign
that
is
a
picture
(of
the
most
ordinary
kind)
in
is
a
the
most
that
ordinary kind) in
prepositional sign
picture (of
the same way:
way:
the

the aa and
and
the

1 cf.
cf. Philosophical
Philosophical Investigations,
Investigations, 429:
agreement, the
thr harmony,
harmony,
429: 'The
*The agreement,
ofthought
reality consists
in this:
this: if
if II say
say falsely
falsely that
that something
is red,
red,
of thought and reality
consists in
something is
then, for
all that,
that, it
isn't red.'
problem is
is the
the ancient
ancient one
one of
of how aa
for all
it isn't
red.' The problem
then,
false
proposition makes
makes sense.
false proposition
sense.

This
rendering of
the picture
picture become
become proposition
proposition would
would stress
the
This rendering
of the
stress the
fact
that
it
has
acquired
two
'poles',
or
senses
in
which
it
can
be
that
fact
it has acquired two 'poles', or senses in which it can be
thought,
by
having
the
drawn
figures
correlated
with
actual
men.
the
drawn
thought, by having
figures correlated with actual men.
this conception
give us
us what
what is
is
is: does
does this
Now the
the question
question is:
conception give
essential
to propositions,
propositions, so
that it
it is
is at
all plausible
plausible to
to say
that
all
essential to
so that
at all
say that all
propositions have
have this
this character?
character?
propositions
I believe
believe that
that the
the most
most that
that we can
can say
say is
is that
that the
the bi-polarity
bi-polarity of
I
of
the
picture, of
the occurrence
one picture
picture in
in two
two senses,
senses, has
a
the picture,
of the
occurrence of
of one
has a
in
the
fact
that
if
we
have
a
proposition,
and
very
striking
analogy
in
the
fact
if
we
that
have
a
and
very striking analogy
proposition,
insert aa 'not'
into it,
it, then
then what
what is
being denied
denied is
is exactly
exactly what
what the
the
insert
'not' into
is being
original
proposition
said.
In
negating
a
proposition
use
the
In
said.
a
we
use
the
original proposition
negating
proposition
tend
to
feel
that
both
prepositional
sign
to
form
another,
and
to
we
tend
and
to
feel
that
form
both
another,
prepositional sign
say
and hence
want an
an account
that would
would justify
justify this
this
hence want
account that
say something:
something: and
feeling.
Both
propositions
mention
exactly
the
same
things
in
the
the
Both
mention
same
in
the
exactly
feeling.
propositions
things
same
to one
one another.
another. The picture-proposition
picture-proposition we have
have
same relation
relation to
imagined
gives us
us aa very
very clear
clear idea
idea of
of structures
for which
which these
these
structures for
imagined gives
points hold.
hold. And it
also true
true that
that the
the non-existence
non-existence of
of aa conconit is
is also
points
of things
things is
is aa clear
clear and
idea. What constitutes
constitutes
figuration
and intelligible
intelligible idea.
figuration of
the truth
truth and falsehood
falsehood of
of the
the picture-proposition;
picture-proposition; its
its opposed
opposed
the
of these
these senses
senses indeindepositive and
negative senses;
its possession
possession of
and negative
senses; its
positive
of which
which truth-value
truth-value it
it
pendently of
of whether
whether it
it is
is true
true or
or false
false (i.e.
(i.e. of
pendently
has)-all
this is
is extremely
what is
is intelligible
here is
is
all this
extremely intelligible:
intelligible here
intelligible: and what
has)
precisely the
of the
the picture-proposition.
picture-proposition. But
But is
it not
not
is it
the logical
character of
logical character
precisely
the
logical character
character that
that marks
marks aa proposition
proposition as
as such
such and
and that
that we
the logical
want clarified?
to make this
this really
really clear
clear might
might
clarified? Something
that seems
seems to
want
Something that
rather convincingly
be taken
taken to
to shew
the essential
essential character
character of
of aa
shew the
rather
convincingly be
proposition.
proposition.
struck
So
far as
these are
the real
real grounds
grounds for
being struck
for being
are the
as II can
can see,
So far
see, these
It adds to
even
to the
the point
point of
of conviction
by this
this account.
account. It
to its
its perperconviction by
even to
that it
it was
was capable
capable of
being further,
further, and beautifully,
beautifully,
suasiveness
of being
suasiveness that
that it
it seemed
to offer
offer aa solution
to many
many problems,
problems,
thought
out, and
seemed to
solution to
and that
thought out,
71
71

72
72

AN INTRODUCTION TO WITTGENSTEIN'S
WITTGENSTEIN'S TRACTATUS

and
give aa 'way
'way of
of seeing
the world
world rightly'.
rightly'. There
There are
are
and finally
even give
finally even
seeing the
nevertheless, we shall
shall understand
understand
indeed
about it;
indeed serious
serious difficulties
difficulties about
it; nevertheless,
at us best
best if
to the
the attractiveness
attractiveness of
of
the Tract
the
Tractatus
let ourselves
succumb to
if we let
ourselves succumb
this
idea,
assume
its
correctness,
and
follow
up
its
consequences
this idea, assume its correctness, and follow up its consequences
throughout the
the Tractatus.
Tractatus.
throughout
Every
picture-proposition
has two
two senses,
senses, in
in one
which it
it is
is aa
of which
one of
Every picture-proposition has
of
the
existence,
in
the
other
of
the
non-existence,
of
a
description
of
the
the
in
the
of
other
of
a
existence,
non-existence,
description
and it
it is
that by
by being
being aa projection.
projection. It
It is
is the
the
configuration
of objects;
is that
configuration of
objects; and
of aa projection
projection that
that from
the method
method of
of projection
projection
peculiarity
it and
from it
and the
peculiarity of
is projected;
the latter
need not
not physically
physically exist,
exist,
you can
what is
tell what
latter need
can tell
you
projected; the
of aa
though
the points
points in
in space
that it
would occupy
occupy must.
must. The
The idea
idea of
it would
though the
space that
projection is
therefore peculiarly
peculiarly apt
for explaining
explaining the
the character
character of
of
is therefore
projection
apt for
aa proposition
proposition as
as making
making sense
of
the
facts:
as
intelliof
the
facts:
sense independently
as
intelliindependently
is true;
true; as
as something
something concerning
concerning
gible
before you
you know whether
whether it
it is
gible before
whether it
true, and
what you
you are
are asking
asking
which you
you can
can ask
and know what
which
it is
is true,
ask whether
before you
you know the
the answer.
before
answer.
If
this explanation
explanation can
be made to
to stick
stick it
it will
will make the
the character
character
If this
can be
of
a proposition
proposition completely
completely clear.
clear. For
For supposing
and TqF
TqF to
to
of a
supposing TpF
TpF and
'TpF' will
will be
be saying
saying
be picture-propositions,
picture-propositions, then
then someone
someone who says
says TpF'
be
'p' exists;
exists; he
he can
can say
say
(let
us suppose)
that the
the situation
pictured by
by 'p'
situation pictured
(let us
suppose) that
not exist
exist by
by reversing
the
and
poles
of
'TpF'-a
proit
it does
T
does not
the
F
of
a
reversing
poles
TpF'
procedure
represented by
by Wittgenstein
Wittgenstein with:
with: 'F-TpF-T'.
'F-TpF-T'. The
The diagram
diagram
cedure represented

Tp F

0t

Jq }

gives
picture-proposition, whose
whose T pole
pole is
is joined
joined to
to aa line
line joining
joining
a picture-proposition,
gives a
of TpF'
'TpF'
poles, and also
to aa line
line joining
joining the
the two
two F poles,
poles, of
T poles,
also to
and 'TqF',
and
whose
pole
is
joined
to
a
line
joining
the
pole
of
and
F
is
line
whose
to
a
T
the
pole joined
TqF',
joining
pole of
'TpF'
pole of
'TqF', and
and again
again to
to aa line
joining the
the F pole
pole
the F pole
with the
of TqF',
line joining
TpF' with

the two
the

73
73

NEGATION: (2)
(2)

of
with the
the T pole
pole of
of 'TqF'.
This proposition
proposition is
is true
true if
if the
the
of 'TpF'
TpF' with
TqF'. This
situations
pictured by
by 'p'
and 'q'
both exist,
exist, or
or again
again if
if neither
neither exists;
exists;
situations pictured
'p' and
*q' both
it
otherwise
false. This
way of
of writing
writing the
the prepositional
propositional sign
sign brings
brings it
otherwise false.
This way
out
that nothing
nothing is
is mentioned
mentioned but
but the
the objects
objects correlated
correlated with
with the
the
out that
and no
no configurations
introduced except
those
elements
elements of
of 'p'
and 'q'
p' and
'q' and
configurations introduced
except those
set
in *p'
'p' and
'q'.
set forth
forth in
and 'q'.
The propositional
prepositional sign
written here
here in
in diagram
diagram form
form is
is the
the same
same
sign written
proposition as
as what
what we would
would most
most commonly
commonly write
write (p.q)
(p.q) vv (~p.
( -p.
proposition
~q).
This brings
brings out
out why
why Wittgenstein
Wittgenstein says:
'The structure
structure of
of the
the
~q). This
says: The
of the
the structures
structures of
the elementary
situations' (2.034);
(2.034);
fact
fact consists
consists of
of the
elementary situations'
'The
picture presents
presents ...
. . . the
the existence
existence and
and non-existence
non-existence of
of eleele'The picture
mentary
situations'
(2.11);
'The
truth-conditions
determine
the
play
situations'
The
determine
the
truth-conditions
(2.1 1);
mentary
play
left to
to the
the facts
by the
the proposition'
proposition' (4.463);
(4.463); 'A
'A proposition
proposition may
may be
be
left
facts by
an
incomplete picture
picture of
of aa particular
particular state
state of
of affairs'
affairs' (in
(in this
this case,
case,
an incomplete
that neither
neither pp nor
nor q)
q) 'but
'but it
it is
is always
always aa comcomsay,
the state
state of
of affairs
affairs that
say, the
For his
his idea
idea was
was that
that definiteness
definiteness of
of sense
sense
plete picture'
(5.156). For
picture' (5.156).
plete
in this:
this: aa proposition
proposition may
may indeed
indeed leave
leave aa great
deal open,
open,
consists
consists in
great deal
but
it is
is clear
what it
it leaves
clear what
leaves open.
but it
open.
must now return
return to
the fact
that aa picture
picture (in
(in the
the ordinary
ordinary
We must
to the
fact that
sense)
becomes
a
proposition
the
correlate
its
elements
its
a
we
correlate
elements
becomes
the
moment
sense)
proposition
this, II draw
it shewing
shewing the
the T-F poles
poles
with
with actual
actual L'li.ngs.
shew this,
draw it
things. To shew
that it
gets directly
directly the
the correlation
made:
it gets
that
correlation is
is made:
4

always remember the


the condition
for the
the possibility
possibility of
of the
the
condition for
We must always
correlation:
namely that
that the
the arrangement
of the
the ink
ink strokes
strokes themthemcorrelation: namely
arrangement of
is significant,
is capable
capable of
picturing aa situation
situation if
if the
the correlacorrelaselves
of picturing
selves is
significant, is
made.l1
tions
are made.
tions are
11 There is
something that
that II slur
slur over
over here
here for
for purposes
purposes of
of a first
first rough
rough
There is something
the
that is
is the
difference between
between the
the significant
significant relations
relations of
ofthe
exposition:
the difference
exposition and that
mere ink
ink strokes,
strokes, and the
the relations
relations of
of the
the drawn members of
of the
the drawn
mere
and of
the drawn
drawn figures
figures among
themselves. This
corresponds to
to
figures
This corresponds
of the
among themselves.
figures and
the difference
difference between
between the
the significant
relations between
between the
the sensibly
sensibly perperthe
significant relations
ceptible
the relations
relations between
between the
the symbols.
symbols. See
See 3.326.
3.326.
signs, and the
ceptible signs,
:

74
74

AN INTRODUcnON
WITrGENSTEIN'S TRACTATUS
TRACfATUS
INTRODUCTION TO WITTGENSTEIN'S

Now, that
that some
some arrangement
arrangement of
on aa surface
surface is
is capable
capable of
of
of shapes
Now,
shapes on
being aa projection
projection of
arrangement of
of shapes
shapes on
a surface
another arrangement
on a
of another
surface is
is
being
obvious
their both
both being
being arrangements
arrangements of
of shapes
shapes on
on aa surface.
surface.
obvious from
from their
Wittgenstein
calls being
being spatial
again being
being coloured)
coloured) aa 'form',
'form',
(or again
Wittgenstein calls
spatial (or
and
the
point
by
saying
that
a
picture
can
depict
anything
and expresses
a
can
the
that
expresses
picture
depict anything
point by saying
shares: the
the spatial
picture can
can depict
depict the
the spatial,
the
whose form
whose
it shares:
form it
spatial picture
spatial, the
coloured
picture anything
coloured,
etc.
coloured picture
etc.
anything coloured,
By
analogy with
with this
this conception
conception he
he erects
erects one
one of
of 'logical
form'.
'logical form*.
By analogy
we sometimes
sometimes amuse
by drawing
drawing imaginary
imaginary
As children
amuse ourselves
ourselves by
children we
maps.
the method
method of
projection aa person
person could
could say
say what
what the
the
of projection
Given the
maps. Given
imaginary
coasts would
would be
be like.
like. But
But that
that is
is not
not to
to say
that
imaginary country's
say that
country's coasts
the imaginary
imaginary map
map is
is already
already aa true
true or
or false
false map
map of
of any
any actual
actual
the
coastline.
might say
it
becomes
a
true
or
false
map
of
the
a
true
it
or
false
becomes
of
coastline. But
But we might
the
map
say
world-given
the method
method of
of projection
projection-the
pin it
it to
to
the moment we pin
world given the
any
actual
place
by
correlating
some
of
its
points
with
places
on
the
its
with
of
some
on
actual
the
points
any
places
place by correlating
globe.
globe.
This is
is to
to suppose
call it
it aa true
true map
map if,
if, correlating
correlating one
one
This
that we call
suppose that
drawn coastline
coastline with
with one point
point on the
the globe,
globe, and
and
point on the
the drawn
point
another
another, the
the projection
projection of
of the
the drawn coastline
coastline coincoinanother with
with another,
cides
actually
existent
coastline;
and
otherwise
call
it aa
cides with
and
otherwise
we
call
with an
existent
it
an actually
coastline;
that part
part of
globe. These
facts, however,
however, do
do not
not imply
imply
false map
map of
false
the globe.
of the
These facts,
of that
that,
it to
to be
be a
a false
false map
map in
in the
the sense
sense II have
have defined,
defined, there
there
that, supposing
supposing it
is
projection for
that map
map which
which will
will make it
it aa
is another
another method of
for that
of projection
true
the same points
points on the
the map
map and
and on
on the
the
true map
of a
a coastline,
coastline, the
map of
globe being
being correlated.
all, the
the originally
originally selected
selected points
points might
might
After all,
correlated. After
globe
of aa great
great ocean,
ocean, in
which case
case no method of
of proprobe in
in the
the middle
middle of
be
in which
jection would make the
the imaginary
imaginary map
map aa true
true map
map of
of aa coastline.
coastline.
jection
Thus we can
can consider
the T and F poles
poles of
of the
the picture-proposition
picture-proposition
consider the
as
giving two senses,
senses, positive
positive and negative
negative (as
(as it
it were,
were, the
the different
different
as giving
methods of
projection), in
which the
the picture-proposition
picture-proposition can
can be
be
of projection),
in which
thought.
map is
is aa picture-proposition
picture-proposition once
once aa
a map
thought. Now although
although a
method of
of projection
projection and
and correlations
have been
been established,
established, it
it is
is
correlations have
not so
simply in
in virtue
virtue of
its spatial
spatial form.
For saying
saying *It's
'It's not
not like
like
not
so simply
of its
form. For
this' is
using the
the map
map to
to say
true; but
but it
it is
not giving
giving aa
is using
this'
is not
say something
something true;
correct
If
then
the
positive
and
negative
senses
are
compared
to
correct map.
If
then
the
senses
are
and
negative
map.
positive
compared to
different
then
it
is
not
the
spatial
form,
but
different methods of
it
is
of projection,
then
not
the
but
projection,
spatial form,
something comparable
that makes
makes the
the map
map into
into aa
to spatial
something
form, that
comparable to
spatial form,

NEGATION: (2)
(2)

picture-proposition
picture-proposition

75
75

when correlations
are established.
established. This
This WittWittwhen
correlations are
genstein
'logical form'.
calls 'logical
form'.
genstein calls
It
obvious enough
enough that
that aa proposition
proposition divides
divides up
up into
into parts.
parts. It
It is
is obvious
It
is
obvious
that
the
division
is
not
arbitrary.
You
cannot
divide
is also
also obvious that the division is not arbitrary. You cannot divide
'The
is often
drunk' into
'The cat
cat is
is of
of' and
and 'ten
'ten drunk',
drunk', although
although
'The cat
cat is
often drunk'
into 'The
each
part could
could be
be significant:
as
Wittgenstein
would
say,
the
each part
as
would
significant:
Wittgenstein
say, the
to
the
left
of
the
second
is
not
what
first expression's
expression's standing
first
the
left
the
what
to
of
is
second
not
standing
our sentence,
sentence, and
expression has
has reference
reference
signifies
in our
and (3.314)
'An expression
signifies in
(3.314) 'An
only
context of
a proposition'.
proposition'. (It
(It was
was of
of course
course on
on this
this proproin the
the context
of a
only in
Frege, repeated
repeated by
by Wittgenstein,
Wittgenstein, that
that
nouncement, and
on that
and on
that of
of Frege,
nouncement,
'A name has
reference only
in the
the context
of aa proposition*
proposition' that
that II
*A
has reference
context of
only in
'It is
is only
only in
the connections
connections
modelled my
statement about
about pictures:
pictures: 'It
modelled
in the
my statement
that make up
up the
the picture
picture that
that its
its elements
elements stand
stand for
for objects.')
that
objects.')
Propositions thus
thus have
have aa feature
feature that
that is
is very
very comparable
to a
a
Propositions
comparable to
of pictures.
pictures. We call
call the
the possibility
possibility of
of the
the kind
kind of
of connection
connection
feature
feature of
of any
any
that sets
up aa proposition
proposition 'logical
as the
the possibility
possibility of
that
sets up
form', as
'logical form',
particular spatial
can be
be called
spatial form.
form. And since
since
called spatial
particular
spatial arrangement
arrangement can
logical
is that
that through
through which
which aa structure
structure can
can have
have T and
and F
form is
logical form
poles, and
and for
for something
to be
be true
true or
is the
the very
very same thing
thing as
as
or false
false is
poles,
something to
for
to
be
thus
or
otherwise,
Wittgenstein
calls
'logical
form'
for reality
to
or
calls
form*
be
thus
reality
otherwise, Wittgenstein
'logical
reality'. Thus
he provides
provides aa distinctive
distinctive new solution
also
also 'the
'the form
solution
form of
of reality'.
Thus he
to the
the old
old old
old problem
problem of
of shewing
the
connection
between
thought
the
connection
between
to
thought
shewing
and reality.
reality. That
the logical
logical form
is common to
to reality
reality and
and the
the
That the
form is
is aa further
further analogue
analogue to
to the
the way
way the
the spatial
form is
is
propositions is
propositions
spatial form
common to
the spatial
spatial object
object and
and its
its spatial
picture: *A
'A picture
picture can
can
to the
spatial picture:
depict
any object
object whose form
has.'
it has.*
form it
depict any
of logical
logical form
form leads
leads straight
straight to
to that
that of
of logical
logical space.
space.
The notion
notion of
construct aa spatial
illustration
a
bit
like
Wittgenstein's
black
bit
can construct
a
like
We can
illustration
Wittgenstein's black
spatial
but
one
which
'goes
lame'
at
a
different
point.
spot
on
white
paper,
a
different
lame*
at
white
one
which
on
but
point.
'goes
spot
paper,
If
consider an
an island
island marked
marked on the
the surface
surface of
of aa sphere,
sphere, it
it is
is
If you
you consider
clear that
it defines
not merely
merely its
shape but
but the
the shape
shape of
of the
the rest
rest
clear
its own shape
that it
defines not
of
the surface.
proposition is
is to
to be
be compared
compared to
to such
such an island,
island, its
its
of the
surface. A proposition
the surface.
negation to
to the
the rest
rest of
surface.
of the
negation
Let us
us say
that you
illustrate the
the concept
of truth
truth by
by painting
painting the
the
Let
you illustrate
concept of
say that
island
white and
and the
the rest
rest of
the surface
surface black,
black, to
to correspond
correspond to
to
island white
of the
hand
the
other
if
the
other
calling
a
proposition
true
and
its
negation
false;
if
its
on
and
true
a
negation false;
calling proposition
it
negation that
that is
true, the
the island
island is
is black
black and the
the rest
rest of
of the
the
it is
is true,
is the
the negation

76
76

AN INTRODUCTION TO

WfiTGENSTEIN'S TRACTATUS
WITTGENSTEIN'S

surface
Obviously you
you could
could do
this with
with aa real
real globe;
globe; and
and any
any
do this
surface white.
white. Obviously
map,
real or
would divide
the globe.
globe. Only
saw, the
the
as we saw,
divide the
or imaginary,
Only as
imaginary, would
map, real
not necessarily
necessarily correspond
correspond to
to any
any actual
coastlines.
divisions
would not
actual coastlines.
divisions would
But
the division
division made by
any proposition
proposition is
is aa division
division
senses of
of any
But the
the two
two senses
by the
of
truth from
from falsehood;
each
coastline
partitions
the
whole
earth's
the
whole
coastline
each
earth's
of truth
falsehood;
partitions
so
each
proposition
'reaches
through
the
whole
of the
the
surface,
the
whole
'reaches
of
so
each
through
surface,
proposition
logical
space'.
But
it
is
a
proposition
precisely
by
making
a
division
a
But
is
division
it
a
by
making
precisely
logical space'.
proposition
of
true from
from false.
false. Now let
let us
us represent
represent the
the proposition
proposition saying
that
of true
saying that
either
or that
that is
true, by
by aa new globe
globe with
with both
both the
the correscorreseither this
this or
is true,
ponding areas
white; what
what corresponds
to saying
saying that
that either
either aa
areas white;
corresponds to
ponding
or its
its negation
negation is
is true
true is
is painting
painting the
the whole
whole surface
of
proposition or
surface of
proposition
the
globe
white-in
which
case
you
have
no
map.
similarly
for
And
have
in
which
case
for
the globe white
no map.
similarly
you
to 'not
'not
painting
whole surface
black, which
which would
would correspond
correspond to
the whole
surface black,
painting the
(p
or
not
p)'.
But
it
is
clear
than
an
all-white
or
all-black
globe
is
not
an
or
all-black
than
all-white
is
not
or
not
But
it
is
clear
globe
(p
p)'.
aa map.
map.
when-as
sometimes happens
happens in
in old-fashioned
old-fashioned philosophical
philosophical
So when
as sometimes
So
textbooks-the
laws of
and excluded
excluded middle
middle are
are laid
laid
of contradiction
the laws
contradiction and
textbooks
down as
with which
which reason
reason starts,
starts, this
this my be
be compared
compared to
to the
the
as truth
truth with
of the
the sailors
the Bellman's
Bellman's map
map in
in the
the Hunting
Hunting of
of the
the
admiration
for the
admiration of
sailors for
Snark:
Snark:
'Other
maps are
are such
with their
their islands
islands and
and capes!
'Other maps
such shapes,
capes
shapes, with
But
weve got
got our
our brave
brave captain
captain to
to thank'
thank'
But we've
(So
crew would
would protest)
protest) 'that
'that he's
he's bought
bought us
us the
the best
bestthe crew
(So the
A perfect
perfect and
and absolute
absolute blank
blank!'
!

!'

Wittgenstein uses
uses aa similar
similar but
but double
double analogy.
analogy. He
At 4.463
4.463 Wittgenstein
says
that
the
proposition
in
the
positive
sense
is
like
the space
in
that
the
the
sense
is
like
the
in
says
positive
proposition
space in
be placed;
placed; in
in the
the negative
negative sense
sense it
it is
is like
like aa solid
solid
which a body
body can
can be
which
body which prevents
prevents any
body from being
being placed
placed in
in the
the space
it
body
any body
space it
occupies. Now since
proposition pp divides
divides the
the whole
whole space,
then
since any
occupies.
any proposition
space, then
the positive
proposition 'p
'p or
not p'
p' leaves
leaves the
the whole
whole space
space empty,
empty,
the
or not
positive proposition
both the
the island
indicated by
by p
p and the
the rest
rest of
of the
the space;
space; and its
its
island indicated
negative
(p or
or not
not p)'
p)' blocks
blocks the
the whole
whole space.
space.
'not (p
negative 'not
point at
which such
go lame
lame is
is that
that e.g.
e.g. aa globe
globe
The point
at which
such analogies
analogies go
land
and
the
rest
as
sea,
one
shewing
the
shewing
Australia
as
the
as
Australia
as
land
rest
and
one
shewing
sea,
shewing the
rest as
a'> land
land and what is
is now Australia
Australia as
as sea,
sea, have
have the
the shape
of
a
rest
a
of
shape

NEGATION: (2)
(2)

77
77

is saying
something about
about the
the
coastline
in common;
that one
one is
coastline in
so that
common; so
saying something
is true.
true.
globe
if one
one says
that either
either this
this or
or that
that representation
representation of
of it
it is
globe if
says that
of these
these two
two globes
globes could
could be
be used
used to
to
On the
the other
hand, each
each of
other hand,
depict
what
the
other
depicts,
by
changing
the
conventions
for
shewshewdepict what the other depicts, by changing the conventions for
ing
and land.
This feature
illustrate what
what holds
holds for
for propoproposea and
feature does
land. This
does illustrate
ing sea
'p' could
could be
be used
used to
say what
what '~p'
',._,p' says
says and
and vice
vice versa.
versa. A
sitions:
sitions: 'p'
to say
code
by which
which one
the negative
negative of
of what
what one
one said
need
code by
said need
one always
meant the
always meant
and "~p"
"-p"
not break
break down.
Hence, Wittgenstein
Wittgenstein says,
says, 'though
'though "p"
not
down. Hence,
"p" and
have opposite
the same
same reality
reality corresponds
corresponds to
to them'
them'
have
one and
and the
senses, one
opposite senses,
the coastline
coastline itself.
itself. It
is important
important to
to rememremem(4.0621):
reality is
the reality
is the
It is
(4.0621): the
ber
that if
'p' and
and 'not
p' were
another, 'not'
'not'
if 'p'
ber that
'not p'
were so
so substituted
for one
one another,
substituted for
would still
mean 'not':
and this
this is
is enough
enough to
to shew
that 'not'
'not' itself
itself
still mean
would
'not' and
shew that
has nothing
nothing corresponding
to it
it in
reality: its
its presence
presence does
does not
not
has
in reality:
corresponding to
determine
of the
the proposition.
proposition.
the sense
determine the
sense of
understand some
what Wittgenstein
Wittgenstein says
says about
about
We can
can now understand
of what
some of
tautology and
and contradiction.
contradiction. They
They are
are not
not 'pictures'
'pictures' (4.462),
just as
as
tautology
(4.462), just
or all-black
all-black globes
globes are
are not
not maps.
maps. And so
they are
are not
not
all-white
all-white or
so they
'logical connections
connections of
(4.466): the
the relations
relations between
between them
them are
are
of signs'
'logical
signs' (4.466)
non-significant-i.e.
depict
nothing:
the
representing
relations,
like
i.e.
the
like
non-significant
depict nothing:
representing relations,
a space,
space, cancel
cancel one
one another
another
two projections
which between
between them
them fill
fill a
two
projections which
out.
out.
The all-white
all-white globe,
though, might
might be
be said
said to
to be
be aa representation
representation
globe, though,
of
the whole
world. It
is because
because of
of the
the shape
shape of
of the
the whole
whole that
that the
the
It is
of the
whole world.
two
p together
together with
not-p, combine
to make the
the shape
shape of
of
with not-p,
two shapes,
combine to
shapes, p
the
this throws
throws light
light on
what Wittgenstein
Wittgenstein means
means when
the whole.
whole. And this
on what
he
that the
the logical
propositions describe,
describe, or
or rather
rather represent,
represent,
he says
says that
logical propositions
of the
the world.
world. 'It
must shew
that
certain
the
that
certain
the framework
'It must
framework of
shew something,
something,
combinations
are
tautologies.'
But
what
is
represented
is
But
what
are
combinations of
of symbols
symbols
represented
tautologies.'
here is
is not
express by
by means
means of
of the
the signs',
signs', but
but
that 'we
"we express
here
not something
something that
that 'speaks
out on
on its
its own account'
(6.124).
that
account' (6.124).
'speaks out
It
that the
the Tractatus
is wrong.
wrong. This
This is
is partly
partly
It seems
account is
seems sure
sure that
Tractatus account
because one
one cannot
believe in
in the
the simple
simple objects
objects required
required by
by the
the
because
cannot believe
theory; partly
partly because
because it
it leads
leads to
to dogmatic
and plainly
plainly false
false concondogmatic and
theory;
clusions
about the
the will,
will, about
modality and
and about
about generalizations
generalizations
about modality
clusions about
in
cases. But
But it
is aa powerful
powerful and beautiful
beautiful theory:
theory: and there
there
it is
in infinite
infinite cases.
is surely
something
right
about
it-if
one
could
dispense
with
if
could
it
one
is
about
dispense with
surely something right
'simples'
and
draw
the
limits
of
its
applicability.
the
its
draw
of
and
limits
applicability.
'simples*
:

78
78

AN INTRODUCTION
INTRODUcriON TO WITTGENSTEIN'S
WITIGENSTEIN'S TRACTATUS

It
high point
point of
of development
of an
an historic
historic line
line of
of
It represents
a high
development of
represents a
The
idea that
that the
the proposition
proposition is
is an
an interweaving
interweaving of
of simple
simple
The idea

thought.
thought.

interweaving of
elements is
is to
to be
be
names representing
representing an
of simple
names
an interweaving
simple elements
found
Aristotle
thought
about
it
a
great
deal,
it
a
about
found in
in Plato's
Aristotle
Plato's Theaetetus;
thought
Theaeteius\
great deal,
and rejected
rejected it
largely because
because something
more than
than the
the elements
was
and
it largely
elements was
something more
the
idea
that
the
comrequired,
something
connecting
them.
that
the
idea
the
And
them.
comrequired, something connecting
plexity of
a proposition
proposition reflects
reflects aa complexity
in its
object has
has everyeveryits object
of a
plexity
complexity in
is part
part of
of what
what is
is expressed,
expressed, for
for example,
example,
where been
been influential:
where
it is
influential: it
in
the idea
idea of
of natural
natural theologians
theologians that
that God,
God, being
being *simple',
'simple', is
is not
not
in the
or knowable
knowable-however
many propositions
propositions they
they
really describable
describable or
however many
really
might
construct about
about him.
him.
might construct
is worth
worth remarking
remarking that
that the
the truth
truth of
of the
the Tractatus
Tractatus theory
theory
Here it
Here
it is
would be
death to
to natural
theology; not
not because
because of
any jejune
jejune
of any
would
be death
natural theology;
positivism or
any 'verificationism',
'verificationism', but
but simply
because of
of the
the picture
picture
or any
simply because
positivism
theory of
of the
'significant proposition'.
proposition'. For
For it
it is
is essential
essential to
to this
this that
that
the 'significant
theory
the
picturing proposition
proposition has
has two
two poles,
poles, and
and in
in each
each sense
it reprerepresense it
the picturing
sents
may perfectly
perfectly well
well be
true. Which of
of them
them is
is true
true is
is just
just
be true.
sents what
what may
to
be
the
case.
But
in
natural
theology
this
is
an
imwhat
But
in
natural
this
what happens
to
be
the
case.
is
an
imtheology
happens
not
supposed
to
be
the
ones
permissible
notion;
its
propositions
are
not
be
are
to
its
the
ones
permissible notion;
supposed
propositions
that happen
to be
true out
out of
of pairs
pairs of
of possibilities;
possibilities; nor
nor are
are they
they
that
be true
happen to
supposed
to be
be logical
logical or
or mathematical
propositions either.
mathematical propositions
either.
supposed to
was not
not all
all wrong:
wrong: it
it
Wittgenstein used
used to
that the
the Tractatus
Tractatus was
to say
say that
Wittgenstein
junk professing
professing to
to be
be aa clock,
clock, but
but like
like aa clock
clock
was not
not like
like aa bag
bag of
was
of junk
not tell
tell you
you the
the right
time. It
is noticeable
noticeable that
that he
he sounds
that did
that
did not
It is
sounds
right time.
like
himself in
in the
the Tractatus
Tractatus whenever
whenever he
he writes
writes about
about negation
negation in
in
like himself
the
Philosophical Investigations.
Investigations. And at
at one
one place
place the
the voice
voice of
of the
the
the Philosophical
the Tract
atus is
is heard,
that of
of the
the drowned ghost
ghost in
in the
the
author
author of
of the
Tractatus
like that
heard, like
song:
is aa projection
projection of
of aa distribution
distribution in
in aa space.'
space.' 11
'A description
song: 'A
description is

11

Philosophical Investigations
Investigations,, p.
p. 187.
187.
Philosophical

5
5

CONSEQUENCES
CONSEQUENCES OF THE PICTURE THEORY

Convinced
that he
he had
had penetrated
penetrated the
the essential
essential nature
nature of
of truth,
truth,
Convinced that
falsehood
negation with
with his
his picture
picture theory,
theory, Wittgenstein
Wittgenstein now
falsehood and negation
had aa great
programme to
to carry
out. He had
had to
to shew
the vast
vast
shew how the
great programme
carry out.
number of
of propositions
propositions that
that do
do not
not immediately
immediately appear
appear to
to fit
fit in
in
with
theory do in
in fact
fact fit
fit in
in with
with it.
it. There
There was
was a
a residue
residue that
that
his theory
with his
would never
never fit
fit in
with it;
it; these
he dismissed
dismissed as
as nonsensical:
nonsensical: perhaps
perhaps
in with
these he
to say
the inexpressible.
inexpressible. The
simply
nonsensical, perhaps
perhaps attempts
attempts to
simply nonsensical,
say the
following
list gives
us some idea
idea of
of the
the greatness
greatness of
the task.
task. He had
of the
following list
gives us
to
with:
deal with:
to deal

Laws of
and, generally,
logical truths.
truths.
of inference,
inference, and,
generally, logical
Statements
that one proposition
proposition implies
implies another.
another.
Statements that
Generality-i.e.
propositions containing
'all' and 'some'.
'some'.
Generality i.e. propositions
containing 'all*
of terms
terms and expresexpresPropositions
logical classifications
classifications of
giving logical
Propositions giving
sions--e.g.
the right
right of"
a relation',
relation', ' "a
"a is
is to
to the
the right
right of
of b"
b"
"to the
of" is
is a
sions e.g. ' "to
is
proposition'.
a proposition'.
is a
that are
important in
the foundation
foundation of
mathematics
Propositions
in the
are important
of mathematics
Propositions that
'a is
the successor
successor of
b'.
such
is the
of b'.
such as
as 'a
Statements
about the
possibility, impossibility,
impossibility, necessity,
necessity, and
and
Statements about
the possibility,
certainty
particular states
of affairs.
of particular
states of
affairs.
certainty of
Statements
Statements of identity.
identity.
propositions,
Propositions apparently
expressing functions
functions of
of propositions,
Propositions
apparently expressing
such
'it is
that p',
p', or
possible', *p
'pis
necessary' or
or again
again
is good
or 'pis
is necessary'
as 'it
such as
good that
'p is possible',
'A believes
p' or
p'; and perhaps
perhaps even
even statements
statements about
about
conceives p';
believes p
or 'A conceives
e.g.
the beauty
beauty of pictures.
pictures.
e.g. the
Propositions
stating
probabilities.
Propositions stating probabilities.
of mathematics.
mathematics.
Propositions
Propositions of
*

'

79
79

80
80

AN INTRODUCTION TO WITTGENSTEIN'S TRAcrATUS


TRACTATUS

Propositions stating
stating laws
of nature.
nature.
laws of
Propositions
Propositions
about space
space and
and time.
time.
Propositions about
Egocentric
propositions.
Egocentric propositions.
Propositions
the world
world as
as aa whole,
whole, about
about God and
and the
the
about the
Propositions about
11
of
life.
meaning
life.
of
meaning
It
would be
be wrong
wrong to
to suggest
that Wittgenstein
Wittgenstein formed
formed his
his views
views
It would
suggest that
on
topics simply
as to
to fit
fit in
in with
with the
the picture-theory.
picture-theory. It
so as
all these
these topics
on all
It
simply so
was rather
rather in
in most
most cases
his views
views on
on them
them all
all did
did fit
in with
with the
the
fit in
that his
was
cases that
to him
him true
true views
views on
on them
them
picture-theory;
the fact
what seemed
seemed to
fact that
that what
picture-theory; the
did
in would
would seem
seem an
extra confirmation
confirmation of
of the
the picture
picture theory.
theory.
did so
so fit
fit in
an extra
There is,
however, one
exception to
to this;
this; his
his view,
view, expressed
expressed at
at
There
one exception
is, however,
6.37,
that 'there
'there is
is only
logical necessity',
necessity', and
and at
at 5.525,
5.525, that
that the
the
6.37, that
only logical
a state
state of
affairs is
is simply
simply expressed
expressed by
by an
expression's
possibility of
an expression's
of a
of affairs
possibility
being aa significant
appears to
to be
be aa pure
pure exigency
of the
the
exigency of
significant proposition,
proposition, appears
being
picture
the proposition.
is aa very
very common dogma
dogma at
at the
the
It is
of the
theory of
picture theory
proposition. It
present
day that
that there
is no
no sense
sense of
'necessity' and
and 'possibility'
'possibility'
there is
of 'necessity'
present day
except
'logical necessity'
necessity' and
and 'logical
possibility'. It
is possible
possible that
that
It is
'logical possibility'.
except 'logical
this
dogma, which
which is
is in
part an
effect of
of the
the influence
influence of
Hume, is
is
in part
an effect
of Hume,
this dogma,
also
hangover from
the time
of the
the overwhelming
overwhelming influence
influence of
of the
the
from the
time of
also a
a hangover
Tract
at us.
Tractatus.
With
this is
connected Wittgenstein's
Wittgenstein's inference
inference from
from the
the fact
fact that
that
is connected
With this
there is
is no
no logical
logical connection
between the
the will
will and
and the
the world
world (6.374)
(6.374)
connection between
there
have to
to come about),
about), to
to the
the view
view that
that
(since what
intend does
does not
not have
what II intend
(since
'the
is independent
of
my
will'
(6.373):
the
connection
must
will
the
'the world
of
world is
connection
must
my
independent
(6.373):
be aa purely
one. This
This means
means that
that 'all
'all happening
happening and
and being
being
be
accidental one.
purely accidental
this way
way or
or that',
that', and
and 'everything
that
is
the
case'
is
independent
of
that
is
this
the
case'
is
'everything
independent of
my
will. If
one should
to this
this that
that it
it is
is obvious
that what
what
If one
should object
obvious that
my will.
object to
people intend
has some bearing
bearing on what
what happens,
happens, he
he would
would reply
reply
intend has
people
that that
just 'a
'a phenomenon,
only of
of interest
interest to
to psychology*
psychology'
that
that is
is just
phenomenon, only
(6.423).
(6.423).
Even here,
here, though,
though, the
the view
view has
has aa connection
connection with
with his
his ideas
ideas about
about
Even
ethics. For the
in the
ethics.
the will
will as
as it
it appears
appears in
the world,
world, the
the 'mere
phenomenon,
'mere phenomenon,
only
of interest
to psychology',
psychology', is
is what is
is spoken
of at
at 5.631
5.631: 'If
'If II
interest to
only of
spoken of
were to
to write
book: "The world
world as
found it",
it", II should
should also
also have
have
write a
were
a book:
as II found
1

11 1
I am not
not able
to discuss
discuss Wittgenstein's
Wittgenstein's treatment
treatment of
of all
all of
of these
these
able to
topics
in the
the compass
compass of
of this
this book.
book.
topics in

81
81

CONSEQUENCES OF THE
TIIE PICTURE THEORY
CONSEQUENCES

to give
an account
my body
body in
in it,
it, and
and to
to say
say which
which members
members are
are
account of
of my
to
give an
subject
to my
will and
and which
which not.'
not.' Now that
that such-and-such
such-and-such members
members
my will
subject to
are
to my
my will
will is
is aa mere
if II were
were suddenly
suddenly so
paralysed
are subject
mere fact;
so paralysed
subject to
fact; if
that nothing
nothing happened,
happened, the
will would
would remain
remain-!I should
still have
have
that
the will
should still
but
this
will
is
not
merely
an
impotent
thought
of
the
thing's
willed;
but
this
will
is
not
an
the
of
willed;
merely
impotent thought
thing's
but is
of good
good or
that, apart
apart from
from the
the mere
mere
happening, but
is of
or evil;
and that,
evil; and
happening,
vulgar facts
what happens,
is the
the interest
interest of
of the
the will.
will. But
But of
of that
that
of what
facts of
vulgar
happens, is
'we
because value
value lies
lies outside
outside the
the world
world and
and we
we can
can
'we cannot
cannot speak'
speak' because
world. Now that
that value
value lies
lies outside
outside the
the
only express
what is
in the
the world.
is in
only
express what
is not
not aa mere
mere consequence
consequence of
of Wittgenstein's
Wittgenstein's picture
picture theory
theory
world
world is
of
language; had
had he
he only
been concerned
concerned with
with the
the fact
that 'good'
'good'
of language;
fact that
only been
and
not fit
into the
the picture
picture theory,
theory, he
he might
might have
have done
done as
as
'evil' could
could not
fit into
and 'evil'
many positivists
did,
and
debunked
value
altogether.
and
value
debunked
many
did,
positivists
altogether.
part of
his views
views which
which seems
to be
be nothing
nothing but
but a
a
Thus the
Thus
the part
of his
seems to
dogmatic
consequence of
of the
the 'picture
theory' is
is in
in fact
fact his
his rejection
rejection
dogmatic consequence
'picture theory'
of
modality. Any
Any sense
'may', 'can',
other than
than that
that of
of
of modality.
of 'may',
sense of
'can 'possible',
'possible', other
'logically
possible', would
would be
be unamenable
unamenable to
to explanation
explanation in
terms of
of
in terms
"logically possible',
the
picture theory.
theory. And the
that something
something is
is logically
logically
the picture
the assertion
assertion that
For the
the picture
picture theory
theory does
does not
not
possible itself
itself requires
requires explanation.
possible
explanation. For
permit
any
functions
of
propositions
other
than
truth-functions.
functions
of
other
than
truth-functions.
permit any
propositions
not regard
regard Wittgenstein's
Wittgenstein's theory
theory of
of the
the proposiproposiIndeed,
should not
Indeed, we should
tion as
a synthesis
synthesis of
of aa picture
picture theory
theory and
and the
the theory
theory of
of truthtruthas a
tion
of truth-functions
truth-functions are
are one
one
functions;
his picture
picture theory
theory and
and theory
theory of
functions; his
and the
the same.
Every genuine
proposition picks
picks out
out certain
certain existences
existences
same. Every
genuine proposition
and non-existences
non-existences of
of affairs,
affairs, as
as aa range
range within
within which the
the
of states
states of
actual
non-existences of
of states
of affairs
affairs are
are to
to fall.
fall.
states of
actual existences
existences and
and non-existences
proposition, but
but which does
does
Something
with the
the appearance
appearance of
of a
a proposition,
Something with
not do this,
cannot
really
be
saying
anything:
it
is
not
a
description
it
not
a
is
be
not
cannot
description
this,
really
saying anything:
of any
reality.
any reality.
Possibility of
of affairs
affairs is
is said
at 5.525
5.525 to
to be
be expressed
not
said at
state of
a state
of a
expressed not
Possibility
in
is possible'
possible' is
is not
not aa picture
picture of
of a state
of affairs)
affairs)
state of
in a
a proposition
proposition ('p
(*p is
but
significant proposition
proposition: thus
thus the
the logical
logical
a significant
in an
but in
an expression's
being a
expression's being
p is
is one
of those
those things
things that
that cannot
cannot be
be asserted,
asserted, accordaccordpossibility of
one of
of p
possibility
ing
the Tractatus,
'shew'. This
This explanation
explanation does
does not
not get
get
but that
that 'shew'.
to the
Tractatus, but
ing to
us much further
further forward.
an expression's
expression's being
being aa significant
significant
forward. For an
us
be aa 'fact'
'fact' either:
find Wittgenstein
Wittgenstein
proposition
cannot be
5.5351 we find
at 5.5351
either: at
proposition cannot
is a
criticizing
Russell
for
trying
to
symbolize
the
'nonsense'
' "p"
"p" is
the
'nonsense'
to
for
Russell
symbolize
trying
criticizing
1

82
82

AN INTRODUCI10N
INTRODUCTION TO

wrrrGENSTEIN'S TRACTATUS
TRACfATUS
WITTGENSTEIN'S

proposition' by
by the
the senseless
tautology 'pDp'
'p;:,p' so
so as
as to
to guarantee
guarantee
senseless tautology
proposition'
that only
propositions should
be put
put in
in the
the argument-places
argument-places of
of the
the
that
should be
only propositions
succeeding
propositions. This,
This, he
he says
says reasonably
Ieasonably enough,
enough, is
is absurd,
absurd,
succeeding propositions.
that were
were not
not already
assured,
it
could
not
possibly
be
because if
could
it
not
because
if that
already assured,
possibly be
assured
by the
the extra
premise that
that pop,
p ::> p, which
which would
would become
become not
not
extra premise
assured by
false
but nonsensical
nonsensical with
with the
wrong sort
of substitution
substitution for
for *p'.
'p'.
the wrong
sort of
false but
The objection
objection to
to ' "p"
is aa proposition'
proposition' is
is aa case
case of
of aa quite
quite
The
"p" is
range of
of similar
similar formations:
formations: 'n
is aa
general
'n is
to a
a whole
whole range
general objection
objection to
number'; '4> is
is aa function';
function'; 'it
is aa (possible)
fact that
that p';
p'; ' "the
"the king
king
'it is
number';
(possible) fact
of
complex'; 'a
'a is
an object'.
object'. 'Object',
'Object', 'fact',
'fact', 'proposi'proposiis an
of France"
a complex';
France" is
is a
'number',
'function',
'complex':
all
these
Wittgenstein
called
tion',
these
all
Wittgenstein called
tion', 'number', 'function', 'complex':
'formal
saying
(4.126):
'That
anything
falls
under
a
formal
under
a
falls
formal
'That
'formal concepts',
anything
concepts', saying (4.126):
but is
is
concept
cannot be
be expressed
expressed by
by aa proposition,
proposition, but
its object
as its
object cannot
concept as
shewn
the sign
the object
object itself.
itself. (The
(The name shews
shews that
that it
it
in the
for the
shewn in
sign for
the numeral
numeral that
that it
it designates
designates aa number,
number, etc.)
designates
an object,
object, the
etc.)
designates an
Formal
concepts cannot,
like proper
proper concepts,
concepts, be
be presented
presented by
by aa
Formal concepts
cannot, like
least for
for the
the examples
'2 is
is aa number',
number', 'red
'red is
is aa
function.'
function.' Now at
at least
examples '2
point
is
easily
that
these
propositions
cannot
excolour'
the
these
cannot
made
that
excolour' the point is easily
propositions
press
anything
that
might
be
false;
there
are
not
two
possibilities,
there
are
two
be
not
that
false;
might
possibilities,
press anything
that 22 is,
that it
it is
is not,
number; that
that red
red is,
is, and that
that it
it is
is not,
not, aa
that
a number;
and that
not, a
is, and
which the
the first
first happens
happens to
to be
be actual
actual in
each case.
case.
colour;
in each
of which
colour; of
Carnap
strongly objected
to Wittgenstein's
Wittgenstein's doctrine
doctrine with
with its
its
Carnap strongly
objected to
corollary
the 'unsayables'
that are
are 'shewn',
'shewn', which
which seemed
to lead
lead
of the
seemed to
corollary of
'unsayables* that
1
on to
'mysticism' of
of the
the Tractatus.
order to
to avoid
avoid it,
it, he
he proproTractatus. 1 In
In order
to the
the 'mysticism*
posed
to
use
the
'formal
of
speech';
instead
of
saying
'red
is
use
the
of
'formal
mode
instead
of
'red
is
to
speech'
saying
posed
'2
is
a
number',
'to
the
right
of
is
a
relation'
are
to
say
aa property',
'to
the
we
are
to
'2
is
a
is
a
relation*
number*,
right of
say
property*,
predicate', ' "2"
numeral', ' "to
the right
right of"
of" is
is aa
' "red"
"red" is
is a
is a
a predicate',
"2" is
a numeral',
"to the
not to
to involve
the same
relational
which were
were held
held not
relational expression',
involve the
expression', which
difficulties.
difficulties.
This (perhaps
failed to
to take
take account
account of
of Wit
WitlgenThis
deliberately) failed
(perhaps deliberately)
genstein's
that the
the real
real symbol
symbol is
is what
what is
is common to
to all
all the
the
stein's doctrine
doctrine that
symbols
that can
can do the
the same job.
job. To say
say of
of the
the 'real
symbol' for
for 'to
'to
'real symbol'
symbols that
the right
the
of'-the
common
feature
that
enables
all
expressions
for
the
of
feature
that
for
enables
all
right
expressions
this in
this
in all
all languages
to have
have this
this meaning
meaning-that
it is
is a relational
relational
that //
languages to
*

<f>

'

'

'

11 I
I once had occasion
to remark
remark to
to Wittgenstein
Wittgenstein that
that he
he was supposed
occasion to
supposed
that is
is
to have
a mystical
streak. 'Like
'Like aa yellow
yellow streak,'
he replied;
replied; and
and that
to
have a
mystical streak.
streak,' he
the Vienna
Vienna Circle
Circle felt
felt about
about certain
certain things
things in
the Tractatus.
Tractatus.
pretty
well how the
in the
pretty well

CONSEQUENCES OF TilE
THE PICTURE THEORY

83
83

expression
is not
not to
to say
that has
the true-false
true-false poles.
has the
It is
is
expression is
say something
something that
poles. It
clear
that Wittgenstein's
clear that
to propositions
in which
which an
an
Wittgenstein's objection
objection to
propositions in
object
is said
said to
to fall
fall under
under aa formal
formal concept
is not
not limited
limited to
the ones
to the
ones
object is
concept is
like
which
are
in
the
'material
mode
of
'red is
is a
a property'
like 'red
which
in
are
the
'material
mode
of speech',
property'
speech*,
and so
not be removed
so would not
removed by
into the
the 'formal
translation into
'formal mode'.
mode*.
by translation
'Predicate'
for
him
as
'Predicate' would be just
as much a
a 'formal
'formal concept>
for
him
as
just as
concept*
'property'.
'property'.
there was
was
Carnap
was well
well aware
aware of
of this,
and flatly
denied that
that there
Carnap was
this, and
flatly denied
to
any
stated to
about propositions
in which
an object
which an
was stated
any difficulty
difficulty about
propositions in
object was
fall
were
under a
a formal
fall under
formal concept,
so long
as these
these propositions
concept, so
long as
propositions were
translated
At first
into the
the formal
translated into
formal mode.
mode. At
first sight
this seems
seems reasonable
reasonable
sight this
"red"
is
a
predicate'
we
are
saying
something
enough.
In
'
In
"red"
is
a
are
about
enough.
predicate'
saying something about
the
by the
that
object
the object
the first
first word
word of
of the
the sentence;
that
is
object named by
sentence;
object is
itself
not
have
been
true:
the
a word.
itself a
word. What is
is said
said about
about it
it might
have
not
been
true:
the
might
sentence
poles, and
therefore has
sentence therefore
has the
the true-false
true-false poles,
and Wittgenstein's
Wittgenstein's
supposed
difficulties about
about it
it are
are illusory.
supposed difficulties
illusory.
It
part of
is an essential
It is
essential part
of Carnap's
view that
that the
the convention
convention of
of
Carnap 's view
forming
by writing
writing it
it in
in quotes
quotes is
is wholly
wholly
of a
a word by
the name of
forming the
arbitrary;
is no necessity
necessity for
for any
systematic relation,
relation, any
any more
more
there is
arbitrary; there
any systematic
shapes like
'square' and
'round' need
need have
have shapes
shapes
than
names of
the names
of shapes
like 'square'
than the
and 'round'
to the
the shapes
named; and
and 'red'
'red' as
a word
word no
no more
more
corresponding
as a
corresponding to
shapes named;
occurs
in its
its name
name' "red"'
than it
it does
does in
in 'predatory*.
'predatory'.
"red" than
occurs in
This was
was made
Carnap's
view is,
however, radically
radically defective.
defective. This
is, however,
Carnap's view
gives aa table,
table, of
of which
which II
clear
by a Czech logician,
K. Reach.
Reach. 1 He gives
clear by
logician, K.
reproduce
part here:
here:
a part
reproduce a
'

'

'

..

Semicolon

Semicolon

Secol

of 'table*
'table' one
one should
should say
say 'museum*,
'museum', for
for
remarking that
that really,
really, instead
instead of
remarking
a table
table correlates
correlates names of
of things,
things, whereas
whereas in
in aa museum things
things and
a
1
1 Journal
Journal of
of Symbolic
Symbolic Logic,
Logic, September
September 1938
1938: 'The
'The Name Relation
Relation and
the Logical
Logical Antinomies.*
Antinomies.'
the
:

84
84

WITIGENSTEIN'S TRAGrATUS
AN INrRODUCTION
TRACTATUS
INTRODUCTION TO WITTGENSTEIN'S

their
their

names are
are exhibited
exhibited together.
together. The
The table
table consists
consists of
two rows.
rows.
of two
names
of various
various single
single symbols
of aa
In
the upper
row there
there are
are samples
samples of
In the
symbols of
upper row
of
the
language;
beneath
each
is
a
word
arbitrarily
chosen
as
a
name
a
of the
language beneath each is a word arbitrarily chosen as
of
simple
symbols
given
symbol.
Carnap
calls
such
a
correlation
of
a
correlation
such
calls
simple symbols
given symbol. Carnap
with their
arbitrary names
names aa 'syntaktisclze
Zuordnung'. When we say
say
with
their arbitrary
'syntaktische Zuordnung\
is aa colour-word,
our
first
word
is
the
of
an
object
(as
it
'red'
of
the
name
an
is
it
first
word
'red is
our
(as
object
colour-word,
a word)
word); but
but there
there is
is no
no essential
essential connection
between
so
happens, of
connection between
so happens,
of a
its name,
name, other
other than
than that
that this
this is
is its
its name,
name, any
any more
more
this
object and
and its
this object
than there
there is
is any
any other
between, say,
a man and
and his
his
than
other connection
connection between,
say, a
of symbols,
symbols, symbols
symbols
name; and
and so
so we may
may (as
(as here)
here) use
use as
as names of
name;
that
have no
no systematic
systematic connection
with them.
them.
that have
connection with
syntaktische ZuordZuordReach demonstrates
the defects
defects of
of Carnap's
Reach
demonstrates the
Carnap's syntaktische
nung
by
taking
it
quite
seriously,
as
follows:
'The
purpose
of the
the
'The
follows:
as
it
nung by taking
purpose of
quite seriously,
is the
the name
name of
of Semicolon"
is to
to give
information
sentence
Semicolon" is
sentence "Secol
"Secol is
give information
of Secol
(i.e. [the
word] "Semicolon")"Semicolon"). Does
Does this
this
about
the meaning
meaning of
about the
Secol (i.e.
[the word]
is the
the
sentence
its purpose?
purpose? Suppose
asks "What is
sentence serve
serve its
somebody asks
Suppose somebody
?" and
receives the
the answer
is the
the name of
of
meaning
"Secol is
answer "Secol
of Secol
Secol?"
and he
he receives
meaning of
Semicolon."
the answer
is to
to convey
anything to
to the
the questioner,
questioner,
Semicolon." If
If the
answer is
convey anything
it
be understood;
understood; i.e.
i.e. the
must know what
what Sco
Sco and
and
it must
the questioner
must be
questioner must
Secol
what
the
words
"Secol"
and
"Semicolon")
stand
for
in
the
and
in
the
the
"Secol"
stand
for
Secol [i.e.
what
words
"Semicolon"]
[i.e.
sentence.
That he
he knows the
what
Sco,
i.e.
the
i.e.
the
the former
former [knows
word
sentence. That
what
Sco,
[knows
by the
the form
form of
of his
his question;
question; but
but the
the
"Secol",
is shewn
shewn by
stands for]
"Secol", stands
for] is
meaning of
his question
he does
does not
not know the
the latter
latter [he
[he does
does
of his
is that
that he
question is
meaning
not
what the
the word
word "Semicolon",
i.e. Secol,
Secol, stands
stands for].
Hence
not know what
for]. Hence
"Semicolon", i.e.
to the
the questioner.'
questioner.'
the answer
is incomprehensible
the
answer is
incomprehensible to
of aa very
very simple
simple paradox,
paradox,
Reach's
the formulation
Reach's work suggests
formulation of
suggests the
of the
the use
use of
of quotation
quotation marks
marks seriously:
which takes
takes Carnap's
Carnap's view
which
view of
seriously:
It
is impossible
to be
be told
told anyone's
by being
being told
told 'That
man's
It is
That man's
impossible to
anyone's name by
'; for
for then
then his
his name is
is named,
named, not
not used
used as
as aa name,
name,
name is
is "Smith" ';
is the
his name and
and
in
what II hear
bear is
in that
that statement,
the name of
of his
so what
statement, and so
not
name; and
and II can
only learn
learn his
his name if
if II know what
what name this
this
not his
his name;
can only
a name of,
of, just
just as
as II can
only obey
obey the
the order
'Fetch
name-of-a-name is
name-of-a-name
is a
can only
order 'Fetch
a
a red
red one'
if II know what colour
the colour-word
colour-word 'red'
'red' is
is aa name of.
of.
one' if
colour the
is clear
clear that
that II cannot
cannot informatively
informatively
But from Reach's
Reach's argument
it is
argument it
be told
be
told that
that this
this name-of-a-name,
name-of-a-name, i.e.
i.e. ' "Smith" ', is
is the
the name of
of
the
the name 'Smith';
'Smith'; if
if II do not
not already
understand
this,
I
shalJ
not
understand
I
shall
not
this,
already
that it
it is
is so.
so. This,
This, then,
then, seems
to be
be aa
understand
the statement
statement that
understand the
seems to
;

',

85
85

PICI'URE THEORY
CONSEQUENCES OF THE PICTURE

rather clear
clear case
can be
shewn' but
but 'cannot
'cannot be
be [informarather
case of
of 'what
'what can
be shewn'
[informatively]
said'.
tively] said*.
Nevertheless, 'what
this sense
can be
be illuminatingly
illuminatingly
'what shews'
shews* in
in this
sense can
Nevertheless,
said.
have an
an (admittedly
rather
trivial)
example
of
a
proposition
said. We have
rather
a
of
(admittedly
trivial) example
proposition
lacking
true-false poles
poles in
in ' "Someone"
is not
not the
the name
name of
of
the true-false
"Someone** is
lacking the
someone'.
true. But
But it
it does
does not
not have
have the
the bibisomeone*. This
This is
is obviously
obviously true.
of Wittgenstein's
Wittgenstein's 'significant
'significant propositions'.
propositions'. For
For what
what is
it
polarity
is it
polarity of
that
it denies
denies to
to be
the case?
case? Evidently,
that 'someone*
'someone' is
is the
the name
name of
of
that it
be the
Evidently, that
be the
the name
name of
of
someone.
But what
what would
would it
be for
to be
someone. But
it be
for 'someone'
'someone' to
someone? Someone might
christen his
his child
child 'Someone*.
'Someone'. But
But when
when
might christen
is not
not the
of someone',
we are
are not
not intendintendwe say
the name of
say ' "Someone" is
someone', we
in
the
world
has
the
odd
name
'Someone'.
ing
to
deny
that
anyone
to
that
in
the
world
the
odd
has
name
'Someone'.
deny
ing
anyone
to deny?
deny? Only
Only aa piece
piece of
of confusion.
confusion.
then are
intending to
What then
are we intending
sort of
may well
well need
need emphasizing.
emphasizing. Students,
Students, for
for
But this
of denial
denial may
this sort
But
the IntroducIntroducexample,
may believe
believe what
what Professor
Professor Flew
Flew tells
tells us
us in
in the
example, may
tion to
his collection
Logic and
Language, 1st
Series, pp.
pp. 7-8:
7-8:
tion
to his
collection Logic
and Language,
1st Series,
namely that
refers to
to aa person,
person, that
that it
it is
is part
part of
of the
the
that 'somebody'
namely
'somebody* refers
of 'somebody',
'nobody', to
to refer
refer to
to somebody.
this
'logic'
If this
unlike 'nobody',
'logic' of
'somebody', unlike
somebody. If
were so,
on being
being told
that everybody
hates somebody,
somebody, we
were
then on
told that
so, then
everybody hates
to be
be introduced
introduced to
to this
this universally
universally hated
hated person.
person. When we
could
ask to
could ask
say'
refer to
to somebody',
what we are
are intendintendnot refer
does not
say "Somebody"
somebody', what
"Somebody" does
not really
really
ing
to deny
is what
what Professor
Professor Flew
Flew meant.
meant. But
But he
he did
did not
ing to
deny is
he did).
did).
anything (even
if he
he felt
as if
mean anything
if he
felt as
(even if
Here
statement which
which appears
appears quite
correct is
is not
not aa statement
statement
a statement
Here a
quite correct
with true-false
true-false poles.
poles. Its
Its contradictory,
contradictory, when examined,
peters out
out
with
examined, peters
into
nothingness.
We
may
infer
from
this
that
Wittgenstein's
account
account
infer
into nothingness.
from this that Wittgenstein's
may
of
propositions is
is inadequate,
inadequate, correct
only within
within aa restricted
restricted area.
area.
of propositions
correct only
For it
seems
reasonable
to
prohibit
the
formula:
'
"Someto
the
formula:
it hardly
For
reasonable
seems
prohibit
hardly
not refer
refer to
to SO!ilebody'
or ' "Someone" is
is not
not the
the name
body" does
does not
somebody' or
body"
of
someone'; nor,
nor, of
this logical
logical truth
truth in
in any
any sharp
sharp sense
sense
is this
of course,
of someone'
course, is
of
truth'. It
is, rather,
an insight;
insight; the
the opposite
opposite of
of it
it is
is only
only
It is,
of 'logical
rather, an
'logical truth'.
confusion
muddle (not
and muddle
confusion and
contradiction).
(not contradiction).
of ' "Someone" is
not the
the name of someone' is
is
The example
example of
is not
The
Accordis
is
negative.
Accord-
particularly
clear,
because
the
true
proposition
true
the
because
negative.
proposition
particularly clear,
our proposition
proposition denies
denies
ing to
to Wittgenstein,
however, since
what our
since what
ing
Wittgenstein, however,
does
not turn
out to
to be
be anything,
anything, it
it itself
itself is
is not
not aa truth;
truth; for
for there
there
does not
turn out
the
to
is
not
the
case,
as
opposed
to
the
equally
isn't
which
it
says
the
as
is
not
which
it
isn't anything
equally
case,
opposed
says
anything
*

'

'

'

'

'

86
86

AN INTRODUCTION TO

possible situation
of
situation of
possible

WITTGENSTEIN's TRACI'ATUS
TRACTATUS
WITTGENSTEIN'S

its
being the
the case.
case. Therefore
Therefore Wittgenstein
Wittgenstein
its being

would either
either have
have looked
a more
more acceptable
acceptable formulation
(which
would
for a
formulation (which
looked for
think is
is impossible)
impossible) or
have said
said it
was something
which shewed
shewedI think
I
it was
or have
something which
stared
in the
the face,
face, at
any rate
rate once
you had
had taken
taken aa good
good look
lookstared you
once you
at any
you in
but could
could not
not be
be said.
said. This
partly accounts
for the
the comical
comical frequency
frequency
but
This partly
accounts for
Tractatus,
one
is
tempted
to say
say
with which,
which, in
in expounding
the
with
is
one
the
Tractatus,
tempted to
expounding
then say
say that
cannot be
be said.
said.
things
and then
that they
things and
they cannot
At 4.1121
4.1121 Wittgenstein
Wittgenstein says:
'Does not
not my study
of signsignstudy of
says: 'Does
to
the
study
of
thought
processes
which
language
correspond
of
which
the
to
thought processes
language correspond
study
philosophers have
have held
held to
be so
to the
the philosophy
philosophy of
of logic?
logic?
to be
essential to
so essential
philosophers
the most
most part
part in
in inessential
inessential psychological
psychological
Only
they got
got involved
involved for
for the
Only they
investigations,
and there
there is
an analogous
analogous danger
danger with
with my method.'
method.'
is an
investigations, and
The development
represented
by
Camap
and
his
school
seems
to be
be
his
school
seems
and
to
development represented by Carnap
aa fulfilment
this expectation.
fulfilment of
of this
expectation.

6
6

SIGN AND SYMBOL

As we have seen,
seen, if
the possibility
possibility of
of aa state
of affairs
affairs is
is expressed,
expressed,
if the
state of
not
in aa proposition,
proposition, but
but in
an expression's
being
a
significant
in an
not in
a
expression's being
significant
then according
according to
to the
the Tractatus
the very
very thing
thing that
that it
it is
is
proposition, then
Tractatus the
proposition,
again cannot
cannot be
be expressed
by aa proposition.
proposition. But
But we
we
expressed
in again
expressed in
expressed by
are
not yet
yet in
in the
the realm
realm of
of the
the 'inexpressible*
'inexpressible' according
according to
to the
the
are not
Tractatus:
for instead
of speaking
speaking of
of an
an expression's
expression's being
being aa
Tractatus: for
instead of
speak of
of the
the fact
fact that
that ' "p"
"p" says
says
significant
proposition, we could
could speak
significant proposition,
that p'.
p'. And we shall
find out
that this,
this, taken
taken one
one way,
way, is
is aa genuine
genuine
shall find
that
out that
understand this
this we must
must examine
examine two
two reputedly
reputedly obscure
obscure
fact. To understand
fact.
passages. The first
first is
5.541-5.5421:
is 5.541-5.5421
passages.
'At
sight it
it appears
as if
there were
were another
another way
way [other
than
first sight
At first
if there
appears as
[other than
as
truth-argument] in
in which one proposition
proposition could
occur in
in anana truth-argument]
could occur
as a
certain psychological
psychological forms
forms of
of proposition,
proposition,
other.
in certain
other. Especially
Especially in
believes that
that p
pis
the case"
case" or
or "A conceives
conceives p"
p" etc.
etc. 11 Here
Here it
it
like
is the
like "A believes
appears
superficially
as
if
the
proposition
p
stood
in
some
kind of
of
if
the
kind
proposition p stood in
appears superficially as
relation to
to an
an object
object A. And these
these propositions
propositions have
have actually
actually been
been
relation
so
taken in
modem theory
theory of
knowledge (Russell,
(Russell, Moore,
Moore, etc.)etc.). It
is
in modern
of knowledge
It is
so taken
clear,
however, that
that "A believes
believes that
that p",
p", "A conceives
conceives p",
p", "A says
says
clear, however,
p"
of the
the form
form"" 'p'
p". And here
here what is
is in
in question
question is
is not
not
are of
*p' says
says p".
p" are
aa correlation
of a
a fact
to an object,
object, but
but a correlation
correlation between
between facts
facts
fact to
correlation of
by means of
a correlation
correlation between
between the
the objects
objects in
them. This
This also
also
in them.
of a
by
the mind
mind-the
etc.-as
it is
is conceived
the
shews that
in the
the subject
as it
conceived in
that the
shews
subject etc.
is
a
comsuperficial
psychology
of
the
present
day,
is
a
chimera.
a
chimera.
the
a
For
of
day,
present
psychology
superficial
longer be
be aa mind.*
mind!
posite
posite mind would no longer
form "p''
The statement
believes that
that p'
p' etc.
etc. are
are of
of the
the form'
that 'A
*A believes
statement that
"p'*
*

1
t

Russell mentions
mentions such
forms of
of proposition
proposition (Principia
Mathematica,
such forms
Russell
(Principia Mathematics
I, p.
p. 8)
in order
order to
to explain
truth-functions by
by contrast.
contrast.
explain truth-functions
I,
8) in

Ist Edition,
Vol.
1st
Edition, Vol.

87
87

88
88

AN INTRODUCTION TO WITTGENSTEIN'S
WfiTGENSTEIN'S TRACTATUS

says
p' has
has been
been variously
variously taken
to mean
mean that
that Wittgenstein
Wittgenstein held
held it
it
taken to
says p'
was impossible
impossible to
to have
have aa thought
thought without
without uttering
uttering aa sentence;
sentence; or
or
was
that
held that
that aa person
person was
was to
to be
be analysed
as aa complex.
that he
he held
analysed as
complex.
For
first interpretation
interpretation II can
see no
no reason
reason at
at all.
all. Against
Against
can see
the first
For the
the second
the
second

it seems
seems to
to be
be an
an objection
objection that
that it
it takes
takes aa theory
theory that
that aa
it
person
is
a
complex
as
Wittgenstein's
ground
for
saying
that
'A
for
that
as
*A
is
a
saying
Wittgenstein's ground
person
complex
believes p'
p' is
the form
says
that
p'.
Whereas
it
is
evident
Whereas
it
is
that
of the
form '"p"
evident
is of
believes
p'.
"p" says
that he
is arguing:
arguing: You can't
can't explain
explain the
the mind as
judging
as 'the
'the judging
that
he is
'A judges
judges p',
'A judges
judges p'
p' is
is of
the form
form '"p"
subject'
in 'A
of the
because 'A
subject' in
p', because
"p"
says
that way
way you
you will
will only
only reach
reach aa complex,
complex, and
and aa composite
composite
so that
says p';
p'; so
not be
be aa mind.
Wittgenstein's statement
statement that
that
mind
would not
mind. Therefore
Therefore Wittgenstein's
mind would
'A
believes p*
p' is
of the
the form
form '"p"
says
p'
cannot
be
based
on
any
be
cannot
based
on
'A believes
is of
"p" says p'
any
Humean theory
that
a
person
is
a
complex.
is
a
that
a
complex.
theory
person
'It
is clear,'
he says;
of course
what was
was clear
clear to
to him
him was
was
course what
and of
*It is
says; and
clear,' he
that
to
be
capable
of
representating
the
fact
that
p,
it
the
fact
that
of
to
be
it
that for
for anything
representating
capable
p,
anything
must be
complex as
that p;
p; but
but aa thought
thought that
that p,
p, or
or aa
the fact
fact that
must
as the
as complex
be as
or statement
that p,
p, must
must be
be potentially
potentially a representation
representation of
of
belief or
belief
statement that
the fact
p (and
course actually
actually aa representation
representation of
of it,
it, if
it is
is
if it
of course
the
that p
fact that
(and of
aa fact
fact that
p). It
is perhaps
perhaps not
not quite
right to
to say
say that
that 'A
judges p'
p' is
is
*A judges
It is
that p).
quite right
of
the form
form ' "p"
that p'
p'; what
what he
he should
should have
have said
said was
was that
that the
the
of the
says that
"p'* says
part of
of'Ajudges
that p',
p', the
the part
part that
that relates
relates to
to something's
something's
business
A judges that
business part
the fact
fact that
that p,
p,
having as
as its
its content
potential representation
representation of
of the
content a
a potential
having
the form
form' "p"
that p':
p': 'A
'A believes
believes p'
p' or
or 'conceives
'conceives p'
p' or
or
was of
of the
was
"p" says
says that
'says
p' must
occurs in
or is
is produced
produced by
by A something
something
in A or
'There occurs
must mean 'There
*says p'
(capable of
of being)
being) aa picture
picture of
ofp'.
should here
here remember
remember
which
which is
is (capable
p\ We should
the letter
to Russell
Russell in
in which
he said
said he
he did
did not
not know what the
the conconwhich he
letter to
the
of
thoughts
were,
but
he
was
certain
that
a
thought
must
stituents
he
was
certain
a
that
but
stituents of thoughts were,
thought must
to the
the words
words of
of language.
language.
have
have constituents
constituents corresponding
corresponding to
Here,
are given'
says that
that p'
p' as
as aa possible
possible form
form of
of
then, we are
Here, then,
given "p"
"p" says
proposition.
If
Wittgenstein
has
not
been
careless,
it
fit
his
has
it
must
fit
If
not
been
his
Wittgenstein
careless,
proposition.
general
account of
propositions-that
is, it
must have
have true-false
true-false
of propositions
that is,
it must
general account
if aa sentence
sentence is
an arrangement
of words,
words, it
it would seem
seem
poles.
is an
arrangement of
poles. Now if
to
accordance with
with the
the general
general principles
principles of
the Tractatus
Tractatus
of the
to follow
in accordance
follow in
that aa way
of designating
sentence must be
be (or
(or be
be defined
defined by)
by) aa
that
a sentence
way of
designating a
of
its
arrangement
of
words;
though
it
is
a
reasonable
description
of
its
of
it
is
words
reasonable
description
arrangement
though
complaint
reader to
that Wittgenstein
Wittgenstein might
might have
have been
been
to make that
for a
a reader
complaint for
more explicit
explicit than
than he
he is
is on this
point.
passage
which
this important
The
which
point.
important
passage
*

'

'

'

89
89

SIGN AND SYMBOL

comes nearest
to stating
it is
is as
as well
well known,
known, and
and has
has been
been found
found as
as
nearest to
stating it
obscure,
as
the
one
have
just
considered.
It
comes
at
3.1432,
the
one
as
we
have
obscure,
just considered. It comes at 3.1432,
and runs:
runs:
"The complex
that aa stands
stands in
in the
the relation
relation R to
to
'aRb' says
complex sign
sign 'aRb'
says that
b." No,
No, not
not that,
that, but
but rather
rather "That
'a' stands
in aa certain
certain relation
relation to
to
"That 'a'
stands in
'b'
that aRb".'
aRb".'
'b' says
says that
This statement
is really
really not
not particularly
particularly obscure.
obscure. Consider
what
statement is
Consider what
relation the
does actually
actually stand
stand in
in to
to the
the sign
'b' in
in virtue
virtue
'a' does
relation
the sign
sign 'a'
sign *b'
of which the
the whole sign
composed says
that aRb.
aRb. There
There are
are all
all
so composed
sign so
says that
sorts
possibilities. For
For example,
example, if
if II happened
happened to
to write
write the
the 'a'
'a' in
in
sorts of possibilities.
blue and the
the 'b'
'b' in
in red,
red, the
the question
question could
could arise
arise whether
whether it
it is
is in
in
blue
virtue
the fact
fact that
that 'a',
'a', 'b',
and
'R'
are
written
side
by
side
(the
virtue of the
and
R'
are
written
side
side
'b',
(the
by
order being
being immaterial),
immaterial), with
with the
the 'a'
blue and
and the
the *b'
'b' red,
red, that
that the
the
'a' blue
sign
composed says
that aRb.
aRb. In
fact, we
we know
know that
that even
even if
I do
do
so composed
In fact,
if I
sign so
says that
this, this
not the
the expressive
of the
the sign,
sign, though
though of
of course
course
is not
this is
feature of
this,
expressive feature
it
might be.
be. The expressive
expressive feature
is that
that the
the *a'
'a' stands
stands to
to the
the left
left
it might
feature is
and the 'b'
'b' to
to the
the right
right of
of the
the 'R';
for if
if II reversed
reversed that,
that, putting
putting 'b'
'b'
R'; for
to the
the left
to the
the right,
right, then,
then, according
according to
to our
our present
present conconto
*a' to
left and 'a'
ventions,
a different
would be
expressed. From this
this we can
can see
see
different sense
sense would
be expressed.
ventions, a
take ' "p"
says
that
p'.
The
expression
schematically
how we should
should take
that
The
"p" says
p'.
expression schematically
represented
by ' "p"
which in
in aa concrete
case would
would consist
consist of
of an
an
concrete case
"p" ',
% which
represented by
actual
proposition in
quotation marks,
marks, is
is to
to be
be taken
taken as
as aa way
way of
of
in quotation
actual proposition
describing
the arrangement
signs that
that constitutes
constitutes the
the proposition.
proposition.
of signs
arrangement of
describing the
that p'
p' thus
thus admits
of various
various interpretations;
interpretations; e.g.:
e.g.:
' "p"
admits of
"p" says
says that
'That
in "aRb" "a"
"a" is
written in
in italics
italics and "b" in
in Roman says
says
"That in
is written
that
aRb'
that
might
the way
way that
that we interpreted
says that
that aRb'.
aRb'.
"aRb" says
interpreted '"aRb"
might be the
And although
although it
contains aa true
true description
of
the
prepositional
sign
the
it contains
of
prepositional sign
description
as
here occurring,
it is
false statement
(though it
it could
be aa true
true
could be
is a
a false
statement (though
as here
occurring, it
one);
not, as
as it
it happens,
happens, this
this fact,
fact, but
but the
the fact
that 'a' stands
stands
fact that
it is
for it
is not,
one) for
to the
left and 'b'
to the
the right
right of
'R', that
that says
that aRb.
aRb. The use
use of
of
of 'R',
the left
'b' to
to
says that
italic and Roman letters
letters is
is immaterial
as far
far as
as concerns
concerns the
the expresexpresimmaterial as
italic
sion of a
a relation.
relation.
If this
this is
is the
the sort
sort of
are to
to understand,
understand, then
then the
the propopropoIf
of thing
thing we are
with
true-false
sition
says
that
p'
is
a
genuine
proposition,
with
true-f'llse
a
is
that
sition ' "p"
genuine proposition,
"p" says
p'
poles,
to the
comx.vtions of
of the
the Tractatus;
for its
its truth
truth
the conceptions
Tractates; for
according to
poles, according
is
understood
or
depends
on
how
the
prepositional
sign
'p'
is
the
or falsity
sign
*p*
propositional
falsity depends
4

'

'

90
90

AN INTRODUCTION TO

WITIGENSTEIN'S TRACTATUS
TRACfATUS
WITTGENSTEIN'S

to be
be described.
described. Of course,
in order
to be
be false,
false, the
the description
description has
has
to
order to
course, in
got
be of
some feature
the prepositional
propositional sign
sign that
that might
might have
have
to be
of some
feature of
of the
got to
to express
express p.
p. So
while some
some interpretation
interpretation or
or other
other of
of
been used
used to
been
So while
' .."p"
p" says
that
p'
must
be
true,
its
exact
interpretation
is
something
says that p' must be true, its exact interpretation is something
that can
can be
be true
true or
or false.
that
false.
If
a man says
says-perhaps
wanderingly-something
the form
form
If a
of the
something of
perhaps wonderingly
..
p" says
p',
he
need
not
be
thinking
of
the
interpretation
of
the
of
of
the
he
not
be
the
need
"p"
says p',
interpretation
thinking
part
which is
is aa quoted
quoted expression,
expression, but
but that
that does
does
his expression
of his
part of
expression which
not matter:
matter: for
Wittgenstein says
says at
at 4.002:
4.002: 'Man possesses
possesses the
the
not
for as
as Wittgenstein
capacity
languages in
in which
which any
any sense
sense can
can be
be exexof constructing
capacity of
constructing languages
pressed
without having
having an
what each
each word stands
stands for,
for, and
and
an inkling
inkling what
pressed without
how. Just
speak without
knowing how the
the individual
how.
individual sounds
Just as
as we speak
sounds
without knowing
are
....
The
tacit
conventions
for
understanding
ordinary
are produced
for
tacit
The
conventions
produced.
understanding ordinary
Someone who had
language
enormously complicated.'
complicated.' Someone
had given
given no
no
are enormously
language are
thought to
to how 'aRb'
that aRb would
would immediately
irrunediately know that
that
aRb' says
thought
says that
someone else
had gone
wrong who thought
thought that
that it
it was the
the italics
italics
else had
gone wrong
that
mattered, and
and that
that one
say that
that bRfl
bRa by
by writing
writing 'aR6\
'aRb'.
that mattered,
one could
could say
That is
is to
to say,
say, in
p" says
says that
that p'
p' what
what is
being considered
considered is
is being
That
in ' ..
is
"p"
the propositional
sign, mental
mental or
physical; and
and it
it was
was of
of course
course
the
or physical;
prepositional sign,
primarily
of the
the physical
physical sign
that Wittgenstein
Wittgenstein was
was thinking.
thinking. Signs
Signs
primarily of
sign that
are
all what
what we actually
actually hear
hear or
see; it
it is
is from them that
that we
are after
after all
or see;
gather
the meaning
meaning of
is said
said or
written; and some of
of the
the
or written;
of what is
gather the
of meaning.
meaning. That
That is
is to
to say,
say,
variations in
in them
them embody
variations of
variations
embody variations
the kind
difference that
that there
there is
is between
between *aRb'
'aRb'
the
kind of
of sensibly
sensibly perceived
perceived difference
and 'bRa'
is that
that from
from which
which we gather,
gather, and
and by
by means
means of
which we
of which
'bRa' is
express,
sense.
of sense.
difference of
express, a difference
between
if we consider
the difference
Now if
consider the
difference between
*

and B are
are poetical
poetical
A and
and
A and B are
are identical
identical
have gone
wrong if
think that
that the
the difference
difference in
in sense
sense
we shall
shall have
if we think
far wrong
gone far
the difference
difference
between the
the two
two propositions
propositions is
is expressed
expressed purely
purely by
by the
between
of four
four letters,
that in
in the
the one one thing
thing is
is asserted
asserted of
of A and B,
B, and
letters, that

in
other another
thing, the
the difference
difference of
of words
words expressing
expressing aa
in the
the other
another thing,
difference
just in
what is
is asserted.
asserted. For
For that
that difference
difference of
of two
two words
words
difference just
in what

SIGN AND SYMBOL

91
91

signifies
more than
than that;
that; as
comes out
out in
in the
the fact
fact that
that if
if A and
and
as comes
signifies much more
B are
poetical, A is
poetical; whereas
whereas if
if A and
and B are
identical, we
we
is poetical;
are poetical,
are identical,
can't
on
from
this
to
say
'A
is
identical'.
Thus
Wittgenstein
says:
from
on
can't go
this
to say 'A is identical'. Thus Wittgenstein says
go
'What does
not get
expressed in
in the
the signs,
signs, comes
comes out
out in
their applicaapplica'What
does not
in their
get expressed
By
tion: What the
the signs
signs fail
express, their
their application
application declares.'
declares.' By
tion:
fail to
to express,
'application'
be did
did not
not mean
mean 'role
'role in
in life',
life', 'use',
'use', 'practice
of
the
use'
use'
the
of
'application' he
'practice
in
of Philosophical
Philosophical Investigations;
Investigations; he
be meant
meant 'logico'logicothe sense
sense of
in the
syntactic
application' (i.e.
that kind
kind of
of difference
difference between
between the
the
(i.e. that
syntactic application*
of words
words which
which concerns
concerns aa logician).
logician). 'Only
together
syntactical
roles of
syntactical roles
'Only together
with
its logico-syntactic
logico-syntactic application
application does
does aa sign
a logical
logical
with its
determine a
sign determine
of
a
logical
form
that aa
form'
it
was
by
the
possession
it
And
form' (3.327).
was
(3.327).
by the possession of a logical form that
proposition
was
capable
of
expressing
a
sense.
was
of
a
sense.
capable
proposition
expressing
But it
it is
is pretty
pretty well
well impossible
impossible to
to discern
discern logical
logical form
in everyeveryBut
form in
day
language. As an
example of
of the
the difficulty,
difficulty, consider
consider the
the difference
difference
an example
day language.
the same
same
between Roman and
and Arabic
Arabic numeration.
numeration. MCMXLVffl
MCMXLVIII is
between
is the
but reading
it is
more complicated.
complicated. For
For example,
example,
as 1948,
number as
is more
1948, but
reading it
the way
way of
of reading
reading MCM is
different from
from the
the way
way of
of reading
reading VH,
VII,
the
is different
though
is composed
composed of
three of
of the
the elements
elements placed
placed side
side by
by side.
side.
each is
of three
though each
This
does not
not mean that
that the
the Roman system
system fails
fails to
to express
express the
the same
same
This does
as the
the Arabic.
Arabic. It
it
perfectly.
number as
It expresses
it
expresses
perfectly.
This illustrates
view of
of the
the difference
difference between
between
This
illustrates Wittgenstein's
Wittgenstein's view
a good
notation. In
his Introduction
Introduction
ordinary
language and
In his
and a
ordinary language
good symbolic
symbolic notation.
(p.
Russell said
that Wittgenstein
Wittgenstein was
was 'concerned
'concerned with
with the
the conconsaid that
9) Russell
(p. 9)
that any
any language
language is
is
ditions
a logically
perfect language-not
for a
ditions for
logically perfect
language not that
logically
perfect, or
that we believe
believe ourselves
capable, here
here and
and now,
now,
or that
ourselves capable,
logically perfect,
of
logically perfect
perfect language,
language, but
but that
that the
the whole
whole
a logically
of constructing
constructing a
of language
language is
is to
to have
have meaning,
meaning, and it
it only
only fulfils
ful:fils this
this
function
function of
function
proportion as
as it
it approaches
approaches to
to the
the ideal
ideal language
language which
which
in proportion
function in
Russell's was
was plainly
plainly contrary
contrary to
to
This statement
statement of
we postulate.'
of Russell's
postulate.' This
as is
very easily
easily shewn.
5.5563
the intentions
intentions of
shewn. At 5.5563
the
the Tractatus,
is very
of the
Tractates, as
Wittgenstein says:
'All the
sentences of
of our
our everyday
everyday language,
language, just
just
the sentences
says: 'All
Wittgenstein
perfect order.'
order.' Language
Language could
could not
not
as
they are,
are, are
in perfect
as they
are logically
logically in
approximate
to having
having meaning;
meaning; any
any language,
language, just
just qua
qua language,
language,
approximate to
fulfils its
its purpose
purpose perfectly.
perfectly.
fulfils
It
a mistake
that the
the dictum
dictum 'Ordinary
'Ordinary language
language is
is
is a
to suppose
It is
mistake to
suppose that
was
He
views.
later
all
right' is
an expression
expression only
of
Wittgenstein's
later
views.
of
all right'
is an
Wittgenstein's
only
his point
point of
view at
at the
the time
time
dialectically
not opposing,
opposing, his
of view
dialectically expounding,
expounding, not
:

92
92

AN INI"RODUCTION
INTRODUCTION TO

WITI'GENSTEIN'S TRACI'ATIJS
WITTGENSTEIN'S
TRACTATUS

of
writing the
the Tractatus,
in the
the following
following passage
passage of
of Philosophical
Philosophical
of writing
Tractatus, in

Investigations:
Investigations:
'On
the one
one hand
hand it
it is
is clear
that every
every sentence
in our
our
clear that
*On the
sentence in
language
"is
all
right
as
it
is".
That
is,
that
are
not
striving
that
is".
That
we
are
"is
all
as
it
not
is,
right
language
striving
after
an ideal
our ordinary
ordinary vague
vague sentences
had not
not yet
yet got
got
sentences had
if our
after an
ideal : as
as if
an
irreproachable sense,
a perfect
perfect language
language had
had yet
yet to
to be
be
an irreproachable
and a
sense, and
constructed
by us.
us. On the
other hand
hand this
this seems
seems clear:
there
clear Where there
the other
constructed by
so there
there must
must be
be perfect
perfect
is sense,
there must
must be
be perfect
perfect order.
is
order. And so
sense, there
order
even in
in the
the vaguest
vaguest sentence.'
sentence. ' 11
order even
:

That is
is to
the sentences
language no more
more fail
fail to
to
That
of ordinary
to say,
sentences of
ordinary language
say, the
express
a sense
sense than
than our
our Roman numeral
numeral fails
fails to
to express
a number.
number.
express a
express a
The one
sense, the
a number,
number, perfectly.
perfectly. And so
so the
the
other a
one expresses
the other
a sense,
expresses a
order that
that characterizes
language is
is there
there in
in every
sentence of
of
ideal
ideal order
characterizes language
every sentence
ordinary
language.
But:
'Everyday
language
is
a
part
of
the
is
a
of
the
But:
human
'Everyday language
part
ordinary language.
organism
is just
just as
as complicated.
complicated. It
is humanly
humanly impossible
impossible to
to
It is
organism and is
gather
logic of
language from
(4.002). This,
This, then,
then, is
is
from it
it directly'
of language
the logic
gather the
directly' (4.002).
to Wittgenstein,
Wittgenstein, we study
logic and
and construct
construct logical
logical
why, according
according to
why,
study logic
in order
order to
to understand
nnderstand the
the 'logic
'logic of
of language',
language', so
so as
as
symbolisms:
symbolisms in
to see
mirrors reality.
reality.
to
see how language
language mirrors
We want
want in
in pursuit
pursuit of
of the
the picture-theory
picture-theory to
to be
be able
to say
say that
that the
the
able to
of
language
is
that
signs
are
combined
in
certain
expressive
feature
is
that
are
in
of
combined
feature
certain
sigTis
expressive
language
ways. We compared
'bRa', saying
that we have
have here
here a
a
'aRb', and 'bRa',
saying that
ways.
compared 'aRb',
sensible
difference in
in which
which aa difference
difference of
of sense
sense is
expressed. That
That
is expressed.
sensible difference
is
to say,
this is
particular instance
instance of
of aa kind
kind of
of difference
difference which
which is
is
is to
is a particular
say, this
essential
to any
relational expression
in any
any language:
language: we have
have here
here
essential to
any relational
expression in
an example
'what is
is common to
to all
that can
can do
do the
the job'.
job'.
all symbols
of 'what
symbols that
example of
But of
'aRb' expresses
something, as
as e.g.
e.g. 'X-O'
'X-0' does
does not,
not,
of course
course 'aRb'
expresses something,
the elements
elements in
'aRb' are
are not
not just
just signs
signs in
the sense
sense of
of
because the
because
in 'aRb'
in the
'marks',
but
are
symbols,
as
those
in
'X-0'
are
not.
the
expressive
but
are
as
those
in
'X-O'
are
the
not.
So
'marks',
symbols,
expressive
of 'aRb'
'aRb' is
not just
just an
an order
of elements,
elements, but
but is
is the
the fact
fact that
that
feature
is not
feature of
order of
a sign
symbol, stands
stands to
to the
the lefy
lef~, and the
the sign
sign 'b',
'b',
is a symbol,
sign 'a',
*a', which is
also aa symbol,
to the
the right,
right, of
of the
the sign
sign-again
a symbol
symbolwhich is
is also
symbol, to
again a
:

'R'.
'R'.
11

Pnilosophical Investigations,
Investigations, Part
Part
Philosophical

I, 95.
95.

I,

93
93

SIGN AND SYMBOL

On the
other hand,
hand, we have
have to
to remember
remember the
the central
point of
of the
the
the other
central point
we have
have already
explained: 'Only
'Only in
in the
the conconalready explained:
text
a proposition
proposition has
has aa name
name reference'
reference'; 'Only
'Only in
in the
the context
context of
of
text of
of a
aa proposition
proposition has
has an
expression reference.'
reference.' This
This prohibits
prohibits us
us from
from
an expression
can first
first somehow
somehow characterize
and *b*
'b' as
as
thinking that
that we can
R' and
characterize 'a',
'a', 'R'
thinking
symbolic
signs,
and
then
lay
it
down
we
can
build
propositions
and
it
build
then
we
can
how
symbolic signs,
lay
propositions
out
them. If
is aa symbolic
sign only
in the
the context
context of
of aa propopropoIf 'a'
'a' is
out of
of them.
symbolic sign
only in
sition,
then the
the symbol
symbol 'a'
will be
be properly
properly presented,
presented, not
not by
by putting
putting
'a' will
sition, then
and saying
saying it
it is
a symbol
of such
such and
and such
a kind,
kind, but
but by
by
it down and
is a
such a
it
symbol of
class of
the propositions
propositions in
in which
which it
it can
can
representing
the whole
whole class
of the
representing the
picture theory
which
theory which
picture

occur.
occur.
This we may
may do
do provisionally
provisionally by
by taking
taking aa proposition
proposition in
in which
which
This
'a'
and
retaining
'a',
while
substitute
a
variable
(I
will
and
substitute
a
'a* occurs,
while
we
variable
occurs,
retaining V,
(I will
use '') for
for all
all the
the rest
rest of
of the
proposition. Then the
the symbol
symbol 'a'
is
the proposition.
a' is
use
rightly presented,
presented, not
not just
just by
by putting
putting it
it down and
and saying
it is
a sign
sign
is a
saying it
rightly
of
object, but
but by
by a variable
variable proposition
proposition
an object,
of an

'e)

(f)aa
This Wittgenstein
Wittgenstein says
generally for
for symbols,
symbols, or
or 'expres'expresThis
says quite
quite generally
at 3.311-3.313:
presupposes
the
forms
of all
all
sions',
the
forms
The expression
3.311-3.313: 'The
of
sions', at
expression presupposes
can occur.
occur. It
the common characteristic
characteristic
propositions in
in which
which it
it can
is the
It is
propositions
mark of
of aa class
propositions. It
It is
is therefore
therefore presented
presented by
by the
the
class of
of propositions.
general
form of
the propositions
propositions of
of which
which it
it is
is characteristic.
characteristic. And
of the
general form
in
form the
the expression
expression will
will be
be constant
constant and
and everything
else
in this
this form
everything else
by aa variable:
variable: the
the proprovariable.
the expression
is presented
presented by
variable. Thus the
expression is
positions
which contain
contain the
are values
values of
of this
this variable
variable ....
the expressions
expressions are
positions which
II call
variable a
a "prepositional
variable".'
Equally,
of course,
course,
such a
call such
variable".'
a variable
Equally, of
"prepositional
it would have
have been
been possible,
possible, considering
considering aa proposition
proposition such
as 'aRb'
such as
it
aRb'
in
which 'a'
occurs, to
to take
take *Rb*
'Rb' as
the expression
expression to
to be
be presented,
presented,
in which
as the
*a' occurs,
a variable
variable (I
will use
use '7J')
for the
the 'a';
then the
the exexand to
substitute a
to substitute
*a'; then
(I will
V) for
pression will
will be
be presented
presented by
by the
the variable
variable proposition
proposition
pression
6

perhaps inspired
inspired by
by Frege's
Frege's Concept
and Object.
Object.
This
account is
This account
is perhaps
Concept and
Fregesaid:
Fregesaid:

94
94

AN INTRODUCTION
INTRODUcnON TO WITTGENSTEIN'S
WI1TGENSI'EIN'S TRACfATUS
TRACTATUS

'Language has
has means
means of
presenting now one,
another
of presenting
one, now another
'Language
part of
of the
the sentence
the subject;
subject; one
one of
of the
the most
most familiar
familiar is
is
as the
sentence as
part
the
distinction
of
active
and
passive
forms
....
It
need
not
then
It
...
need not then
the distinction of active and passive forms.
surprise
us that
that the
the same
sentence may
may be
be conceived
as an
an
conceived as
same sentence
surprise us
assertion
and
also
as
an
assertion
about
an
as
an
and
also
assertion
about
an
a concept
about a
assertion about
concept
object; only
we must
must observe
observe that
that what
what is
is asserted
asserted is
is different.'
different.'l1
only we
object;
Frege
was thinking
thinking at
at first
first of
the fact
fact that
that we can
can re-form
re-form propopropoof the
Frege was
sitions,
shewn by
by his
reference to
to active
active and
and passive
passive forms.
forms.
his reference
is shewn
as is
sitions, as
part of
of the
the sentence
sentence as
as the
the
Language shews
one, now another,
another, part
shews now one,
Language
subject,
by
altering
the
sentence,
so
that
one
part,
another,
now
that
one
now
the
so
sentence,
another,
part,
subject, by altering
appears
the grammatical
e.g. 'John
'John murdered
murdered James',
James',
as the
subject, e.g.
grammatical subject.
appears as
'James was
murdered by
by John'.
John'. And,
And, also,
'The sun
red', 'Red
'Red is
is
is red',
sun is
was murdered
'James
also, 'The
aa property
property of
the sun'.
sun*.
of the
But when Frege
same sentence
can be
be conceived
as
'The same
sentence can
conceived as
But
says: 'The
Frege says:
an
about aa concept
and also
an object;
object; only
only we must
must
about an
also about
an assertion
assertion about
concept and
observe
that what
what is
is asserted
is different',
he has
has passed
passed from
from conconasserted is
observe that
different', he
sidering
a
reformulation
of
'The
sun
is
red',
like
'Redness
is aa
of
'The
is
sun
like
reformulation
a
'Redness
is
red',
sidering
property
of
the
sun',
to
considering
the
one
sentence
'The
sun
is
red'
the
the
one
sentence
'The
to
sun
of
is
red'
sun',
considering
property
in
two ways.
these two
two ways
ways are
are very
very well
well explained
explained by
by WittgenWittgenin two
ways. And these
stein. Adopting
Adopting his
his explanations
can take
take them
them as
the alternatives
alternatives
stein.
as the
explanations we can
of
regarding it
it as
value of
of aa variable
variable sentence:
sentence:
of regarding
a value
as a
'- - - - - - red'
red'
an argument,
argument, and
and
which takes
sun' as
as an
which
'The sun'
takes 'The
*

'The sun - - - - - -'


which takes
as argument.
takes 'red'
'red' as
argument. In
the first,
first, we shall
shall therefore
therefore be
be rereIn the
the sentence
garding
sentence as
as 'about'
the sun;
sun; in
in the
the second
second as
as 'about'
'about'
'about' the
garding the
red for what we are
red-for
are 'taking
as the
the subject'
subject' is
is what
what fills
fills the
the argumentargument'taking as
place.
as Frege
Frege says,
if
so
regard
the
sentence
as
an
if
we
so
the
sentence
as
place. Only,
Only, as
now an
says,
regard
assertion about a concept,
about an object,
object, what
what is
is asserted
asserted is
is
concept, now about
different,
the sense
the whole
whole analysis
analysis is
is in
in each
each case
case the
the
sense of
of the
different, though
though the

same.
same.
1

Philosophical Writings
of Gottlob Frege,
Frege, ed.
ed.
Philosophical
Writings ofGottlob

Geach and
and Black,
Black, p.
p. 49.
49.
Geach

95
95

SIGN AND SYMBOL

This last
last point
point was
was missed
missed by
by Ramsey
Ramsey in
in his
his essay
This
Universals.
essay Umversals.
He speaks
of aa theory
theory-which
he rejects
rejects-that
in aa proposition
proposition
which he
that in
speaks of
'aRb'
'three closely
closely related
related propositions;
propositions; one
one asserts
asserts
*aRb' we can
can discern
discern 'three
that the
the relation
relation R holds
holds between
between the
the terms
terms aa and
and b,
b, the
the second
second
that
of the
the complex
complex property
property of
"having R
asserts
the possession
possession by
by aa of
asserts the
of "having
to
while the
the third
third asserts
asserts that
that bb has
has the
the complex
complex property
property that
that aa
to b",
b", while
has R to
it. These
must be
be three
three different
different propositions
propositions because
because they
they
to it.
has
These must
and yet
yet they
they are
are not
not three
three
have three
three different
sets of
have
different sets
of constituents,
constituents, and
propositions, but
but one
proposition, for
they all
all say
say the
the same
thing,
one proposition,
for they
same thing,
propositions,
of complex
complex universals
universals is
is
the theory
theory of
namely that
that aa has
has R to
to b.
b. So
So the
namely
responsible
for
an
incomprehensible
trinity
...
.'
Ramsey's
thought
for
an incomprehensible trinity
responsible
Ramsey's thought
is
bedevilled at
at this
this point
by the
the idea
idea that
that you
you cannot
cannot analyse
analyse aa
is bedevilled
point by
of
ways:
that
if
you
say
that
'Socrates
taught
proposition
in
a
variety
in
a
of
that
if
that
'Socrates
variety
proposition
ways:
you say
taught
that it
it
Plato' ascribes
ascribes something
something to
to Socrates,
you cannot
cannot also
also say
Plato'
Socrates, you
say that
ascribes
to Plato
Plato without
without making
making it
it out
out aa different
different proproascribes something
something to
position.
position.
Ramsey's essay,
essay, however,
however, quite
quite apart
from its
its intrinsic
interest,
intrinsic interest,
Ramsey's
apart from
is
very helpful
helpful for
exegesis of
the Tractatus
Tractatus theory
theory of
of 'ex'exfor exegesis
is also
also very
of the
For
Wittgenstein
tells
us
at
3.314
that
every
variable
can
pressions'.
tells
us
at
that
variable
can
For
3.314
Wittgenstein
every
pressions'.
be
as aa propositional
prepositional variable
variable~ven
the variable
variable name.
name.
be conceived
even the
conceived as
But how can
can this
this be?
be? The variable
variable proposition
proposition
'

x loves
loves Socrates
x
Socrates
has
values only
only those
those propositions
propositions in
in which
which aa name is
is substituted
substituted
has as
as values
for
x; but
prepositional variable
variable
but the
for x;
the propositional

eloves Socrates
f loves Socrates

indicated
by Wittgenstein
Wittgenstein has
has as
as values
values all
all the
the propositions
propositions in
in which
which
indicated by
'loves
e.g. 'Everyone
loves Socrates',
Socrates', 'Anyone
'Anyone who
'loves Socrates'
Socrates' occurs,
occurs, e.g.
'Everyone loves
'No one
one loves
loves Socrates',
'Plato does
does not
not
loves Plato
Plato loves
loves Socrates',
loves
Socrates', 'Plato
Socrates', 'No
love
for all
other variables,
variables, as
as variables
variables
all other
Socrates'. And similarly
love Socrates'.
similarly for
are
understood. 'Plato
'Plato has
has n sons'
is aa variable
variable proposition
proposition
sons' is
are usually
usually understood.
has
whose values
are e.g.
'Plato
has
6
sons',
'Plato
has
100 sons',
sons',
'Plato
has
6
Tlato
whose
values are
sons',
e.g.
has
'Plato
or
not
'Plato
h!I.S
stupid
sons',
or
'Plato
'Plato
has no
no sons',
but
has
'Plato
not
but
Tlato has
sons',
stupid
sons',

96
96

AN INTRODUCTION
WITI'GENSTBIN'S TRACTATUS
TRACI'ATIJS
INTRODUCTION TO WITTGENSTEIN'S

as
good sons
as Socrates'.
That is
to say,
its values
values are
not all
all the
the
are not
is to
Socrates'. That
as good
sons as
say, its
.....
. . . sons'
sons' can
can

propositions in
in which
which the
'Plato has
has
the expression
expression Tlato
propositions
occur.
occur.

may draw
draw aa distinction
distinction between
between aa
Here, following
following Ramsey,
Ramsey, we may
Here,
wider and
narrower range
range of
propositions which
which an
an expression
expression can
can
of propositions
and aa narrower
wider
be
collect. Only
Only there
there is
is no
no need
need to
to follow
follow Ramsey
Ramsey in
in holding
holding
used to
be used
to collect.
that
the expression
cannot be
be used
used to
to collect
range inincollect a range
'Socrates' cannot
that the
expression 'Socrates'
cluding
e.g. 'Socrates
is wise
wise and
and Plato
Plato is
is not'.
not'. For
For this
this opinion
opinion of
of
'Socrates is
cluding e.g.
Ramsey's was
was based
based on
on his
rejection of
of 'complex
'complex universals';
universals'; and
and
his rejection
Ramsey's
this
in turn
turn is
is based
based on
on his
his conviction
conviction that
that if
if you
you define
define e.g.
e.g. *<x*
'rpx'
this in
as
'aRx',
and
then
treat
'
c
p'
as
a
predicate
of
bin
'rpb',
you
be
'<'
in
a
of
must
as
b
be
as aRx\ and then treat
'<b', you
predicate
denying
that
'cpb'
is
a
relational
proposition-which
of
course
is
which
of
relational
course
'<b'
is
a
is
that
proposition
denying
absurd,
if
you
have
defined
'cpx'
as
'aRx'.
'<x'
as
'aRx'.
defined
have
if
absurd,
you
it may
may be
be that
that proponents
proponents of
of 'complex
'complex universals'
universals' were
were
Now it
confutable
by this
this argument;
argument; but
but it
it does
does not
not follow
follow that
that anyone
anyone who,
who,
confutable by
like
picks aa name out
proposition and calls
the rest
rest of
of the
the
a proposition
of a
out of
calls the
like Frege,
Frege, picks
proposition
predicate can
be dealt
dealt with
with in
this way.
way. Only
Ramsey's
in this
can be
a predicate
Only Ramsey's
proposition a
belief that
that one
of aa proposition
proposition excludes
excludes all
all others
others enabled
enabled
one analysis
belief
analysis of
him,
just
on
the
strength
of
this
argument,
to
deny
that
'Socrates'
this
that
of
to
'Socrates*
on
the
deny
argument,
him, just
strength
could
be used
to collect
collect just
just as
varied aa range
range of
of propositions
propositions as
as e.g.
e.g.
as varied
could be
used to
'wise'. For
he thinks
thinks that
that 'wise'
be used
used to
to collect
collect such
proposican be
'wise' can
such proposi*wise'.
For he
tions as
as e.g.
'Neither Socrates
nor Plato
Plato is
is wise'
wise' or
or 'Someone is
is wise'.
wise'.
Socrates nor
tions
e.g. 'Neither
to distinguish
distinguish between
between a
a wider
wider and aa narrower
narrower range
range
And he
he goes
goes on to
of
propositions: one,
one, all
the propositions
propositions in
in which
which 'wise'
'wise' occurs,
occurs,
of such
such propositions
all the
and the
other aa narrower
narrower collection
collection of
simpler propositions,
propositions, of
of the
the
the other
of simpler
form 'xis
wise'. We can
adopt this
this distinction,
just as
he intends
intends it
it
*x is wise'.
can adopt
as he
distinction, just
for
for
'Socrates'
also.
for 'wise',
also.
for
'Socrates'
'wise',
question arises:
arises: why
why is
is there
there no hint
hint of
this in
in WittgenWittgenNow the
the question
of this
stein's
text? It
Wittgenstein says
says
stein's text?
It would certainly
certainly seem from what Wittgenstein
that
the 'class
propositions' of
which an expression
expression was 'the
'the
that the
'class of
of propositions'
of which
common characteristic
the whole
whole class
class of
propositions in
in
characteristic mark' was the
of propositions
which the
the expression
could occur.
occur. But
But *x
'x loves
loves Socrates'
can only
only
Socrates' can
expression could
be completed
proposition by
by substituting
substituting aa name for
for 'x';
'x';
into a proposition
completed into
therefore 'x
'x loves
Socrates' cannot
cannot give
give us
us the
the general
of the
the
therefore
loves Socrates'
general form of
whole class
class of propositions,
propositions, in
in which
which the
the expression
expression 'loves
Socrates'
'loves Socrates'
occurs. We seem to
occurs.
to be forced
to call
call Ramsey's
Ramsey's distinction
distinction to
to our
our aid,
aid,
forced to
and say
the 'class
'class of
of propositions*
propositions' presented
presented by
by "x
'x loves
that the
loves Socrates'
Socrates'
say that
4

SIGN AND SYMBOL

97
97

is
narrower class
class that
that can
within the
the wider
wider class
class of
of all
all
is a
a narrower
can be
be discerned
discerned within
the propositions
propositions in
cano occur.
occur.
the
in which
which 'loves
'loves Socrates'
Socrates' can
The answer
to this
this puzzle
puzzle lies
in the
the theory
theory-which
is integral
integral
answer to
lies in
which is
to
the picture
picture theory
theory of
of the
the proposition
proposition-that
all
propositions
are
to the
that all propositions are
1 On this theory,
1
truth-functions
of the
the elementary
propositions.
truth-functions of
this
elementary propositions.
theory,
the
that we
we have
have been
been considering
considering will
will be
be the
the class
class of
of all
all
the 'wider
'wider class'
class' that
the truth-functions
any set
of propositions
propositions among
which
are
the
truth-functions of
set of
of any
which
are
among
propositions
containing the
the expression
question. !t
immediately
in question.
It immediately
propositions containing
expression in
follows
from this
this that
that any
any expression
expression presupposes
presupposes the
the most
most general
general
follows from
propositions, as
well as
as the
the special
special form
form of
the propopropoform of
all propositions,
of all
as well
of the
sition
which it
immediately occurs.
But unless
unless-which
is very
very
in which
sition in
it immediately
occurs. But
which is
possible-!
have
missed
some
essential
feature
of
Wittgenstein's
I
have
missed
some
feature
essential
of Wittgenstein's
possible
22
must be
be admitted
that his
his account
account is
is sketchy,
sketchy, unsatisfactory
unsatisfactory
idea,
it must
admitted that
idea, it
and obscure.
obscure.

In
particular, general
propositions such
as 'Everyone
'Everyone loves
loves Socrates'.
Socrates'.
such as
In particular,
general propositions
11.
11.
22 It is possible that
'the great
was satisfied
satisfied with
with 'the
great works of
of
It is possible that Wittgenstein
Wittgenstein was
Frege'
far as
as concerns
the general
general form
form of
of all
all propositions
propositions in
in which aa
concerns the
as far
Frege' as
occurs. Frege's
given
as 'loves
'loves Socrates'
or 'is
'is clever')
clever') occurs.
Frege's
Socrates' or
(such as
predicate (such
given predicate
general
is 'Mp(fl)':
this is
the general
form of
of second-level
second-level functions,
functions,
is the
'M #03)* this
form is
general form
general form
is</>', 'Something
is</>',
James is
is and John is
is
such
as 'Everything
'Everything is
is what James
such as
'Something is
<', '<Pis
'' shews that<f>\
not'. The
The 'fJ'
aconceptorfirst-level
function, being
being the
the mark
shews that .pis
not'.
concept or first-level function,
# is a
of
argument-place.
an argument-place.
of an
11

See Chapter
See
Chapter

*<f>

7
7

WITTGENSTEIN, FREGE AND RAMSEY

We have
have inferred
from Wittgenstein's
remarks on *expressions'
'expressions'inferred from
Wittgenstein's remarks
which
must include
include names
names-that
a name *a'
'a' can
can be
be represented
represented by
by a
a
that a
which must
propositional variable
variable *()a'
'(~a which
which is
is an informal
informal-and
somewhat
and somewhat
prepositional
uninformative-version
of the
the most
most general
general form of
of propositions
propositions
uninformative version of
in
which
'a'
occurs.
Thus
Wittgenstein
would
not
accept
Frege's way
way
would
not
Thus
'a'
occurs.
which
in
accept Frege's
Wittgenstein
of
between
object
and
concept-that
an
object
is
and
that
an
between
is
of distinguishing
object
concept
object
distinguishing
something
complete in
in itself,
itself, whereas
whereas aa concept
concept is
is in
need of
of comin need
something complete
pletion-is,
as it
were, something
with aa hole
hole in
in it.
it looks
looks as
as if
it. For it
if
it were,
something with
pletion is, as
Wittgenstein
will
out
both
that
expression
in
a
sentence
which
in
that
both
out
a
sentence
will
make
which
expression
Wittgenstein
an object,
object, and
and that
that expression
which remains
remains over
over in
in the
the
designates
expression which
designates an
sentence
have picked
picked out
out the
the expression
expression designating
the
sentence when we have
designating the
object,
to be
be something
something with,
with, so
to speak,
speak, aa hole
hole in
in it.
this conconit. And this
so to
object, to
ception
is
the
same
as
the
picture
theory,
in
terms
of
which
have
in
terms
the
of
which
we
the
as
is
have
picture theory,
ception
dictum: 'Only
'Only in
in the
the
explained
what Wittgenstein
Wittgenstein meant by
by Frege's
Frege's dictum:
explained what
context of
the proposition
proposition has
has aa name reference.'
reference.'
of the
context
his essay
'Universals', took
took Wittgenstein
Wittgenstein to
to mean
Ramsey, in
in his
Ramsey,
essay on 'Universals',
that there
there was
was no difference
between qualities
qualities and objects.
objects.
that
difference between
'Against
Russell it
it might
might be asked
asked how there
there can
can be
be such
such
'Against Mr. Russell
objects
as his
his universals,
universals, which contain
the form of
of aa proposition
proposition
contain the
objects as
and are
are incomplete.
In aa sense,
sense, it
it might
might be
be urged,
urged, all
all objects
objects are
are
incomplete. In
incomplete; they
they cannot occur
occur hi
in facts
except in
conjunction with
with
facts except
in conjunction
incomplete;
other
they contain
contain the
the form
form of
of propositions
propositions of
of which
which
other objects,
objects, and they
they are
are constituents.
constituents. In
In what way
way do universals
universals do this
this more
they
than anything
else?'
anything else?'
Ramsey therefore
therefore suggests
that it
it is
is mere prejudice
prejudice to
to disdisRamsey
suggests that
98

99
99

WriTGENSTEIN, FREGE
FRI:GE AND RAMSEY
WITTGENSTEIN,

tinguish
between individuals
and qualities;
qualities; there
there is
is no
no reason
reason why
why
individuals and
tinguish between
we should
not speak
speak of
of Socrates'
attaching to
to cf> as
as well
well as
as of
of <'s
cf>'s
should not
Socrates' attaching
attaching
to
Socrates
in
a
proposition
'
c
f>
Socrates'.
in
a proposition
Socrates'.
attaching to Socrates
The distinction
distinction has
has aa practical
practical point,
point, he
he says,
says, in
in that
that if
if 'cf>'
stands
'<' stands
to
a
or
having
S
to
b',
we
cannot
put
cf>=
for
'either
having
R
for e.g.
'either
a
S
to
or
to
we
cannot
b\
e.g.
having
having
put <f>=
because we
we should
not know whether
whether the
the blanks
blanks in
in (( )Ra
)Ra
Ra vv Sb
Sb because
should not
and (( )Sb
)Sb were
were to
to be
be filled
with the
the same
or different
different arguments.
arguments.
filled with
same or
must put
put <x=xRa
cf>x=xRa vxSb;
v xSb; which
which explains
explains not
not what
what is
is
Instead
Instead we must
by itself,
itself, but
but that
that followed
by any
any symbol
symbol xx it
it is
is short
short for
for
meant by
by cf> by
meant
followed by
'xRa vv xSb'.
xSb'. But
But if
simple property,
property, there
there would
would be
be no
no
*xRa
if cf> were
were a
a simple
reason
to say
that
'cf>'
is
asserted
of
Socrates
rather
than
that
'Socra'<'
is
reason to
that
asserted
that
of
Socrates
than
rather
'Socrasay
the reference
reference of
of 'cf>'. And he
he takes
takes this
this to
to be
be
tes' is
tes'
is asserted
of the
asserted of
Wittgenstein's
doctrine,
chiefly
because
he
observed
quite
correctly
because
he
observed
doctrine,
Wittgenstein's
chiefly
quite correctly
that Wittgenstein
Wittgenstein holds
holds that
that both
both aa name,
name, and
and the
the remainder
remainder of
of aa
that
sentence
which aa name has
has been
been removed,
removed, are
are represented
represented by
by
sentence from
from which
not speak
of
'prepositional
variables'; moreover,
moreover, Wittgenstein
Wittgenstein does
does not
'prepositional variables';
speak of
'concepts' or
or 'universals'
kind of
thing that
that is
is to
to be
be found
in the
the
a kind
'universals' as
as a
of thing
found in
'concepts*
world:
is quite
quite clear
clear that
that for
there is
nothing but
but objects
objects in
in
it is
for him
him there
is nothing
world: it
configuration.
configuration.
That Ramsey
Ramsey has
has mistaken
Wittgenstein's intention
intention is
is fairly
fairly
mistaken Wittgenstein's
That
clear
from Wittgenstein's
calling
'function',
like
'object',
a
formal
like
a
formal
clear from
'function',
'object',
Wittgenstein's calling
9) and from his
his explanation
explanation at
at4.24:
are
concept
4.24: 'Names are
(see Chapter
concept (see
Chapter 9)
simple
indicate them
them by
by single
letters ("x",
("x", "y",
..z").
"y", "z").
symbols, II indicate
single letters
simple symbols,
The elementary
proposition II write
write as
as aa function
function of
in the
the
of names in
elementary proposition
must not
not be
be supposed
supposed from this
this that
that
form
it must
form "f(x)",
"f(x)", "cf>(x,y)".'
"<(x,y)'V Now it
Wittgenstein intends
to represent
represent an
an atomic
atomic fact
fact consisting
consisting
intends 'cf>(x,y)'
*<(x,y)' to
Wittgenstein
of
three objects.
objects. He has
has only
only just
just remarked
remarked (4.2211):
(4.221 1) : 'Even
'Even if
the
if the
of three
is infinitely
complex,
so
that
every
fact
consists
of
infinitely
world
that
of
fact
consists
so
world is
infinitely
every
infinitely complex,
many
and every
every atomic
composed of
of infinitely
infinitely
is composed
atomic fact
fact is
facts and
atomic facts
many atomic
many objects,
there must
must be
be objects
objects and atomic
atomic facts.'
facts.' So
even so
so there
objects, even
many
be writes
writes 'cf>(x,y)',
whatever is
is indicated
indicated about
about how
when he
nothing whatever
*<(x y)', nothing
be covered
covered by
by the
the sign
of the
the function;
there might,
might,
many names
may be
function there
names may
sign of
many
on the
hypothesis that
he has
has just
just mentioned,
mentioned, be
be an infinite
infinite number.
that he
the hypothesis
is not
not at
at all
all easy
easy to
to understand;
understand;
Wittgenstein's doctrine,
doctrine, however,
however, is
Wittgenstein's
for
he speaks
of
the
elementary
proposition
as a
the
of
the one
one hand he
for on the
elementary proposition as
speaks
comin
immediate
of
names
of names,
names, as
as consisting
of
in
concatenation
concatenation of
consisting
is
bination; and
and on
on the
the other
he says
says at
at 5.47:
5.47: 'Where there
there is
other hand he
bination;
<f>

'<

<f>

<f>

'</>'.

100
100

AN INTRODUCTION TO WITTGENSTEIN'S TRACTATUS

complexity,
there is
and function'
function': therefore
therefore the
the elementelementis argument
complexity, there
argument and
of argument
argument and
and function.
function.
ary
too consists
consists of
ary proposition
proposition too
These
remarks considered
together raise
raise the
the problem:
problem: if
if the
the
considered together
These remarks
of
names
in
immediate
connectionelementary
proposition
consists
connection
in
immediate
names
elementary proposition consists of
if
just aa concatenation
of names
names-then
it is
is not
not reproduced,
reproduced, even
even
then it
concatenation of
it is
is just
if it
if
be faithfully
faithfully represented,
represented, by
by aa formula
formula consisting
of some
if it
it can
can be
consisting of
this is
is borne
borne
letters for
for names
names and
letters for
for functions.
functions. And this
some letters
and some
letters
out
by many
many passages.
passages. Notably
Notably for
for example
example 3.143:
3.143: The
'The nature
nature of
of
out by
the propositional
sign becomes
very clear,
if we imagine
imagine it
it as
as combecomes very
the
clear, if
propositional sign
posed of
three-dimensional objects
(say tables,
tables, chairs,
chairs, books)
books) ininof three-dimensional
objects (say
posed
of written
written signs.
the spatial
spatial lay-out
lay-out of
of those
those things
things exexstead
Here the
stead of
signs. Here
presses the
the sense
sense of
the proposition.'
proposition.' We are
are reminded
reminded of
the models
models
of the
of the
presses
of
buses
and
buildings
set
out
in
a
law
court
to
shew
an
law
to
out
in
a
court
shew
an
set
how
and
of cars,
buses
cars,
buildings
accident
took place,
place, which
which made Wittgenstein
Wittgenstein say:
say: "That's
'That's what
what aa
accident took
proposition
is!' And in
in the
the succeeding
succeeding entry,
which we have
have already
already
entry, which
proposition is!'
'That "a"
in aa certain
certain relation
relation toi
toi "b"
considered, he
he says:
stands in
"a" stands
considered,
says: 'That
says that
actual relation
relation in
in which,
which, in
in the
the propositonal
propositonal
the actual
that aRb.'
aRb.* Now the
says
sign
was, as
as we remarked,
remarked, that
that 'a'
stands to
to
'a' stands
'a' stands
stands to
'aRb' 'a'
*b' was,
to 'b'
sign 'aRb'
the left,
and
'b'
to
the
right,
of
a
further
sign
'R'.
let
'R'
be
'to
'R'.
the
and
'b'
to
a
further
Now
let
'R'
the
of
be 'to
left,
right,
sign
the left
of'. In
In aa waxwork display
shewing the
the way
way people
people stood,
the
the
left of*.
stood, the
display shewing
fact
stood to
the left
a man B will
will be
be shewn
shewn by
by having
having
that a
a man A stood
to the
left of
of a
fact that
the wax figure
figure that
that goes
goes proxy
proxy for
for A in
in the
the display
display standing
standing to
to the
the
the
left
of the
the wax figure
that goes
proxy for
B, and
and there
there will
will be
be no need
need
left of
for B,
figure that
goes proxy
to signify
the relation.
relation. At 4.0311
4.0311 Wittgenstein
Wittgenstein
for
for any
third object
any third
object to
signify the
vivant: 'One
'One name stands
stands for
for
with the
the tableau
makes the
the comparison
tableau vivant:
comparison with
one thing,
thing, another
another for
they are
are connected
connected together:
together: that
that is
is
one
for another,
another, they
how the
the whole
whole images
images the
atomic fact
fact-like
a tableau
tableau vivant.'
vivant.'
the atomic
like a
It is
It
is natural
natural-and
reasonable-to
of this
this idea:
idea: This
This is
is all
all very
very
and reasonable
to say
say of
well; but
it is
is possible
possible only
the picture-proposition
picture-proposition shares
shares aa
but it
well;
only when the
other than
than what
what he
he calls
calls 'logical
form',
'form'
calls it,
as Wittgenstein
'form' as
Wittgenstein calls
it, other
'logical form',
with what it
it depicts.
depicts. The waxwork show and the
the tableau
tableau vivant
vivant need
need
no figures
going proxy
proxy for
for the
the spatial
spatial relations
relations just
just because,
because, being
being
figures going
three-dimensional
of three-dimensional
three-dimensional situations,
they can
can
three-dimensional models
models of
situations, they
reproduce the
the spatial
spatial relations
relations instead
instead of
having something
standing
of having
reproduce
something standing
for them. And the
for
the coloured
picture can
can represent
represent that
that aa cloak
cloak is
is
coloured picture
red without having
having the
the cloak
in one
place and the
the redness
redness in
another,
cloak in
one place
in another,
is a coloured
just because
because it
it is
coloured picture
picture representing
representing something
something coloured,
coloured,
just
:

101
101

WIITGENSTEIN, FREGE AND RAMSEY


R.AMSEY
WITTGENSTEIN,

so
that it
it can
shew the
the cloak
cloak as
red. Further,
Further, even
if the
the picture
picture
can simply
so that
as red.
even if
simply shew
were
in black
black and
and white,
white, and
represented the
the colour
colour of
of objects
objects by
by
were in
and represented
shading-still,
it
has
the
advantage
of
some conventionally
agreed
conventionally agreed shading still, it has the advantage of
being
able
to
shew
the
shading
that
means
red,
on
the
cloak
and
not
to
the
able
shew
not
that
means
on
the cloak and
being
shading
red,
somewhere else.
somewhere
else.
This is
exactly what
what does
does not
not happen
happen in
in aa proposition.
proposition. In
a sensenThis
is exactly
In a
that the
the man wore
wore aa red
red cloak
cloak the
the word
word for
for the
the cloak
cloak is
is
tence saying
tence
saying that
not printed
printed in
in red
red to
to shew
this. Even
Even if
we had
had some
some such
such convenconvennot
shew this.
if we
tions-and
perhaps we can
can admit
admit we have
have something
something of
the sort
sort in
in
and perhaps
tions
of the
the difference
between 'aRb'
do not
not take
take us
us very
very
the
difference between
aRb' and 'bRa'-they
*bRa' they do
far.
this very
very favourable
favourable case,
need aa special
special sign
for
in this
far. Even in
case, we need
sign for
the relation
itseif.l1 And rightly
so,
because
there
is
some
material
relation itself.
the
because
there
is
material
some
rightly so,
content
relations like
the right
right of'
or 'bigger
'bigger than'
than'; that
that is
is why
why
to relations
like 'to
content to
'to the
of or
relations hold
hold can
reproduce
signs
between which
which the
kind of
the same kind
of relations
can reproduce
signs between
them; but
but if
you were
were quite
quite generally
to express
express relations
relations between
between
if you
them;
generally to
things
by relations
relations between
their signs,
then you
you would
would need
need to
to have
have
between their
things by
signs, then
as many
many different
different relations
between signs
signs as
as we in
practice have
have
relations between
as
in practice
words to
relations.
to express
words
express relations.
This is
is in
fact Wittgenstein's
Wittgenstein's requirement
requirement for
for the
the fully
fully analysed
analysed
in fact
This
a language.
For
the
fully
analysed
elementary
proposisentences
of a
For
the
sentences of
language.
fully analysed elementary proposition is
is a
a concatenation
simple names;
names; though
though not
not aa mere
mere list,
list,
of simple
concatenation of
tion
combined is
is expressive.
because the
the way
way they
they are
are combined
because
expressive.
This does
does not
not mean that
that function
function and
and argument
argument would
would disappear
disappear
This
in
analysis. If
for the
the moment we may
may give
give 'a-b-c-d*
'a-b-e-d' as
as an
If for
final analysis.
the final
in the
1
elementary
proposition, then
'a-(')-(' ')-d'
)-d' would
would be
be
then 'a-b-e-{)'
*a-b-c-( )' and 'a-('X'
elementary proposition,
'cfo(x,y)'
two different
which
might
be
represented
as
'fx',
as
which
be
different functions;
two
*fx*, <(x,y)'
functions;
represented
might
respectively; and the
the representations
representations of
'a-b-e-d' as
value of
of these
these
of 'a-b-c-d'
as a value
respectively;
two
be 'fd',
'fd', *<(b,c)*.
'c/>(b,c)'. II write
write primes
primes in
in the
the second
second
functions would be
two functions
function to
to shew
shew that
that it
it can
be completed
with different
different names in
in
can be
function
completed with
1 1 1 1
1
11 1
)
the two
two empty
empty argument-places.
argument-places. (')-('
(')-(' >('
) - ( ")-("")
)-(
be a
would be
the
'a logical
form-aa logical
pro to-picture', of
of an elementary
elementary
formula,
formula, *a
logical proto-picture',
logical form
proposition.
proposition.
just do not
not know the
the composition
composition of
of any
elementary
Now we just
any elementary
such
that
is
why
Wittgenstein
never
gives
any
such
example.
proposition;
never
that
is
example.
gives any
why Wittgenstein
proposition;
But Ramsey
writes as
if, say,
were aa specifiable
speci.fiable elementary
elementary
as if,
'a-b' were
But
say, 'a-b'
Ramsey writes
4

11 A case
case in
in which
which no
no sign
occurs for
for the
the relation
relation itself
itself is
is 'Caius
'Caius Marci*
Marci'
sign occurs
in
(is the
the son)
of Marcus'.
Marcus'.
Latin 'Caius (is
in Latin-'Caius
son) of

102
102

AN INTRODUCTION
U."l'RODUCTION TO

WfiTGENSTEIN'S TRACTATUS
WITTGENSTEIN'S

proposition, which
which Wittgenstein
Wittgenstein chooses
chooses to
to write
write as,
as, say,
'f(b)'. That
That
say, *f(b)'.
proposition,
is
misunderstand Wittgenstein's
Wittgenstein's use
use of
of the
the sign
sign 'f'
in *f(b)'
'f(b)':
'f in
is quite
to misunderstand
quite to
'

4
'f(b)'
symbolizes an elementary proposition, but not necessarily one
f(b)' symbolizes an elementary proposition, but not necessarily one
in
whose
sense (the
fact) only
two objects
objects occur.
occur. The point
point
in whose sense
atomic fact)
only two
(the atomic
can
be put
put most
most briefly
briefly like
like this:
this: to
to represent
represent aa name 'a'
by *()a',
'(f)a',
'a' by
can be
i.e.
the most
most general
way for
for that
that name to
to occur
occur in
a proposition,
proposition,
in a
i.e. by
by the
general way
is
not to
to represent
represent aa name
name as
as aa function,
function, but
but only
only to
to stress
stress that
that the
the
is not
reference only
in the
the context
of aa proposition.
proposition.
context of
name has
has reference
only in
The idea
idea of
proposition as
as aa function
function of
of the
the exexa proposition
of conceiving
conceiving a
pressions
contained in
in it
it comes
from Frege,
Frege, and to
to understand
understand it
it we
comes from
pressions contained
have to
back to
to his
great essay
essay Function
Function and Concept
follow
have
to go
his great
Concept and follow
go back
the steps
by
which
he
formulated
this
conception.
this
the
conception.
steps by which he formulated
First
the notion
notion of
a numerical
numerical function
function-i.e.
what
i.e. what
of a
First we introduce
introduce the
is
by
a
numerical
formula
containing
one
or
'indefiis expressed
or
more
'indefione
formula
numerical
a
containing
expressed by
nitely
letters; if
if the
the letter
letter or
or letters
letters are
are replaced
replaced by
by signs
signs
nitely indicating'
indicating' letters;
for
definite number
number or
or numbers,
numbers, the
the expression
so obtained
has aa
for a
obtained has
a definite
expression so
definite
numerical value:
value: e.g.
e.g. xx12 , x-f-y.
x+y. The function
could be
be
function could
definite numerical
fittingly
expressed
by
a
formula
with an
an empty
empty place
place in
in it:
it: (( )*,
) 1 By
By
fittingly expressed by a formula with
an 'argument'
'argument' we mean what
signified by
by the
the sign
sign we put
put into
into the
the
is signified
what is
empty
place.
'We
give
the
"the
value
of
a
function
for
an
a
function
an
"the
value
of
the
name
for
empty place.
give
argument"
to
the
result
of
completing
the
function
with
the
arguwith
function
the
the
result
of
the
to
argument**
completing
argument.' Thus e.g.
e.g. 4
4 is
is the
the value
value of
of the
the function
for the
the argument
argument
ment.*
function (( )) 22 for
2. But it
it is
is necessary,
necessary, if
there is
is more than
than one
one empty
empty place,
place, to
to disdis2.
if there
tinguish
between cases
where the
the function
function can
can be
be completed
by
cases where
tinguish between
completed by
putting
things, and
and cases
cases where
where it
it must be
be completed
by
different things,
putting different
completed by
putting
the
same
thing,
into
the
empty
places.
That
is
why
we
use
the
use
putting
thing, into the empty places. That is why
letters instead
instead of
of empty
places.
letters
empty places.
There are
are functions
whose value
value is
is always
always the
the same,
same, whatever
whatever the
the
functions whose
argument, such
2+x-x;
there are
are pairs
pairs of
of functions
functions whose
whose
such as
as 2+x
argument,
x; and there
values
values are
are always
always the
the same for
the same argument:
argument: for
example
for the
for example
x"-4x and x(x-4). 1
Following Frege,
Frege, we now add
add to
to the
the signs
signs -h,
+, -, etc.,
etc., which
which
Following
serve for
for constructing
a functional
functional expression,
such signs
signs as
as =,
=, >>,
constructing a
expression, such
< , which occur in
<
in arithmetical
speak of
of the
the
arithmetical statements.
statements. So we speak
function x 2 ==l.
1. The value
value of
of the
the function
for aa given
given argument
argument is
is
function for
signified by
by the
the result
result of substituting
definite numeral
numeral for
for the
the letter
letter
signified
substituting a definite
11 1
follow Frege
I follow
in speaking
speaking of
of two
two functions
functions here.
here. It
It is
is not
not usual.
usual.
Frege in
,

WITTGENSTEIN, FREGE AND RAMSEY


WITTGENSTEIN,

103
103

x.
the result
result of
of substituting
definite numeral
numeral for
for xx here
here has
has
But the
x. But
a definite
substituting a
not
numerical value,
value, but
but is
something true
true or
or false;
false; hence
hence the
the now
a numerical
not a
is something
familiar
idea of
a 'truth-value'
'truth-value' is
from this
this conception
conception of
of
familiar idea
of a
is derived
derived from
Frege's.
Frege's.
The 'value'
of x*=
x1 = 1
'true' for
a definite
definite argument,
argument, e.g.
e.g. for
for -1;
Value' of
1 is
is 'true'
for a
1
to say
say this
is the
the same
thing as
as to
to say
say that
that -11 is
is a
a square
square root
root of
of 1,
1,
to
this is
same thing
or
that -11 has
has the
the property
that its
its square
is
1,
or
that
-1
falls
or that
that
1
is
or
falls
property that
1,
square
under the
the concept
concept 'square
root of
of 11'.'. 'We
thus see,*
see,' Frege
Frege says,
'how
under
'We thus
'square root
says, 'how
closely
concept in
logic is
is connected
connected with
with what
what we
we
what is
is called
called a
a concept
in logic
closely what
call
This suggests
suggests an
an interesting
interesting definition
definition of
of aa propopropocall a function.'
function.* This
sition as
as 'the
'the result
result of
completing aa sign
of aa function
function by
by filling
filling tip
up
sition
of completing
sign of
an argument-place,
argument-place, when the
the value
value of
of the
the result
result is
is aa truth-value'.
truth-value'.
far, Wittgenstein
is in
with Frege,
Frege, and
expresses
And so
so far,
in agreement
and expresses
Wittgenstein is
agreement with
hls agreement
at 3.318:
'I conceive
conceive the
the proposition
proposition-like
Frege and
and
his
3.318: '1
like Frege
agreement at
Russell-as
the expressions
it contains.'
contains.'
as a
a function
Russell
function of
of the
expressions it
To speak
conceiving the
the proposition
proposition as
as aa function
of the exexof conceiving
function o/the
speak of
it contains
contains is
not inconsistent
inconsistent with
with denying,
denying, as
as
pressions it
is of
of course
course not
pressions
Frege does,
that aa proposition
proposition is
is aa function;
it is
is like
of 88
like speaking
does, that
function; it
Frege
speaking of
as
of 2,
2, say
say its
its cube.
cube. It
is important
important to
to grasp
grasp this
this point,
point,
a function
function of
as a
It is
that
what is
is aa function
of something
something is
is not
not aa function
tout court
court;
function of
function tout
that what
confusion
on this
this point
point is
function for
example is
is
is often
for example
confusion on
often found.
found. A function
sometimes
explained as
as a
a variable
variable magnitude.
magnitude. Now it
it is
true that,
that,
is true
sometimes explained
of aa gas
a variable
variable magnitude
magnitude (i.e.
(i.e. variable
variable in
say,
in
is a
the volume of
say, the
gas is
time)
also aa function
function of
of the
the pressure
pressure and
and temperature.
temperature. But the
the
is also
and is
time) and
volume of
a gas
is not
not aa function
tout court,
court, and
and therefore
therefore we do not
not
function tout
of a
volume
gas is
get
example of
that is
is aa variable
variable magnitude.
magnitude. To
of a function
function that
here an
an example
get here
is to
say that
that the
the volume
volume is
is aa function
pressure and temperature
temperature is
to
of pressure
function of
say
to
the
volume
say
that
there
is
a
function
f
such
that
V
=f(p,t).
the
to
For
f
a
that
there
is
function
such
that
V=f(p,t).
say
be aa function
court would
would be
be represented
represented by
by the
the nonsense
nonsense
tout court
function tout
be
V=f( ).
).
V=f(
We must
Frege's next
next step.
step. He has
has defined
defined aa
must now consider
consider Frege's
function
as what
what is
is signified
by an expression
expression with
with an empty
place;
function as
empty place;
signified by
and
he says:
that is
is not
not aa function,
function, so that
that the
the
is anything
and he
object is
anything that
says 'An object
that
It
follows
expression
for
it
does
not
contain
an
empty
place.'
It
follows
that
it
does
not
contain
for
empty place.'
expression
(unasserted)
propositions designate
designate objects,
objects, since
since they
they have no
(unassorted) propositions
as
one kind of
empty
places;
and
since
Frege
regards
a
proposition
as
of
a
since
proposition
Frege
regards
empty places;
a
completed
functional
expression,
and
considers
that
a
completed
that
considers
functional
completed
expression,
completed
;

104
104

AN INTRODUCTION
INTRODUCITON TO WITTGENSTEIN'S
wnTGENSTEIN'S TRACTATUS
TRACI'ATUS

functional
(e.g. *2
'2 S3')
is a designation of a value of the
functional expression
*) is a designation of a value of the
expression (e.g.
function,
it becomes
becomes natural
to say
say that
that propositions
propositions designate
designate
natural to
function, it
matter of
of terminology,
terminology, to
to which it
it would
would be
be
values.
might be
be a
a matter
This might
values. This
unreasonable
to
object,
granted
that
the
conception
of
a
proposition
a
of
unreasonable to object, granted that the conception
proposition
as
completed functional
expression recommends
recommends itself.
itself.
a completed
functional expression
as a
proceeds to
a function
function
Frege now proceeds
to construct
construct a
Frege

--x
whose
value is
is 'the
'the true'
true' when *the
'the true'
true' is
is its
its argument,
argument, and in
in all
all
whose value
other
cases is
the false.
false. By
By taking
taking 'the
true' as
as argument
argument Frege
Frege means
*the true*
is the
other cases
putting
a true
proposition in
in place
place of
the 'x'
'x'; you
you can
put aa designadesignacan put
of the
true proposition
putting a
of anything
there
instead-a
false
proposition
or
a
definite
tion of
or
a
a
false
definite
there
instead
tion
proposition
anything
description
of
a
numeral
or
an
ordinary
proper
name:
anything,
in
name:
an
a
numeral
or
of
ordinary
proper
anything, in
description
stands for
anything, without
without having
having any
any empty
empty places
places
short,
for anything,
that stands
short, that
in
For example
example
in it.
it. For
;

-2
is
a possible
possible result
result of
this function,
function, and the
the value
value of
of the
the
of completing
is a
completing this
function
is: false,
as Frege
Frege puts
puts it,
it, --2
is the
the
so completed
2 is
function when so
false, or,
or, as
completed is
false.
This way
way of
speaking is
course a
a consequence
consequence of
of the
the disdisis of
of speaking
of course
false. This
reference. If
If II use
use an
an expression
expression which
which
tinction between
between sense
sense and reference.
tinction
stands
for something,
something, then
then in
in using
using it
it II am speaking
speaking of
of what
what it
it stands
stands
stands for
have another
name, *B',
'B', for
that thing,
thing, II can
can use
use the
the
for;
for that
if II have
and if
another name,
for; and
and
say
that
is
B.
So
since
'--2'
is
a
designation
first
name, 'A',
A
B.
is
since
2'
first name,
and
that
is
a
say
*A',
designation
of the
false, Frege
Frege can
can say
that --2
is the
the false.
false. We
2 is
the truth-value:
truth-value: false,
say that
must accept
this sort
of consequence
accept the
the prima
prima facie
facie
if we accept
sort of
must
accept this
consequence if
plausible
distinction between
between the
the sense
sense and reference
reference of
of expressions;
plausible distinction
expressions;
this
constitutes an objection
objection to
to the
the distinction.
this constitutes
distinction.
The reason
why Frege
Frege wished
wished to
to construct
such aa function
is that
that
reason why
construct such
function is
has no truck
truck with
with attempts
to
stipulate
ranges
of
significance
in
he has
to
of
stipulate ranges
attempts
significance in
the
of Russell.
Russell. 11 If
a truth-value
truth-value is
is an
an object,
object, it
can be
be an
an
the manner of
If a
it can
is not
argument;
but he
he is
not willing
willing to
to specify
specify 'propositions'
'propositions' as
as the
the range
range
argument; but
in functions
of significant
substitutions for
for 'x'
'x' in
functions taking
taking truth-values
truth-values
significant substitutions
:

See
Chapter 9,
pp. 123-4.
123-4.
See Chapter
9, pp.

WITrGENSTEIN, FREGE AND RAMSEY


WITTGENSTEIN,

105
105

as
indeed the
the specification
of ranges
ranges of
of significance
as arguments;
arguments; and indeed
specification of
significance
is a very
dubious business.
business.
very dubious
Ordinarily,
if
write down
do\lffi *5
'5 >4'
>4' we wish
wish to
to assert
if
we
write
assert something;
Ordinarily,
something;
but according
according to
to Frege's
Frege's view,
'5
>4'
is
just
an
expression
for aa
is
5>4'
an
view,
just
expression for
truth-value,
without
any
assertion.
Therefore,
he
says,
need
a
without
assertion.
we
he
need
a
truth-value,
any
Therefore,
says,
special
in order
to be
be able
able to
to assert
assert something,
something, as
as opposed
opposed to
to
order to
special sign
sign hi
expressing
a mere
mere assumption
assumption1-the
putting of
of a
case without
without aa
the putting
a case
expressing a

is

1-

11
It
has sometimes
perplexed readers
readers of
of Wittgenstein
Wittgenstein that
that he
he refers,
refers,
It has
sometimes perplexed
both
in the
the Tractatus
Philosophical Investigations,
ln~estigations, to
to 'the
'the
both in
Tractatus (4.063),
and in
in Philosophical
(4.063), and
Fregean
Annahme', as
if 'Annahme'
had been
been aa technical
technical
as if
'Annahme* (assumption)
Fregean Annahme\
(assumption) had
term in
as it
it was
was in
in Meinong.
His reference
reference is
is to
to this
this passage;
passage; and
and it
it
in Frege,
term
Frege, as
Meinong. His
was especially
fixed on
on it
it by
by aa passage
passage in
in
is evident
that his
his attention
is
evident that
attention was
especially fixed
Russell's account
account of
Frege in
in the
the Principles
Principles of
of Mathematics,
}Jathematics, Appendix
Appendix A,
A,
of Frege
Russell's
477.
Russell says:
says: 'There
we are
told, three
three elements
elements in
in judgment:
judgment:
477. Russell
There are,
are told,
are, we
(1)
the recognition
recognition of
of truth,
the Gedanke
(the thought),
thought), (3)
the truthtruthGedanke (the
truth, (2)
(3) the
(1) the
(2) the
is what
what II have
have called
an unassorted
unasserted proposition
propositionvalue. Here
the Gedanke
Here the
value.
Gedanke is
called an
or
rather, what
what II have
have called
called by
by this
this name
name covers
covers both
both the
the Gedanke
Gedanke alone
alone
or rather,
and
together with
its truth-value.
truth-value. It
will be
be well
well to
to have
have names
names
and the
the Gedanke
Gedanke together
with its
It will
for
two distinct
notions; II shall
shall call
the Gedanke
alone aa prepositional
prapositional
call the
for these
distinct notions;
Gedanke alone
these two
concept; the
truth-value of
of aa Gedanke
call an
an assumption'
assumption.' And here
here
the truth-value
shall call
Gedanke II shall
concept
Russell has
has aa footnote
to the
the passage
passage in
in Function
Function and Concept,
Concept,
Russell
footnote referring
referring to
and,
'Frege, like
Meinong, calls
calls this
this an
an Annahme\
Annahme'. 'Formally,
at
like Meinong,
and, saying:
'Formally, at
saying: 'Frege,
least,'
assumption does
not require
require that
that its
its content
content should
should
he goes
'an assumption
does not
on, 'an
least,' he
goes on,
be
prepositional concept;
whatever xx may
may be,
be, "the
truth of
of x"
x" is
is aa
a prepositional
"the truth
be a
concept; whatever
definite
notion. This
the true
true if
xis
true, and
and if
if xxis
false or
or not
not aa
is false
This means
if x
is true,
definite notion.
means the
proposition it
means the
the false.'
false.'
it means
proposition
refers to
as 'the
truth of
of x*
x' is
is of
of course
course Frege's
Frege's function
function
What Russell
Russell refers
*the truth
to as
--x.
Frege introduces
a second
function
x. Frege
introduces a
second function
\

-,-x
whose value
value is
the false
just those
those arguments
which the
the value
value of
of
for which
is the
for just
false for
whose
arguments for
--x
is the
true. Thus,
as Russell
Russell says,
we do
do not
not have
have assertions
assertions and
x is
the true.
Thus, as
says, we
negations-there
is not
not aa negation
negation sign,
corresponding to
to the
the assertion
assertion
sign, corresponding
negations there is
sign-but
have assertions
of the
the truth
truth and
and falsity
falsity of
of 'thoughts*,
'thoughts', or,
or, as
as
assertions of
sign but we have
Russell calls
calls them,
them, 'prepositional
'prepositional concepts*.
concepts'.
Russell
It
is aa peculiarity
peculiarity of
of Russell's
Russell's account
that he
he takes
takes
account that
It is
--5>4
5>4
to be something
different from
to
something different

s >4
5>4
and
>4' the
the 'thought'
'thought' and '--55 >4*the
>4'the 'assumption';
'assumption'; thus
thus turning
turning
calls 5 >4*
and calls'S
'a mere assumption*
assumption'
Frege's quite
quite innocent
innocent and
and untechnical
untechnical expression
expression 'a
Frege's
into aa technicality.
into
technicality.
substituted
Russell failed
failed to
notice was
was that
that if
if aa proposition
proposition is
is substituted
to notice
What Russell
C

106
106

AN INTRODUCI10N
INTRODUCTION TO

WITI'GENSTEIN'S TRACTATUS
WITTGENSTEIN'S

simultaneous
judgment as
as to
whether it
it holds
holds or
or not.
not. So
So he
he puts
puts aa
simultaneous judgment
to whether
vertical stroke
stroke at
at the
the left
left of
the horizontal,
horizontal, e.g.
e.g.
of the
vertical
2 -{-3= 5
l-2+3=5
I

and
expresses the
the assertion
assertion that
that 2+3=5.
2+3=5.
and this
this expresses
We must
must now examine
Wittgenstein's main
main criticism
criticism of
of Frege.
Frege.
examine Wittgenstein's
At 4.431,
he
says:
'The
proposition
is
the
expression
of
its
truthits
of
is
the
At
he
'The
truthexpression
4.431,
says:
proposition
conditions',
then remarks:
remarks: 'Hence
Frege was
was quite
quite right
right to
to
'Hence Frege
and then
conditions*, and
premise
the truth-conditions
truth-conditions as
as defining
defining the
the signs
of his
his symbolism.'
symbolism.'
signs of
premise the
The reference
presumably to
to the
the passage
passage in
in the
the Grundgesetze
Grundgesetze
The
is presumably
reference is
for
in '--x'
there is
is no
difference at
for Frege,
Frege, either
either in
in sense
or in
in
x in
x' there
at all,
for x
no difference
sense or
all, for
by itself
itself and
and the
the proposition
proposition with
with the
the
reference, between
between the
the proposition
proposition by
reference,
horizontal stroke
attached; moreover
moreover aa 'thought
'thought' is
is not
not aa proposition,
proposition, not
not
horizontal
stroke attached;
even an
unasserted proposition,
but is
is the
the sense
sense of
of aa proposition,
proposition, and
and
an unassorted
even
proposition, but
the same
have aa proposition
proposition and
and when
when
hence there
there is
is the
hence
same Gedanke
Gedanke when we have
is only
substiwe have
have aa proposition
with the
It is
the stroke
attached. It
stroke attached.
only when we substiproposition with
tute
the designation
designation of
of something
something other
than aa truth-value
truth-value for
for 'x'
'x' in
in --x'
other than
tute the
x'
that there
is any
any difference,
difference, either
in sense
sense or
or in
in reference,
reference, between
between the
the
that
there is
either in
designation
by itself
with the
the stroke
stroke attached.
In that
that
attached. In
itself and
and the
the designation
designation with
designation by
case,
designates whatever
whatever it
it does
does designate
designate-the
or
the Moon or
the designation
case, the
designation designates
the number 33 for
the designation
designation with
with the
the stroke
stroke attached
attached
for example;
the
example; and the
designates
truth-value, in
in these
cases the
the false.
false.
a truth-value,
these cases
designates a
to Frege's
Frege's
Russell's
remarks, which
which mistakenly
mistakenly give
give special
prominence to
Russell's remarks,
special prominence
of the
the word 'assumption',
'assumption', must
must be
be the
the source
source of
of Wittgenstein's
Wittgenstein's referreferuse of
use
appears that
that Wittgenstein
Wittgenstein actually
actually accepted
Russell's
ences to
to it.
it. Further,
Further, it
it appears
ences
accepted Russell's
Frege at
at the
the end
end of
of 4.063
4.063 is
is not
not otherotherinterpretation;
for his
his comment on Frege
interpretation; for
not stand
stand for
for any
any object
object (truth(truthwise intelligible:
does not
wise
'The proposition
intelligible: 'The
proposition does
"true" or
or "false";
the verb
verb of
of the
the
value) whose
whose properties
properties are
are called
called "true'*
value)
"false"; the
not "is
"is true"
true" or
Frege thought
thought-but
what "is
proposition
is not
or "is
"is false"-as
false"
as Frege
but what
"is
proposition is
true" must
must already
contain the
the verb.*
verb.' Although
Although in
in Begriffsschrift
Begrijfsschrift Frege
Frege said
said
true"
already contain
that the
that
verb of the
the proposition
proposition was
was 'is
true'-aa view
view which
which he
he rejected
rejected
the verb
'is true'
in Sense
in
Sense and Reference
Reference-he
thought this
this of
of 'is
'is false'.
false'. But
But if
if we were
were
he never
never thought
to
Russell's interpretation
of the
the passage
passage in
in Function
Function and Concept,
Concept,
to adopt
adopt Russell's
interpretation of
that according
according to
to Frege
Frege there
there are
are three
three stages
stages
we should
should say
say that
'

"

(I)
(1)

X
x

(2)
(2)

the
truth of
x
the truth
of x
or:
of xx
or: the
the falsehood
falsehood of

and then
then (3)
(3) the
the final
final stage
assertion, which
which we might
might think
think of
of as
as aa tick
tick
of assertion,
stage of
put
whichever is
right, the
the truth
truth of
of x or
or the
the falsehood
falsehood of
of x;
x and
and
is right,
put against
against whichever
such
such a view might
might easily
be rendered
rendered as
as aa view
view that
that the
the real
real verb
verb in
i~ the
the
easily be
proposition
that gets
gets asserted
asserted-i.e.
in the
the 'assumption'
'assurnption'-is
'is true'
true' or
or
i.e. in
is 'is
proposition that
'is
'is false'.
false'.

WIITGl!NSI'EIN, FREGE AND RAMSEY


WTTTGENSmN,

107
107

says that
that he
has specified
specified the
the reference,
reference, i.e.
i.e. the
the truthtruthwhere Frege
he has
Frege says
value,
of
any
well-formed
proposition
in
his
symbolism
by
specifyof
well-formed
value,
any
proposition in his symbolism by specifying
that the
the sense
sense of
of the
the proposition
proposition is
the
the truth-conditions,
and that
is the
ing the
truth-conditions, and
sense
such-and-such truth-conditions
truth-conditions are
are fulfilled.
fulfilled. 'Only,'
Wittof: such-and-such
sense of:
'Only,' Witt'the explanation
explanation of
of the
the concept
concept of
of truth
truth is
wrong:
genstein
continues, 'the
is wrong:
genstein continues,
if
true" and "the
false" were
were really
really objects,
objects, and
and were
were the
the
if "the
"the true"
"the false"
arguments
then according
according to
to Frege's
Frege's own specifications
in "'"'P
arguments in
etc., then
~p etc.,
specifications
the sense
would by
by no
no means
means be
be specified.*
specified.'
sense of
the
of "'"'P
~p would
Frege has
has specified
the truth-values
of his
his propositions
propositions by
by specifyspecifytruth-values of
Frege
specified the
ing
the
truth-conditions,
because
his
propositions
are
logical
truths:
the
ing
truth-conditions, because his propositions are logical truths:
it
the characteristic
of logical
logical truths
truths (or
(or again
again of
of logical
logical
is the
it is
characteristic feature
feature of
that their
their truth-values
truth-values are
are determined
determined by
by determining
determining
falsehoods)
falsehoods) that
their
truth-conditions. But
But he
he has
has also
also said
said that
that the
the sense
sense of
of his
his
their truth-conditions.
propositions
is the
the sense
of this:
this: that
that their
their truth-conditions
truth-conditions are
are
sense of
propositions is
fulfilled;
this way
way he
he has
has ensured
ensured that
that his
propositions are
are
in this
his propositions
fulfilled; and in
scientifically
perfect; he
he has
has guaranteed
a sense
sense and
and a
a reference
reference for
for
scientifically perfect;
guaranteed a
them, and determined
determined which truth-value
truth-value they
they have.
have.
them,
Thus,
Frege has
a negative
negative proposition,
proposition, '-p',
its sense
must
if Frege
has a
sense must
Thus, if
*~p", its
also
the sense
of the
the fulfilment
of its
its truth-conditions.
truth-conditions. But
But his
his
be the
sense of
fulfilment of
also be
explanation
of
negation
is
this:
he
introduces
a
function
--x,
is
this
he
new
of
introduces
a
function
x,
negation
explanation
value is
the false
for just
just those
those arguments
arguments for
for which
which the
the value
value
is the
false for
whose value
of
the true,
true, and
and conversely;
so in
in '-p'
have a proprois the
x is
of --x
conversely; and so
*~p* we have
position determined
as expressing
the result
result of
of completing
completing with
with the
the
determined as
expressing the
position
argument
a function
function whose value
value for
for given
given arguments
arguments is
is given;
given;
'p' a
argument 'p'
but where
where is
the sense
sense of'
"'"'P'? '""'1''
appears to
to be
be defined
in effect
effect
defined in
is the
of '~p'?
but
*^p' appears
as
that proposition
proposition whose reference
reference is
is the
the true
true in
in certain
certain circumcircumas that
stances
the false
false in
in others.
Frege's own principles
principles you
you do
others. But on Frege's
stances and the
not
a
sense
by
specifying
a
reference;
so,
Wittgenstein
and
a
a
sense
not specify
so,
Wittgenstein
reference;
by
specifying
specify
says,
to Frege's
principles, the
the sense
sense of
of *~p'
'"'"'P' is
is not
according to
Frege's own principles,
says, according
determined.
determined. 11
The problems
problems involved
here are
at bottom the
the same as
as those
those II
are at
involved here
can
the
in
Chapter
3.
As
a
criticism
of
Frege
the
point
be
discussed
a criticism of Frege
discussed in Chapter 3.
point
of
references
summarized
by
saying:
'If
truth-values
are
the
references
of
propothe
are
truth-values
'If
summarized by saying:
propositions,
then you
you do
do not
a sense
by specifying
specifying a truth-value.*
truth-value.'
sense by
not specify
specify a
sitions, then
:

11 This
This criticism
criticism is
quite independent
independent of
the misinterpretation
misinte:J>retation_ of
of Frege's
Freg~'s
of the
is quite
theory (taken
(taken over
over by
by Wittgenstein
Wittgenstein from
from Russell)
Russell) which was discussed
discussed in
m
theory
the last
last footnote.
footnote.
the

108
108

INTRODUCllON TO WITTGENSTEIN'S TRACTATUS


TR.ACfATUS
AN INTRODUCTION

objection is
is quite
decisive; but
but the
the essential
essential difficulty
difficulty
Now this
this objection
quite decisive;
about
negation, although
it receives
receives aa special
special form
form in
in connection
connection
about negation,
although it
with Frege's
Frege's theory,
theory, is,
is, as
have already
already seen,
seen, not
not generated
generated just
just
as we have
with
by
Frege's
conceptions.
We
encountered
it
at
the
very
outset,
when
the
it
at
when
encountered
very outset,
by Frege's conceptions.
of *~p'
'-p' as
the proposition
proposition
we examined
the customary
customary definition
as the
definition of
examined the
that
true when
when p
pis
false and
false when p
pis
true; and we have
have seen
seen
is true;
and false
is false
that is
is true
of
the
proposition
guaranteed
how Wittgenstein's
picture
theory
of
the
how
guaranteed
theory
proposition
Wittgenstein's picture
customary definition
definition by
by supplying
the conconthe legitimacy
legitimacy of
the
of the
the customary
supplying the
that there
there is
is
ditions
required for
for offering
offering such
a definition:
definition: namely
namely that
such a
ditions required
not more
one such
proposition and
and that
that there
there always
is such
such aa
than one
not
such proposition
more than
always is
proposition.
proposition.
good grounds
grounds for
for rejecting
rejecting
Furthermore, negation
negation gives
gives us
us good
Furthermore,
not
just
as
interpretations
of
the
Tractatus,
Ramsey's
suggestions,
of
the
as
not
Tractates,
just
interpretations
Ramsey's suggestions,
but
For you
can negate
negate aa function,
function, but
but not
not an
an object:
object:
in themselves.
themselves. For
but in
you can
of aa function
is not
not the
the
this shews
shews that
that even
the simplest
simplest possible
possible sign
sign of
this
even the
function is
may be
be asked
asked why,
why, in
in analysing
analysing 'Socrates
'Socrates
same thing
as aa name.
name. It
same
It may
thing as
is not
not wise',
wise', we should
not take
take the
the negation
negation with
with 'Socrates'
rather
is
'Socrates' rather
should not
than with
with 'wise'-'Socrates-is-not
wise'. We can
can certainly
certainly speak
speak of
of
than
'wise'
'Socrates-is-not wise'.
'all
that Socrates
Socrates is
is nof\
1Wt'; and
and Frege
Frege would
would have
have said
said that
that
'all the
the things
things that
this phrase
stood for
for aa second-level
concept, its
role being
being to
to say,
say,
this
second-level concept,
its role
phrase stood
of
a
predicate,
that
this
is
one
of
the
things
concerning
the
reference
the
a
reference
one
the
of
that
this
is
of
concerning
things
predicate,
be treated
treated as
as an
the
Socrates
not. But
But though
though it
it can
is not.
Socrates is
can be
an 'expression',
'expression', the
of aa class
of propositions,
propositions, 'Socrates
'Socrates is
is
common characteristic
characteristic mark of
class of
not' is
not on an
an equal
footing with
with 'Socrates'
'Socrates'-they
cannot be
be
not'
is not
equal footing
they cannot
'red' and
and 'not
'not red'.
red'.
treated
as one another's
another's contradictories,
contradictories, like
like 'red'
treated as
of attaching
not' to
to the
the conjunction
conjunction of
of prediprediThe result
result of
'Socrates is
is not'
attaching 'Socrates
just' is
is quite
from the
the conjunction
of the
the
cates
cates 'wise
'wise and just'
different from
quite different
conjunction of
of attaching
it
to
'wise'
'just';
for
the
'Socrates'
results
results of
it
to
'wise*
and
the
name
for
'Socrates'
attaching
'just';
no such difference
difference can arise.
Accordingly, 'Socrates
'Socrates is
is not'
not' is
is not
not an
an
arise. Accordingly,
allowable
interpretation of
of aa name variable,
variable, in
in the
the way
way that
that aa
allowable interpretation
always an
an allowable
allowable interpretation
interpretation of
of aa predipredinegative predicate
predicate is
is always
negative
cate
variable.
cate variable.
It should
should be apparent,
It
apparent, however,
however, that
that Wittgenstein's
Wittgenstein's views
views are
are
extremely
Fregean. What,
What, then,
then, has
has become of
of Frege's
Frege's 'concepts'
'concepts' in
in
extremely Fregean.
Wittgenstein's
theory?
They
to
have
disappeared
entirely;
seem
to
have
Wittgenstein's theory? They
disappeared entirely;
of making
making concepts
concepts or
or universals
universals into
into aa
actually,
however, instead
instead of
actually, however,
as Ramsey
Ramsey wished
wished to,
to, Wittgenstein
Wittgenstein made the
the gulf
gulf
kind of objects,
objects, as

WITIGENSTEIN, FREGE AND RAMSEY


WITTGENSTEIN,

109
109

between concepts
concepts and
and objects
much greater
than Frege
Frege ever
ever made
made it.
it.
between
objects much
greater than
So far
the content
content of
of aa functional
expression, that
that will
will
far as
as concerns
concerns the
functional expression,
consist in
in the
by it.
it. But
But in
in respect
respect of
of having
having argumentargumentthe objects
consist
covered by
objects covered
places,
concepts
go
over
entirely
into
logical
forms.
In
the 'com'comover
into
forms.
In
the
places, concepts go
entirely
logical
pletely
analysed
proposition',
which
is
'a
logical
network
sprinkled
which
is
'a
network
analysed
proposition',
pletely
logical
sprinkled
1
in it,
it, has
has
with names',l
the Fregean
Fregean 'concept',
the thing
thing with
with holes
holes in
with
names', the
'concept', the
become simply
the logical
logical form.
form. Thus
there is
is no
no question
question of
of two
two
become
Thus there
simply the
kinds of
reference for
one which
which is
is incomplete,
incomplete, having
having aa
of reference
for expressions;
kinds
expressions; one
hole
awaits, say,
an object
to complete
complete it;
it; and
and another,
another,
in it
it that
that awaits,
hole in
say, an
object to
complete
capable
of
completing
the
incomplete,
itself
requiring
and
capable of completing the incomplete, itself requiring
complete
no completion.
no
completion.
interesting consequence
consequence follows
follows about,
about, say,
say, two
two propositions
propositions
An interesting
expressing
(completely)
different
facts:
is
red,
and:
is
red. If
If these
these
different
facts
A
is
B
and
is
red.
(completely)
red,
expressing
that we had
had elementary
elementary
propositions were
were 'completely
'completely analysed*,
analysed', so
so that
propositions
propositions consisting
consisting of
of names
names in
immediate connection,
connection, then
then
in immediate
propositions
objects that
that would
would be
be named,
named, in
in
the
question arises
arises whether
whether the
the objectsthe question
place
of our
using the
the colour-word
colour-word 'red'
'red' in
in the
the two
two cases,
cases, would
would be
be
our using
place of
different.
think Ramsey
Ramsey would
would have
have supposed
supposed that
that they
they would
would be
be
different. II think
the
doubt he
he would
would have
have pooh-poohed
pooh-poohed the
the feeling
that
the same.
same. And no doubt
that
feeling
in
case these
these objects
objects would
would have
have the
the character
character of
universals
that case
of universals
in that
rather
don't think
think A is
is aa 'universal*
'universal' because
because it
it
than 'individuals';
rather than
'individuals'; we don't
can enter
variety of
facts, so
so why
why should
should we think
think this
this of
of red
redinto a
a variety
enter into
of facts,
can
or
red is
composite, of
of the
the objects
objects into
into which
which 'red'
'red' is
is 'analysed?
if red
is composite,
or if
'analysed*?
This
is perhaps
perhaps aa proper
proper reply;
reply; yet
yet it
it is
is difficult
difficult not
not to
to feel
feel that
that an
an
This is
object
that can
exist all
over the
the world
world in
in different
different facts
facts has
has rather
rather
can exist
all over
object that
the character
a universal.
universal. It
takes aa little
little mental
mental habituation
habituation to
to
It takes
character of
of a
the
think
that existence
facts is
is the
the only
only feature
feature that
that counts,
counts,
in several
existence in
several facts
think that
so
that since
both A and red
red can
can exist
in several
facts, we should not
not
exist in
since both
several facts,
so that
be
impressed by
by A's
A's at
least existing
in only
only one
one place
place at
at aa time,
time, while
while
at least
be impressed
existing in
so many.
many.
red can
in so
can exist
exist in
red
:

11 1
I take
take this
this expression
a late
late notebook
notebook of
ofWittgenstein's
in which
from a
Wittgenstein's in
expression from
he
makes some
comments on the
the theories
theories of
of the
the Tractatus.
Tractatus. In
In his
his prepresome comments
he makes
Tractatus
notebooks Wittgenstein
Wittgenstein says:
says : 'Properties
'Properties and relations
relations are
are
Tractatus notebooks
objects
view, he
he no longer
longer holds
holds this
this in
in the
the
too' (16.6.15).
(16.6.15). On my
my view,
objects too'
Tractatus.
think my
my view
view necessary
(a) to
to reconcile
reconcile the
the various
various passages
passages
Tractatus. II think
necessary (a)
II have
cited about
about functions
elementary propositions
propositions and (b)
(b) because
because
functions and elementary
have cited
distinct categories
if
Wittgenstein held
held that
that objects
objects fell
radically distinct
categories
into such
such radically
fell into
if Wittgenstein
as
is an incredible
incredible omission
omission not
not to
to have
have made
it is
and individuals,
functions and
as functions
individuals, it
this clear.
clear.
this

110
110

AN INTRODUCTION TO WITTGENSTEIN'S
WITTGEN~IN'S TRACfATUS
TRACTATUS

Anyhow,
whatever the
the merit
ofRamsey's
view, he
he is
is incorrect
incorrect in
in
merit of
Ramsey's view,
Anyhow, whatever
ascribing
it to
to Wittgenstein.
Wittgenstein. Let
Let us
us pretend
pretend once
once more that
that we can
can
ascribing it
make
actual model
model of
of an
an elementary
elementary proposition
proposition 'with
the names
'with the
an actual
make an
in
immediate
connection';
then
for
Wittgenstein
the
two
facts:
is
two
facts:
the
A is
in immediate connection'; then for Wittgenstein
red,
and:
B
is
red,
would
be
analysed
into
(1)
facts
corresponding
to
facts
to
into
be
is
would
(1)
corresponding
analysed
red,
red, and:
the descriptions
descriptions of
of the
B, and
and (2)
facts about
about the
the
and B,
the complexes
the
(2) facts
complexes A and
elements
the complex
complex A along
with certain
certain further
further elements,
say
of the
elements of
elements, say
along with
b, c,
c, for
A's redness,
redness, and
exactly corresponding
facts about
about the
the
a,
and exactly
for A's
corresponding facts
a, b,
elements
the complex
with certain
certain other
other elements,
elements, say
say
elements of
of the
along with
complex B along
d,
f, for
for B's
redness. There
There is
is no
no need
need for
for a,
a, b,
b, c,
c, to
to be
be the
the same
B's redness.
e, f,
d, e,
f, respectively; for it is only the 'logical network' that is
as
d, e,
as d,
e, f, respectively; for it is only the 'logical network' that is
'universal'.
'universal'.
We normally
normally tend
tend to
to assume
assume that
that different
different occurrences
occurrences (at
(at least
least
of
red differ
in that
that there
there are
are different
different things
things
of red
differ only
the same
same shade)
of the
only in
shade) of
that
are red
red-that
no real
real difference
than this
this answers
answers to
to the
the
difference other
other than
that are
that no
two
the predicate
predicate 'red'.
This has
has helped
helped to
to form
form the
the
'red'. This
of the
two predications
predications of
belief in
universals; though
though there
there have
have been
been philosophers,
philosophers, e.g.
e.g. among
among
in universals;
belief
of 'individualized
'individualized forms'the medievals,
have wished
wished to
to speak
speak of
forms'
the
medievals, who have
'this
whiteness' for
for example.
The
problem
of
'universals' can
can in
in fact
fact
'universals'
of
The
'this whiteness'
example.
problem
be
given the
the form:
form: was
Frege right
right to
to introduce
introduce two
two wholly
wholly different
different
was Frege
be given
of 'reference'
'reference' for
words, namely
namely 'objects'
'objects' and 'concepts'?
kinds of
for words,
kinds
'concepts'? A
'concept'
was the
the 'reference'
of aa predicate;
predicate; now the
the characteristic
characteristic
'reference' of
'concept' was
of aa predicate
predicate is
is its
its possession
possession of
of an
an argument-place
argument-place or
or -places,
-places,
mark of
mark
one, now another
another object;
object;
which
be filled
filled with
with the
names of
which could
could be
the names
of now one,
In Wittgenstein's
Wittgenstein's fully
fully analysed
analysed
hence
hence a
a 'concept'
is a
a 'universal'.
'universal'. In
'concept' is
have nothing
nothing but
but aa set
argument-places filled
filled with
with
proposition, we have
set of
of argument-places
proposition,
of objects;
there
remains
kind
of
expression
that
could
be
names of
there
kind
remains
no
of
that
be
could
objects;
expression
regarded
as
standing
for
a
concept.
as
for
a
standing
regarded
concept.
a true
true predication
predication of
of *red'
'red' would
would indeed
indeed be
be
The objects
'behind' a
objects 'behind'
the same logical
in every
of
form in
case. We must
must remember
remember that
that
of the
logical form
every case.
the original
the
of form is
is the
the objects
themselves: 'If
things can
can
seat of
'If things
original seat
objects themselves:
occur
in atomic
atomic facts,
this must
must be
be something
that is
is in
things themthemoccur in
in things
facts, this
something that
selves .... If
IflI can imagine
imagine an
an object
object in
in the
the nexus
nexus of
of an
an atomic
fact, II
selves
atomic fact,
it outside
outside the
the possibility
possibility of
this nexus.'
nexus.' (2.01
(2.0121):
cannot imagine
imagine it
of this
21) And
that is
that
is why
why Wittgenstein
Wittgenstein says:
says: 'The
possibility of
of its
its occurrence
occurrence in
in
'The possibility
is the
atomic facts
facts is
the form of
the object'
and:
'The
objects
of the
The
and:
object' (2.0141),
(2.0141),
objects
substance of the
the world'
world' (2.021);
and so
so they
they are
and
form the
the substance
are 'form
"form and
(2.021); and
:

WITTGENSTEIN, FKEGE
FREGE AND fcAMSEY
RAMSEY
WITTGENSTEIN,

111
111

content'
Thus at
at 2.0231
2.0231 we
we learn
learn that
that the
the substance
substance of
of the
the
content' (2.025).
(2.025). Thus

world-i.e.
the objects
objects-can
determine only
only aa form,
form, not
not any
any material
material
i.e. the
world
can determine
properties.
For
it
needs
propositions
(as
opposed
to
names)
to
repreit
For
needs
to
properties.
propositions (as opposed
names) to represent
material properties;
properties; such
properties are
are 'only
'only formed
formed by
by the
the
sent material
such properties
the objects*.
objects'. Red is
is aa material
material property,
property, and
and therethereconfiguration of
of the
configuration
fore
by aa configuration
objects-and,
as II have
have said,
by
fore formed
formed by
of objects
configuration of
and, as
said, by
the
same configuration
configuration of
different objects
objects in
in the
the different
different facts
facts that
that
the same
of different
exist
things are
are red.
red. These
These different
different objects,
objects, having
having the
the
exist when different
different things
into configurations
configurations forming
the material
material property
property
capacity
to enter
enter into
capacity to
forming the
red,
will
be
of
the
same
logical
form:
that
of
objects
whose
conwill
be
of
the
form:
that
of
red,
logical
objects whose configurations
yield
colours.
(Hence
colour
is
a
'form
of
objects':
colours.
colour
is
a
of
'form
figurations yield
(Hence
objects':
20251).
2-0251).
This,
then, will
will be
be why
why he
he immediately
immediately goes
goes on
to say:
say: Two
'Two
on to
This, then,
objects
the same logical
logical form
form-apart
from their
their external
external properproperof the
objects of
apart from
ties-are
only distinct
distinct from
another in
that they
they are
are different'
different'
are only
from one
ties
one another
in that
his simple
simple objects
can have,
have,
(2.0233).
only 'external
properties' his
'external properties'
(2.0233). The only
objects can
of
are
those
of
actually
occurring
in
certain
facts.
of course,
are
those
of
in
certain
facts.
course,
actually occurring
Here Wittgenstein
Wittgenstein adds
remark, which
which may
may seem
seem at
at first
first sight
sight
a remark,
Here
adds a
to
the previous
previous one:
one: 'Either
thing has
has properties
properties that
that no
no
contradict the
'Either a
a thing
to contradict
other
has, in
which case
can mark it
it out
out from
from the
the others
others
in which
one can
case one
other has,
through aa description
more ado,
and point
point to
to it;
it; or
or on
on the
the
without more
ado, and
description without
through
other
there are
things with
with all
all their
their properties
properties in
in
are several
several things
other hand there
common,
then it
absolutely impossible
impossible to
to point
point to
to one of
of
it is
is absolutely
common, and then
them.
nothing marks
marks aa thing
thing out,
I cannot
cannot mark it
it out
out-if
I
if I
if nothing
them. For if
out, I
did,
it
would
be
marked
out.'
It
is
possible
that
he
is
here
thinking
that
here
he
is
It
is
it
out.'
would
be
marked
thinking
did,
possible
of
what is
involved in
e.g. distinguishing
distinguishing between
between and identifying
identifying
in e.g.
is involved
of what
particles
of matter.
matter. It
It would
would be
be wrong
wrong to
to infer
infer from this
this passage
passage
particles of
that he
that there
there cannot
cannot be
be two things
things with
with all
their properproperall their
that
he thinks
thinks that
at 5.5302
he is
that it
it makes sense
sense to
to say
say
ties in
in common: at
is explicit
5.5302 he
ties
explicit that
that two
two objects
have all
properties in
in common.
their properties
all their
that
objects have
Frege's
notion of
concepts led
to the
the awkwardness
awkwardness of
of saying
saying:
led him
him to
of concepts
Frege's notion
'the
'The
concept horse
horse is
is not
not aa concept';
for,
in
statements
about
'the
statements
about
in
"The concept
concept'; for,
words
these
of
concept
horse',
the
concept
horse
is
not
the
reference
of
these
the
reference
not
horse
is
the
concept
concept horse\
since
not words being
being used
used predicatively
predicatively as
as words that
that stand
stand
are not
since they
they are
for
concept must
must be.
be. Frege
to think
think1 that
that any
any such
such statement
statement
for a
a concept
Frege came to
:

11 I
of this
this by
by Mr. M. A.
A. E.
E. Dummett,
Durnmett, who has
has read
read some
1 am informed
informed of
of Frege's
Frege's unpublished
unpublished writings
at Miinster.
MUnster.
of
writings at

112
112

AN INTRODUCTION TO

Wl'ITGENSTEIN'S TRACfATUS
TRACTATUS
WITTGENSTEIN'S

was ill-formed;
a concept
concept must
must not
not occur
except predicatively.
predicatively. That
That
occur except
was
ill-formed; a
is,
we
can
speak
of
'the
animal
that
both
the
Derby
winner
for
1888
the
winner
animal
that
for
'the
both
1888
can
of
Derby
is,
speak
and
winner for
for 1889
are', but
but this
this expression,
like 'a
'a
and the
1889 are',
the Derby
expression, like
Derby winner
horse'
can occur
predicatively; we cannot
say: 'the
'the
cannot say:
horse' itself,
occur only
only predicatively;
itself, can
reference
of this
this expression
the concept
concept horse'.
horse'.
is the
reference of
expression is
Wittgenstein
would
say
the
sign
for
a
function shewed
shewed itself
itself to
to
the
for
a
function
would
say
sign
Wittgenstein
be
the sign
for aa function;
that something
falls under
under aa formal
formal
be the
function; that
something falls
sign for
concept
like 'function'
for him something
something that
that cannot
cannot be
be said;
and
is for
'function' is
said; and
concept like
Frege"s
difficulties about
'the concept
concept horse"
horse' explain
explain the
the point
point of
of this.
this.
about 'the
Frege's difficulties
If
that your
your expression
'the animal
animal that
that both
both the
the Derby
Derby
If you
you say
say that
expression 'the
'Winners
are' has
has aa concept
as its
its reference,
reference, you
you at
at once
once lay
lay yourself
yourself
winners are'
concept as
open
concept?', with
with only
only one
one possible
possible answer:
answer:
the question
'what concept?',
to the
open to
question 'what
'the
horse'-yet
this 'is
not aa concept'.
concept'. But
But the
the formal
formal concon'the concept
'is not
concept horse'
yet this
cept
is
rightly
represented
by
the
type
of
variable
used
in:
'There
is a
a
is
the
of
variable
used
in
'There
is
cept
rightly represented by
type
4> such
both the
the Derby
winners are
are &
cp': the
the variable
variable employed
employed
such that
that both
Derby winners
expresses what
what Frege
Frege wanted
wanted to
to express
express by
by the
the phrase
phrase 'the
'the concept',
concept',
expresses
and yet
he could
could not
not properly
properly express
express in
this way.
way.
in this
yet saw he
:

<f>

88

OPERATIONS
We must now consider
remarks on
on operations.
operations.
consider Wittgenstein's
Wittgenstein's remarks
They
a special
special interest
interest in
in connection
connection with
with his
his rejection
rejection of
of the
the
have a
They have
Frege-Russell
and Wittgenstein
Wittgenstein arrived
arrived at
at them
in
assertion sign,
them in
Frege-Russell assertion
sign, and
grappling
with the
the problem
problem of
of the
the assertion
assertion sign
sign as
as introduced
introduced by
by
grappling with
Frege.
Frege.
Although this
this sign,
sign, 'j-', is
is still
still in
in use
use in
in symbolic
symbolic logic,
logic, it
it has
has
Although
not
the same meaning
as it
it had for
for Russell
Russell and Frege;
Frege; it
it now
not now the
meaning as
a theorem',
theorem', and so
it could
could not
not in
in Russell
Russell and
and
'is a
means 'is
so can
can occur
occur (as
(as it
Frege)
hypothetically: 'if
p is
is aa theorem
Russell's
'if f-p',
i.e. 'if
*if p
theorem .. .'. Russell's
Frege) hypothetically:
p', i.e.
use of
explicitly follows
follows Frege's;
Frege's; for
for Frege,
Frege, the
the assertion
assertion
of the
the sign
use
sign explicitly
sign
the difference
difference between
between the
the thought
thought of
something's
of something's
sign symbolizes
symbolizes the
being the
case and the
the judgment
judgment that
that it
it is
is the
the case
case-it
thus never
never
the case
can thus
it can
being
occur
clause.
Frege
has
two
arguments
for
its
necessity,
one
in an if
occur in
has
its
two
for
//clause. Frege
necessity, one
arguments
the other
other strong.
strong.
weak and the
The weak argument
argument is
is from
the necessity
necessity of
of aa distinction
distinction between
between
from the
entertaining
hypothesis (formulating
(formulating the
the content
content of
judgment,
of a judgment,
entertaining an hypothesis
having aa 'sense'
before one's
one's mind)
mind) and
and asserting
asserting aa proposition.
proposition. He
'sense' before
having
says
that an
an actor
the stage,
for
example,
is
not
asserting.
that
At that
not
actor on the
is
for
asserting.
says that
example,
stage,
rate, it
it would
would be
be an inexcusable
inexcusable faux
faux pas
pas to
to make an
an actor
actor write
write the
the
rate,
assertion
before aa proposition
proposition on aa blackboard
blackboard in
play! This
This
in a play
assertion sign
sign before
argument need
need not
not delay
delay us.
us.
argument
the light
light of
of which we can understand
The strong
argument in the
strong argument-in
Wittgenstein on operations
operations-is
that we must distinguish
distinguish between the
the
is that
Wittgenstein
of aa proposition
proposition in
in aa conditional:
conditional: *if
'if p,
p, then
then q',
q', or
or a disdisoccurrence
occurrence of
junction: 'either
p, or
occurrence when we simply
say
its occurrence
'either p,
or q',
simply say
junction:
q', and its
that
is an obvious
obvious one,
one, but
but quite
quite difficult
difficult to
to
that p.
distinction is
p. The distinction
express;
it is
is natural
natural to
that we are
are distinguishing
distinguishing between the
the
to say
say that
express; it
',

')

.'.

113
113

114
114

AN INTRODUCTION TO WITTGENSTEIN'S
WTITGENSTEIN'S TRACTATUS
TRACfATUS

occurrence
the proposition,
proposition, unasserted,
unasserted, as
as aa component
component of
of an
an
of the
occurrence of
assertion,
and its
its occurrence
when it
is itself
itself asserted:
asserted: and here
here the
the
it is
occurrence when
assertion, and
distinction
we are
are trying
trying to
to make
make is
not aa psychological
psychological one.
one.
is certainly
distinction we
certainly not
But
we
cannot
say
that
'p',
when
it
occurs
by
itself
and
it
when
it
itself
it
occurs
But we cannot say that *p', when
by
occurs
a disjunction,
disjunction, 'p
v
q',
has
a
different
sense;
for
from
'p
v
q'
v
for
v
a
different
has
in a
occurs in
sense;
'p
q'
*p
q',
and'
~q' we can
can infer
infer 'p',
and the proposition that stands by itself as
and ~q*
*p', and the proposition that stands by itself as
the conclusion
must be
be the
the very
very same
same proposition
proposition as
as aa
as occurred
occurred as
the
conclusion must
disjunct.
disjunct.
RusselF1 uses
uses this
this point
point in
in his
of the
the 'non-psychohis explanation
Russell
'non-psychoexplanation of
of 'being
which is
is what
what according
according to
to him
logical'
sense of
asserted*, which
logical' sense
''being asserted',
must
accrue
to
a
proposition
(besides
what
it
has
just
qua
propowhat
it
has
must accrue to a proposition (besides
just qua proposition)
when
it
is
used
as
a
premise
to
prove
something,
or
is
(rightly)
or
is
to
it
used
when
is
as
a
(rightly)
prove something,
sition)
premise
say therefore,
therefore, we
inferred
as aa conclusion
premise. 'When we say
a premise.
inferred as
conclusion from
from a
state
which can
can only
hold between
between asserted
asserted propositions,
propositions,
state a
relation which
a relation
only hold
and
which thus
thus differs
differs from
from implication.'
and which
implication.'
Being asserted
asserted (in
(in this
this 'logical
'logical' sense)
sense) is,
is, for
both Russell
Russell and
and
for both
Being
Frege,
that cannot
possibly attach
attach to
to aa proposition
proposition
cannot possibly
something that
Frege, something
true. But
But it
is more than
than its
its being
being true;
true; for
for in
in the
the disdisunless it
it is
it is
unless
is true.
junction
'p
or
q'
it
may
be
that
one
or
the
other
proposition
is
true,
it
the
other
is
or
be
that
one
or
true,
junction 'p
may
proposition
q'
but neither
neither is
is being
being asserted.
asserted. In
Frege's terminology,
terminology, we might
might say
say
but
In Frege's
that
an unasserted
unasserted proposition
proposition is
is true,
true, it
it is
is (in
(in fact)
a designation
designation
if an
that if
fact) a
of
but in
the asserted
asserted proposition
proposition the
the true
true is
is actually
actually being
being
the true;
of the
in the
true; but
us as
as such,
such, it
it is
not just
just that
that some designation
designation of
of it
it
presented to
to us
is not
presented
occurs
our discourse.
in our
occurs in
discourse.
"
is logically
logically
Wittgenstein says
says curtly:
assertion sign
sign "1-"
is
Wittgenstein
curtly: 'Frege's
Trege's assertion
"|
quite
meaningless:
in
Frege
(and
in
Russell)
it
only
indicates
that
in
in
it
indicates
that
quite meaningless:
Frege (and
Russell)
only
these
these authors
authors hold
hold the
the propositions
propositions so
so marked to
to be
be true'
true' (4.442).
(4.442).
We must therefore
he deals
deals with
with the
the problem
problem raised
raised by
by
therefore enquire
enquire how he
about therefore;
therefore; and also
with the
the difference
difference between
between 'p'
'p' and
and
Russell,
also with
Russell, about
'q'
by themselves
v q'
or 'p;:,q'.
themselves and in
in 'p
*q* by
*p v
q* or
'pDq'.
The first
first point,
about therefore,
therefore, is
is dealt
dealt with
with at
6.1263-4: 'It
'It is
is
point, about
at 6.1263-4:
clear in
clear
in advance that
that the
the logical
logical proof
proof of
of aa significant
significant proposition
proposition
and proof
proof in
in logic
logic [i.e.
proof of
of aa proposition
proposition of
of logic
logic from another
another
[i.e. proof
of
proposition
of
logic]
must
be
quite
different
things.
significant
be
different
The
proposition
logic]
quite
things.
significant
proof shews
shews that
that things
things are
are as
as
proposition says
its proof
proposition
says something,
something, and its
it says;
it
in logic
logic every
every proposition
proposition is
is the
the form of
of a
a proof.
proof. Every
Every
says; in
1
Principles of
of Mathematics,
Mathematics, 38.
38.
Principles
*

OPERATIONS

llS
115

proposition of
logic is
is aa symbolic
representation of
of aa modus
modus ponens.
ponens.
of logic
symbolic representation
proposition
(And
ponens cannot
cannot be
be expressed
by a
a proposition.)*
proposition.)'
the modus ponens
(And the
expressed by
That is
is to
to say,
say, Wittgenstein
Wittgenstein takes
takes the
the tautology
tautology
That
(p.p:::>q)
(p.pDq)

:::>q
Dq

to be
be just
just another
symbolic representation
representation of
of the
the form
form of
of argument
argument
another symbolic
to
called
modus ponens
ponens, viz.
viz.:
called modus
p

p
P

p:>q
pDq
. q

is the
the term
term Wittgenstein
Wittgenstein uses
uses of
picture: what
what
Now 'representation'
of a
a picture:
'representation* is
a picture
picture represents
represents is
is its
here he
he is
is saying
saying that
that the
the impliimpliits sense.
sense. So here
a
cation
and p
p implies
q) implies
implies q',
q', is
is as
as it
it were
were aa picture
picture or
or
cation '(p,
implies q)
'(p, and
proposition with
with the
the modus ponens
ponens as
as its
its sense.
sense.
proposition
Russell says:
state aa relation
relation that
that can
can
Russell
says 'When we say
say therefore,
therefore, we state
only
hold
between
asserted
propositions.'
means,
among
other
asserted
hold
between
He
other
means, among
only
propositions.'
:

something
are wrong
wrong to
to say,
say, unless
unless the
the
something we are
premises
are
true
and
the
conclusion
too.
This
idea
finds
an
echo
in
are
true
the
conclusion
too.
This
idea
finds
an
in
echo
premises
a statement
by Frege
Frege in
in his
his essay
on negation:
negation: 'One
'One cannot
cannot infer
infer
statement by
essay on
anything
a false
that is
is not
not true.
true. What is
is true
truefalse thought.'
thought.' But that
anything from a
and,
of course,
course, what
what Frege
Frege was
was referring
referring to
to--is
that one
one cannot
cannot
is that
and, of
prove anything
anything from
premises; one can
can criticize
a proof
proof by
by
false premises;
criticize a
from false
prove
saying
that
the
premises
are
false
or
doubtful.
But
it
is
wrong
to
say
false
or
doubtful.
But
it
is wrong to say
saying that the premises are
that 'therefore'
is being
a correct
correct argument
argument from false
false
hi a
misused in
that
'therefore* is
being misused
To
be
sure,
'therefore'
is
the
utterance
of
is
premises.
the
'therefore'
is
someone
is
utterance
of
who
be
sure,
premises.
asserting
one
or
propositions
that
precede
it,
one
that
and
that
one
that
one
more
or
it,
precede
propositions
asserting
follows
and he
he is
in error
he asserts
is false;
false; he
he is
is not
not
if he
error if
asserts what is
is in
follows it,
it, and
however
committing aa further
further error
in using
using 'therefore'
'therefore' just
just because
because
error in
however committing
his premises
premises are
false and his
his conclusion,
conclusion, accordingly,
accordingly, perhaps
perhaps false.
false.
are false
his
If
these are
are his
his errors,
errors, they
they do not
not import
import aa further
further mistake
mistake into
into his
his
If these
'therefore'.
'therefore*.
must of
course distinguish
distinguish between
between the
the way
way a proposition
proposition
of course
We must
it means,
means, and the
the way
way it
it occurs
occurs
occurs when used
used to
to assert
assert what it
occurs
in
when e.g.
it
is
merely
a
subordinate
clause
in
proposition
that is
is
a
that
clause
it
a
subordinate
is
proposition
merely
e.g.
things, that
that therefore
is
therefore is
things,

Il6
116

AN INTRODUcnON
WITIGENSTEIN'S TRACTATUS
TRACI"ATUS
INTRODUCTION TO WITTGENSTEIN'S

asserted
(a clause,
clause, moreover,
moreover, that
that may
may be
be false,
false, though
though the
the whole
whole
asserted (a
true); it
it is
is aa mistake,
though it
it is
is natural,
natural, to
to describe
describe
proposition is
is true);
mistake, though
proposition
a
this
difference as
as aa difference
between aa 'logically
'logically asserted'
asserted' and a
difference between
this difference
have
here
a
necessary
dis'logically
unasserted'
proposition.
dishere
a
We
have
necessary
'logically unasserted' proposition.
only aa psychological
psychological sense.
sense.
tinction, wrongly
wrongly made.
made. 'Assertion'
'Assertion' has
has only
tinction,
might indeed
perhaps accept
accept 'logically
'logically asserted*
asserted' and
and 'logically
'logically
indeed perhaps
We might
of different
different ways
ways in
in which
which
unasserted'
as technical
technical descriptions
unasserted* as
descriptions of
it
can
be
no
part
of
the
requirements
propositions
may
occur;
but
of
the
no
be
it
can
but
occur;
part
requirements
may
propositions
be
for being
that aa 'logically
'logically asserted'
asserted' proposition
proposition be
asserted* that
for
being 'logically
'logically asserted'
true,
both Frege
Frege and
thought; and
and once
once that
that feature
feature of
of
Russell thought;
as both
and Russell
true, as
'logically
propositions is
is removed,
removed, the
the terms
terms become aa
asserted' propositions
'logically asserted'
of labels,
cease even
even to
to have
have an
an air
air of
being exexmere pair
pair of
of being
and cease
mere
labels, and
'Logical
assertion'
is
no
longer
an
extra
feature
attaching
planatory.
extra
feature
no
an
is
assertion'
longer
attaching
planatory. 'Logical
to
proposition, or
to its
have no idea
idea what
what it
it is;
is;
a proposition,
or added
its sense;
to a
added to
sense; we have
we only
when
to
call
propositions
'asserted'
in
this
sense.
call
'asserted'
in
this
sense.
know
when
to
only
propositions
not the
the end
the matter:
matter: the
the difference,
difference, if
if it
it has
has only
only
But
this is
But this
is not
end of
of the
to be
be made clearer
clearer and to
to be
be explained.
explained.
been labelled,
both to
been
demands both
labelled, demands
someFirst, although
although you
you cannot
cannot prove
prove anythirig
unless you
you know someFirst,
anything unless
can construct
construct the
ponens that
that would be
be aa proof
proof if
if
thing, you
you can
the modus ponens
thing,
you
found
out
that
its
premises
are
true.
'!/these
premises
are
true,
are
these
found
out
that
true.
its premises
7/
you
premises are true,
this conclusion
is true'
is then
a description
of this
this modus ponens;
ponens;
this
true' is
then a
conclusion is
description of
which II suppose
is
what
Wittgenstein
meant
by
his
remark
(6.1264).
which
is
what
meant
his
remark
by
suppose
Wittgenstein
(6.1264).
that you
you construct
may be
be quite
quite hypothetical;
hypothetical; or
or again,
again,
The premises
premises that
construct may
you may
one premise
premise and make an
an hypothesis
hypothesis of
of the
the other.
other.
may know one
you
is the
reason why
why Aristotle
Aristotle rightly
rightly says
a conclusion
conclusion is
is reached
reached
This
This is
the reason
says a
in just
in
just the
the same way
way in
in aa 'demonstrative'
'demonstrative' and
and aa 'dialectical'
'dialectical' syllosylloif you
you say
say 'suppose
p, and suppose
suppose q,
q, then
then r';
r'; or
or if,
if, being
being
gism: if
gism:
'suppose p,
'p',
you
say:
'suppose
q,
then
r';
you
are
just
as
much
inferring,
given
then
r'
are
given 'p', you say 'suppose q,
you
just as
inferring,
'p' and
and 'q'
'q' as
as true
true
and in
in essentially
the same way,
way, as
if you
you are
are given
given 'p'
as if
essentially the
and say
r'.
say 'therefore
'therefore r'.
'the structures
structures of
of (the)
(the)
This, Wittgenstein
Wittgenstein would say,
say, is
because 'the
is because
This,
to one
one another'
(5.2). For
For
propositions stand
stand in
internal relations
relations to
in internal
another' (5.2).
propositions
1 3 1 he has
'If the
at 5.
5.131
has said
said: 'If
the truth
truth of
proposition follows
follows from
from the
the
of one proposition
truth
truth of
of others,
this is
is expressed
expressed by
by relations
relations in
which the
the forms
forms of
of
in which
others, this
those
those propositions
propositions stand
to one another.
another. . . . These
These relations
relations are
are
stand to
internal and exist
exist simultaneously
with, and through,
through, the
the existence
existence of
of
simultaneously with,
the
propositions.'
the propositions.*
:

OPERATIONS

117
117

Wittgenstein goes
to say
that we
we can
can 'emphasize
'emphasize
on (at
Wittgenstein
goes on
(at 5.21)
5.21) to
say that
of expression,
expression, by
by representing
representing
these internal
relations in
in our
our form
internal relations
these
form of
one
proposition as
the result
result of
an operation
operation that
that produces
produces it
it out
out of
of
as the
of an
one proposition
others
bases of
of the
operation)'. This
This is
is perhaps
perhaps best
best explained
explained in
in
the operation)'.
others (the
(the bases
aa simple,
but
not
quite
familiar,
example.
Take
a
relation
and
its
but
not
Take
a
relation
and
its
simple,
quite familiar, example.
converse,
e.g. 'husband
of' and
'wife of,
of', and
and consider
consider the
the two
two
'husband of*
and 'wife
converse, e.g.
husband of
of b',
b', 'a
'a is
is wife
wife of
of b*.
b'. We now
now introduce
introduce
propositions: 'a
is husband
'a is
propositions
an
called 'conversion',
the sign
sign of
of which
which is
is 'Cnv'
placed
an operation,
*Cnv* placed
operation, called
'conversion', the
of writing
writing e.g.
e.g. *bRa\
'bRa', we
we write
write
before
relative term;
term; thus,
thus, instead
instead of
a relative
before a
'aCnvRb'.
the internal
internal rere'aCnvRb'. Then 'aCnv(husband
'aCnv(husband of)b'
of)b* emphasizes
emphasizes the
of two
two propositions
propositions 'a
'a is
husband of
of b'
b' and
and 'a
'a is
is wife
wife of
of b'
b'
lations
lations of
is husband
by
exhibiting
the
second
proposition
as
the
result
of
an
operation
the
second
the
as
result
of
an
by exhibiting
proposition
operation
upon the
the first
(of course,
course, an
operation that
that could
could only
be performed
performed
an operation
first (of
upon
only be
of this
this relational
form).
on
propositions of
on propositions
relational form).
An operation
not be
be assumed
assumed to
to be
be necessarily
necessarily an
an ininmust not
operation must
of' is
ferential
operation. In
In our
our present
present case,
case, indeed,
indeed, since
ferential operation.
since 'husband
'husband of
is
an
relation, the
two propositions
propositions are
are incompatible.
incompatible. An
the two
an asymmetrical
asymmetrical relation,
operation
upon aa given
given proposition
proposition as
as base
base may
may produce
produce one
one that
that is
is
operation upon
compatible
or
incompatible
with
the
proposition
operated
on;
the
or
with
the proposition operated on; the
incompatible
compatible
only
produce is
is something
to the
the
it does
does not
not produce
thing it
only thing
something equivalent
equivalent to
operation
is
what
has
to
happen
to
a
proposition
operated
on.
An
on.
is
what
has
to
a
to
operation
happen
proposition operated
proposition
in
order
to
turn
it
into
a
different
one
(cf.
5.23).
'the
in
order
to
turn
it
a
'the
into
one
And
(cf.
5.23).
different
proposition
is the
the expression
relation between
between the
the structures
structures of
of its
its
operation
a relation
of a
expression of
operation is
result and
its base'
base' (5.22).
and of
of its
result
(5.22).
can also
understand clearly
clearly enough
what is
In
is
this example
In this
also understand
enough what
example we can
meant by
by saying:
an operation
operation does
does not
not charchar'The occurrence
occurrence of
of an
meant
saying: 'The
proposition. For
For the
the operation
operation does
does not
not
acterize
the sense
of a
a proposition.
sense of
acterize the
assert
only
its
result
does,
and
this
depends
the
bases
of
the
of
on
bases
its
result
this
assert anything,
does,
anything, only
depends
the
(5.25).
It
is
very
clear
in
this
instance
that
'Cnv'
is
not
that
is
not
It
'Cnv'
is
in
this
instance
the operation'
clear
(5.25).
very
operation'
of the
the sense
sense of
of aa proposition,
proposition, as
might
a distinguishing
as 'not'
'not' might
a
distinguishing mark of
to be;
be; for
for you
you might
might think
think you
you can pick
pick out
out aa
easily
be thought
thought to
easily be
special
class of
of negative
negative propositions,
propositions, but
but you
you would not
not be
be tempted
tempted
special class
of relations
relations that
that are
are
to think
you can
pick out
out aa special
special class
class of
that you
can pick
to
think that
converse
the
relation
has
a
converse,
is
thus
the
converse
converses;
every
is
thus
a
and
converses; every relation has
converse,
suitable interof
its converse,
converse, and
be written
written 'CnvR'
'CnvR' for
for some suitable
intercan be
of its
and can
pretation
of
'R'.
R'.
of
pretation
of an
an 'operation',
'operation', we can
can now
Having grasped
grasped the
the general
general notion
notion of
Having
:

118
118

AN INTRODUCTION TO WITTGENSTEIN'S
WIITGENSTEIN'S TRACTATUS

proceed
to the
the next
next step,
step, which
which is
is taken
taken at
at 5.234:
5.234: 'The
truth'The truthproceed to
operations
functions
of the
the elementary
propositions are
are the
the results
results of
of operations
functions of
elementary propositions
(I call
call these
these operations
operations
with
the elementary
propositions as
bases. (I
as bases.
with the
elementary propositions
truth-operations).'
truth-operations).*
To say
this is
is to
to make aa radical
radical distinction
clistinction between
between aa truthtruthsay this
function
and an
ordinary function
For as
have seen,
seen,
*<x\ For
as we have
like 'r/>x'.
function like
an ordinary
function and
that
'the
occurrence
of
an
operation
is
not
a
disWittgenstein
says
is
a
not
disan
of
that
*the
occurrence
operation
Wittgenstein says
tinguishing
mark
of
the
sense
of
a
proposition:
for
the
operation
the
for
a
mark
of
the
of
sense
operation
proposition
tinguishing
assert anything,
anything, only
only its
its result
result does*.
does'. Now aa function
function of
of
does not
not assert
does
names
a distinguishing
mark of
of the
the proposition
proposition in
which
in which
names is
is certainly
certainly a
distinguishing mark
it occurs:
such aa function
certainly expresses
something, marks
marks out
out
it
occurs: such
function certainly
expresses something,
a form
form and
and aa content.
content. But
the sign
sign of
of an
an operation
operation not
not merely
merely
a
But the
nothing-has
no reference
reference-it
does not
not even
even mark out
out aa
stands
for nothing
it does
stands for
has no
form:
marks
the
difference
between
forms.
it only
forms.
the
between
form: it
difference
marks
only
'p' and 'q'
'q' as
as
Consider
the following
propositions which
which have
have *p'
Consider the
following propositions
of truth-functional
bases of
bases
truth-functional operations:
operations:
:

pvq
pvq
p.q
q
p
.

Each of
these can
can be
be written
written differently,
differently, e.g.
e.g. we have
have the
the same
same
of these
of
propositions
in
pair
of
in
pair
propositions

first of
of the
the pair,
pair, we have
have here
here two
two versions:
versions: in
one the
the proproFor the
the first
in one
position
reached
is
as
the
result
of
disjunction
performed
reached
is
shewn
as
the
result
of
position
disjunction performed on
'p'
'q'; in
in the
the other
the result
result of
of negation
negation performed
performed on
on the
the
other as
as the
*p' and *q';
conjoining the
the results
results of
of negation
negation performed
performed on 'p'
'p' and
and
result of
result
of conjoining
'q';
this is
is sufficient
to shew that
that the
the mere
mere occurrence
occurrence of
of disjunction,
disjunction,
sufficient to
'q'; this
or conjunction,
or negation,
negation, is
is not
not aa distinguishing
distinguishing mark of
of aa proproconjunction, or
other hand,
hand, if
you perform
perform aa different
different operation
on
position. On the
the other
if you
position.
operation on
the
the very
base, you
get aa difference
of sense.
sense.
difference of
very same base,
you get
up
Let us now compare
compare Wittgenstein's
Wittgenstein's position
position with
with those
those taken
taken up
by Frege
Frege and Russell.
Russell. For Russell,
Russell, aa truth-function
truth-function is
is one
one kind
kind
by
the functions
among
functions that
that take
propositions as
as arguments.
arguments. Frege
Frege
take propositions
among the

119
119

OPERATIONS

places no such
restrictions on
on what
what can
can be
an argument;
argument; as
as we
we have
have
such restrictions
be an
places
the true
true if
designation
seen,
a function
whose value
value is
he constructs
constructs a
function whose
is the
if a
a designation
seen, he
of
true occupies
occupies the
the argument-place,
argument-place, and
and is
is otherwise
otherwise the
the false;
false;
the true
of the
and
whose value
value is
is the
the false
false for
for those
those arguments
arguments
another function
function whose
and another
for
which the
the value
value of
the previous
previous function
function is
is the
the true,
true, and
and vice
vice
of the
for which
a third
third function:
versa.
constructs a
versa. He finally
function:
finally constructs
~-X

'-y

whose value
value is
is to
to be
be the
false if
we put
put aa true
true proposition
proposition into
into the
the c'y'
the false
if we
whose
y*
argument-place,
and any
designation which
which is
is not
not of
of the
the true
true (i.e.
(i.e.
any designation
argument-place, and
than aa propopropoeither
proposition, or
a false
false proposition,
or any
either a
other than
any designation
designation other
'x' argument-place;
in all
all other
other cases
cases the
the value
value of
of
sition)
into the
the *x'
sition) into
argument-place; in
the function
is to
to be
be the
the true.
true. This
This is
is material
material implication:
implication: 'either
'either
function is
the
not p
p or
or q'.
q'.
not
both for
for Frege
Frege and for
for Russell
Russell aa truth-function
truth-function is
is the
the same
same
Thus both
Thus
as
a
function
with
an
empty
place
for
a
name;
but
there
kind
an
a
with
of thing
as
function
for
kind of
a
but
there
name;
thing
empty place
For Frege,
Frege,
is
a certain
difference between
between Frege
Frege and
and Russell.
Russell. For
certain difference
is still
still a
is aa place
place for
for aa name\
name; propositions
propositions are
counted
the
place is
are counted
the empty
empty place
all
among names,
names, for
he takes
propositions (whose
(whose components
components all
takes propositions
for he
among
have
reference) as
truth-values. For
For Russell,
propositions
as names of
of truth-values.
have reference)
Russell, propositions
of significant
substitutions for
for the
the variable
variable in
in this
this
are
just the
the range
range of
are just
significant substitutions
kind
of function;
function; and
would not
not call
call aa proposition
proposition aa name.
name.
he would
and he
kind of
not construct
construct aa function
and stipulate
stipulate what
what its
its
Further,
he does
does not
function and
Further, he
values are
are to
for various
various arguments;
arguments; he
he simply
simply defines
defines each
each of
of the
the
to be
values
be for
function which
which with
with argument
argument pp or
or arguargutruth-functions
as 'that
'that function
truth-functions as
q (these
(these being
being propositions)
propositions) is
is the
the proposition
proposition that
that .. .',
ments p
p and
and q
ments
.',
filling
up the
the that
statement about
the truth
truth or
or
with some statement
that clause
about the
clause with
filling up
falsehood
of the
the arguments)
argument(s) like
like *p
'pis
not true*
true' or
'p and qq are
are both
both
is not
or *p
falsehood of
true'.
true*.
Russell, however,
however, would hold
hold that
that the
the truthtruthBoth Frege
Frege and Russell,
Wittgenfunctional
connectives
themselves
express
functions.
functions.
For
themselves
functional connectives
Wittgenexpress
it is
otherwise. We saw earlier
earlier that
that to
to say:
say: *A
'A proposition
proposition is
is a
stein
stein it
is otherwise.
of the
the expressions
expressions it
it contains'
is not
not incompatible
incompatible with
function
contains* is
function of
'A proposition
proposition is
not aa function.*
function.' To say
say that
that aa proposition
proposition
saying:
is not
saying: 'A
.

120
120

AN INTRODUCTION
INTRODUCilON TO WITTGENSTEIN'S
wriTGENSTEIN'S TRACfATUS
TRACTATUS

is
of the
the expressions
expressions it
it contains
contains is
is to
to say
say that
that it
it is
is the
the result
result
is a
a function
function of
of
them with
with one
one another.
say it
it is
is not
not aa function
is to
to
function is
of completing
another. To say
completing them
say
that it
it is
is not
not itself
itself something
something with
with an
an empty
empty place
place awaiting
awaiting comcomsay that
pletion.
this sense
course aa proposition
proposition that
that is
is aa truth-function
truth-function
In this
sense of
of course
pletion. In
of
others
is
not
a
function,
on
any
view.
But
on
Wittgenstein's
view
But
on
view.
a
on
Wittgenstein's view
any
of others is not function,
we must
go further:
further: aa truth-function
of propositions
propositions is
is not
not a
a
truth-function of
we
must go
function of
of those
those propositions',
propositions; for
for it
it is
is the
the result
result of
operation, not
not
an operation,
of an
function
a result
result of
of completing
one expression
with another;
another; and aa truthtrutha
completing one
expression with
not the
the argument
a function,
but the
the base
base on which
which
argument
is not
of a
function, but
argument is
argument of
an
is performed.
performed. At
5.25-5.251 it
it is
is said
said explicitly:
explicitly: 'Opera'OperaAt 5.25-5.251
an operation
operation is
tion and
function must
must not
function cannot
cannot be
be its
its
tion
and function
not be
be confused.
confused. A function
but the
the result
of
an
operation
can
be
the
base
of
that
own argument,
argument, but
of
can
be
the
base
that
result of an operation
very
operation.' For
For example,
we cannot
cannot put
put 'x
'x is
is aa man'
man' into
into the
the
very operation.'
example, we
argument-place
in
'xis
a
man'
itself-we
get
the
nonsense
'xis
a
'x
the
nonsense
is
a
in
*x
we
man
a
man'
itself
is
get
argument-place
is
but we can
write '-p'
for 'p'
'p' in
in '~p'
' .......p' itself,
itself, and
and the
the
is a
a man';
can write
man'; but
*~p' for
*~ -p'
result
makes perfect
sense. Similarly,
Similarly, any
any operation
operation may
may be
be
result ,_,
~-p' makes
perfect sense.
iterated,
any number
number of
of times.
times. Sometimes
an operation
operation cancels
cancels out
out
Sometimes an
iterated, any
when
,..... -p'
reduces to
to *p',
'p', and
and *aCnv(CnvR)b'
'aCnv(CnvR)b' to
to
it is
when it
is iterated:
iterated: *~
~p' reduces
'aRb'
(see
genuine function
never behaves
behaves in
in this
this way.
way.
'aRb' (see 5.254).
function never
5.254). A genuine
is the
the 'occurrence'
'occurrence' of
of aa
With this
With
this we come to
to the
the question:
question: What is
proposition
'in'
a
complex
proposition,
which
have
seen
to
be
which
have
'in'
a
we
seen
be
to
proposition
complex proposition,
wrongly
characterized
as
the
occurrence
of
an
unasserted
in
an
as
the
occurrence
of
an
unasserted
in
characterized
an
wrongly
asserted
proposition? Wittgenstein's
answer is
is that
that in
the complex
complex
asserted proposition?
in the
Wittgenstein's answer
proposition
component proposition
proposition has
has the
the role
role only
only of
of a truth"
truthits component
proposition its
argument: i.e.
i.e. it
is the
the base
of aa truth-operation.
truth-operation.
it is
base of
argument:
the sense
sense of
"p" must
must
We were
inclined to
were inclined
'In "---p"
of "p"
to argue:
argue: 'In
"~p" the
occur,
but
it
is
not
being
asserted,
so
must
distinguish
between
it
but
is
not
we
must
so
between
occur,
being asserted,
distinguish
the sense
of "p"
and the
assertion; here
here "assertion"
"assertion" has
has aa nonnonthe
sense of
the assertion;
"p" and
psychological import,
and
signifies
something
that
add
to
the
we
add
that
to
the
psychological
import,
signifies something
sense
that p.*
p.' But
But Wittgenstein
Wittgenstein says:
'the sense
sense
sense of
of "p"
assert that
"p" when we assert
says 'the
of a truth-function
of pis
afunctionofthesenseofp'
(5.2341); here
here he
he
truth-function of
function of the sense of p* (5.2341)
p is a
is certainly
is
arithmetical comparison:
as 22 is
is aa function
of
function of
certainly making
making an arithmetical
comparison as
its square
4,
root, so
the sense
of '~p'
''""'P' is
is a
a certain
function
so the
sense of
certain function
4, namely
namely its
square root,
sense of 'p',
of the
the sense
the sense
'p' only
only occurs
occurs in
that of
of '~
'.....,p'
sense of
of *p'
in that
'p*, and the
p'
in the
in
the way
way in
which 4
4 occurs
occurs in
2.
in which
in 2.
The difference,
then, that
wanted to
to call
the difference
difference
that we first
first wanted
call the
difference, then,
between an asserted
asserted and an unasserted
unasserted proposition
proposition-because
because we
:

121
121

OPERATIONS

wished to
to say
that the
the sense
sense of
of 'p'
'p' must
must occur
occur in
in'*~p'
-p' or
in *p
'p v
v q'
q'wished
or in
say that
is
rightly described
described as
between the
the occurrence
occurrence of
of the
the
is rightly
as a
a difference
difference between
sense,
the occurrence,
occurrence, not
not of
the sense,
but of
of aa certain
function
of the
certain function
sense, and the
sense, but
of
the sense.
of the
sense.
The argument
argument by
by which
which we reached
reached the
the view
view that
that 'assertion'
'assertion' was
was
an extra
extra feature
which somehow gets
gets added
added to
to the
the sense
sense-' "p"
an
feature which
"p"
must
p, in
and "p
v q",
which nevertheless
nevertheless do
do not
not
must mean p,
in "-p"
"~p" and
"p v
q", which
assert
p'-<:ould
compared to
to arguing:
arguing: '"7"
must mean 77
assert that
that p'
"7" must
could be
be compared
in
7-3 apples";
must distinguish,
distinguish, even
in empirical
empirical
"I had 7-3
in "I
so we must
even in
apples'*; so
propositions
where numerals
numerals occur,
occur, between
between the
the use
use of
of aa numeral
numeral
propositions where
to designate
things, which
which we will
will call
its positive
positive use,
use,
to
call its
a number of
of things,
designate a
and uses
where it
has the
the same sense
sense but
but does
does not
not designate
designate aa
uses where
it has
of things.
things. Some extra
extra feature
feature therefore
therefore attaches
to the
the use
use
attaches to
number of
of
the numeral
but not
not in
in "I
had 7-3
7-3 apples".'
apples".'
of the
"I had
had 77 apples",
"I had
in "I
numeral in
apples' but
By this
this argument,
might propose
propose to
to symbolize
symbolize that
that 'extra
'extra feature'
feature'
By
argument, we might
by prefixing
prefixing the
the sign
sign 'P'
'P' for
for 'positive'
to certain
certain occurrences
occurrences of
of
by
'positive' to
numerals,
and
think
it
necessary
to
write:
'I
1-J.ad
P7
apples'
and
'I
P7
write:
had
think
to
it
and
apples'
numerals,
necessary
'I
(7-3) apples'.
'I had P (7-3)
apples'.
'

'

99

FORMAL CONCEPTS AND FORMAL SERIES

At the
the end
end of
of his
his life,
as we saw,
saw, Frege
Frege came to
to think
think that
that if
someif someAt
life, as
thing is
concept, we cannot
say that
that it
it is
is aa concept
concept-i.e.
i.e.
a concept,
is a
cannot correctly
correctly say
thing
predicate the
the term
term 'concept'
it-because
an expression
expression for
for aa
because an
of it
'concept' of
predicate
concept
significantly occur
occur only
in the
the place
place of
of aa predicate,
predicate, not
not
can significantly
only in
concept can
as
of the
the predicate
predicate 'concept'.
This doctrine
doctrine was what
as a
a subject
'concept'. This
subject of
Wittgenstein expressed
expressed by
by saying:
'Something's falling
falling under
under aa
saying: 'Something's
Wittgenstein
1 belonging to it, cannot be expressed by
1
formal
concept, as
as an
to it, cannot be expressed by
an object
formal concept,
object belonging
aa proposition,
proposition, but
but is
rather shewn
shewn by
by the
the sign
for that
that object'
object' (4.
(4.126);
1 26)
is rather
sign for
falls under
under the
the 'formal'
'formal' concept
concept concept
or property,
property,
e.g.
if somethlng
concept or
e.g. if
something falls
this is
is shown by
by the
the predicative
predicative character
character of
of the
the sign
use for
for that
that
this
sign we use
'something';
and
again,
a
variable
relating
to
properties
will
have
will
to
have
variable
and
a
properties
'something';
relating
again,
to
one that
that we take
as having
having one
argument-places.
one or
or more argument-places.
to be
be one
take as
;

1 This
This use
use of the
the term 'object'
not mislead
mislead us
us into
into thinking
thinking we
'object' must not
have some evidence
evidence for
for Wittgenstein's
Wittgenstein's counting
counting properties
properties and relations
relations
have
as
objects, of
different 'type'
the objects
they attach
attach to
to (contrary
(contrary to
to
as objects,
of different
objects they
'type* from the
the view stated
in Chapter
7). It
is the
the same use
use as
as Wittgenstein
Wittgenstein adopts,
adopts,
the
stated in
It is
Chapter 7).
but apologizes
apologizes for,
at 4.123:
'A property
property is
is internal
internal if
its not
not belonging
belonging to
to
but
4.123 'A
if its
for, at
:

its
object is
is inconceivable.
inconceivable. (This
(This blue
blue and that
that blue
blue eo
eo ipso
ipso stand
in the
the
its object
stand in
internal
relation of brighter
brighter and darker.
It is
is inconceivable
inconceivable for
for these
these
internal relation
darker. It
objects
to stand
in this
this relation.)
relation.) (To
(To the
the shift
shift in
in the
the use
use of
of the
the words
stand in
objects not to
"property"
answers here
here a
a shift
shift in
in the
the use
use of the
the word
"relation" there
there answers
"property" and "relation"
"object").'
as internal
properties and relations
relations are
not properly
properly
internal properties
are not
"object").* Just as
speaking
properties and relations,
relations, so
neither are
are shades
shades of
blue objects
objects in
in
so neither
of blue
speaking properties
the
proper sense.
sense.
the proper
It
It may be asked: Why then
then did
did Wittgenstein
Wittgenstein resort
resort to
to this
this misleading
misleading
terminology? The answer,
answer, II think,
that the
the terminology
terminology of
of objects*
objects' falling
falling
is that
terminology?
think, is
is less
under concepts
less loaded
loaded with
with philosophical
philosophical doctrine,
doctrine, and more of a
concepts is
familiar way of speaking,
speaking, in
in German than
than in
in English.
English. Mr. Michael
Michael
Dummett tells
Dumrnett
tells me that
that at
railway station
station he
he saw aa notice
notice beginbeginat MUnster
Minister railway
ning: 'All
'All objects
that fall
undertheconcepthand-luggage' (A !le Gegenstiinde,
ning
objects that
fallundertheconcept^/7^-/w^cg-e'(^//e
Gegenstande,
Begriff Handgepack
Handgepiick fallen).
fallen).
die
die unter
den Begriff
unter den
:

122

SERIES
FORMAL CONCEPTS AND FORMAL SERIES

123
123

In
Wittgenstein, as
saw (Chapter
5, pp.
pp. 82-3),
the notion
notion of
of aa
In Wittgenstein,
as we saw
82-3), the
(Chapter 5,
'formal'
a concept
that cannot
cannot be
be properly
properly expressed
by aa
'formal* concept,
concept, a
concept that
expressed by
or general
term, but
but only
only by
by the
the way
way we
we apply
the correscorrespredicate
general term,
predicate or
apply the
sort
of
sign,
is
extended
much
more
widely
than
this.
Not
ponding
sort
of
is
extended
much
than
this.
Not
more widely
ponding
sign,
only
'concept',
'function',
'object',
but
also
'number',
'fact',
'combut
also
'comonly 'concept*, 'function', 'object',
'number', 'fact',
plex', are
are formal
formal concepts;
concepts; and,
to Carnap,
Carnap, WittgenWittgenin opposition
plex',
and, in
opposition to
that such
such linguistic
concepts
as
'name',
'predistein
would maintain
maintain that
stein would
as
'name',
linguistic concepts
'predicate',
expression' are
are also
also formal
concepts.
'relational expression'
formal concepts.
cate', 'proposition',
'proposition', 'relational
In
these cases
cases can
be informatively
said of
of something
something that
that
In none
of these
none of
can it
it be
informatively said
it
under the
the concept;
concept; the
only proper
proper way
way of
of expressing
expressing aa formal
formal
it falls
falls under
the only
the concepts
concepts 'object',
'object', 'concept',
'concept',
concept
is (as
Frege held
for the
held for
(as Frege
concept is
the
use
of
a
special
style
of
variable;
and
what
makes aa
'function')
the
of
use
of
and
a
what
makes
'function')
special style
variable;
style
of
variable
special
is
not
(say)
belonging
to
a
special
alphabet,
of
variable
is
not
to
a
style
special
(say) belonging
special alphabet,
but something
that comes
the use
use of
of the
the variable.
any
but
comes out
out in
in the
variable. If
If any
something that
a symbol
symbol 'A'
for something
something falling
falling under
under
proposition
'<A* contains
contains a
'A' for
proposition 'rpA'
a fcrmal
concept, then
then we may
may always
always introduce
introduce the
the appropriate
appropriate
formal concept,
of variable
the two
two blanks
blanks of
of '(E
'(E-}cfr-' or
'For some
some-.
style of
variable into
into the
or 'For
style
4>--'. Thus: 'Socrates
and bald*
bald'-'For
x, xxis
is snubnosed
is
'Socrates is
'For some x,
snubnosed and
snubnosed
and x
x is
is bald.'
bald.' 'Socrates
is bald
bald and
and Plato
Plato is
is not*
not'snubnosed and
'Socrates is
'For
f, Socrates
is ff and
and Plato
Plato is
not f.'
f.' Ten
'Ten men mowed the
the
'For some f,
Socrates is
is not
meadow'-'For
n, nn men mowed the
the meadow.*
meadow.' Thus:
Thus: 'Along
'Along
meadow'
'For some n,
with an
falling under
under aa formal
formal concept,
concept, that
that concept
concept is
is itself
itself
with
an object
object falling
already
given' (4.12721);
the concept
object is
by using
using
is given
already given'
concept object
given by
(4.12721); the
property by
by using
using 'bald',
'bald', the
the concept
'Socrates',
the concept
'Socrates', the
concept property
concept number
by
using 'ten';
'ten'; and
and in
case the
the formal
formal concept
concept is
to be
be symsymis to
in each
each case
by using
a style
style of
variable (4.1272).
(4.1272).
bolically
of variable
bolically expressed
by a
expressed by
the formal
concepts that
that he
he himself
himself recognized,
recognized,
formal concepts
As regards
regards the
Frege
so
constructed
his
logical
notation
that
inappropriate
substithat
so
constructed
notation
his
Frege
inappropriate substilogical
tutions
for the
the corresponding
variables
gave
a
visibly
ill-formed
ill-formed
a
variables
tutions for
visibly
gave
corresponding
need to
appeal to
to what the
the signs
signs were
were supposed
expression;
he had no need
to appeal
supposed
expression; he
to stand
but only
only to
to formal
rules. Russell
Russell abandoned this
this ideal
ideal
stand for,
formal rules.
to
for, but
for
and his
system requires
requires at
at critical
critical points
points
his system
for a
a symbolic
symbolic language,
language, and
that
tell us
us in
in English
English how
bow the
the interpretation
interpretation of
of his
signs
his signs
that be
he should
should tell
restrict their
their use;
use; Wittgenstein
Wittgenstein sharply
criticizes him for
for this
this
is
is to
to restrict
sharply criticizes
at
and again
again at
at 5.452.
Frege's own system
system does not,
not,
at 3.33-.331
5.452. But Frege's
3.33-.331 and
on Wittgenstein's
Wittgenstein's view,
view, satisfy
the ideal;
ideal; if
if '*<(
4><. )'
is a predicate,
predicate, the
the
)* is
satisfy the
with
filled
empty
place in
in it
it can
to
Frege
be
filled
up
any
be
to
can according
any
up
Frege
empty place
according
*

)<f>

<f>

'.

124
124

AN INTRODUCTION
INTRODUcnON TO WITTGENSTEIN'S
WITTGENS'IEN'S TRACTATUS
TRACTATIJS

'proper name',
Frege 'proper
names' include
include ordinary
ordinary
and for
for Frege
'proper names'
name*, and
'proper
proper
in sentences,
sentences, definite
definite descriptions,
descriptions, and
clauses in
names, clauses
proper names,
numerals. The
that we
we should
should not
not ordinarily
ordinarily attach
attach any
any sense
sense
fact that
The fact
numerals.
at
all
to
'(a
rose
is
a
rose)
is
white'
or
'7
is
white'
did
not
worry
not
white'
did
at all to '(a rose is a rose) is white' or '7 is
worry
white, he
he says,
says, can
be handled
handled in
logic only
only if
if
Frege; the
in logic
can be
the concept
Frege;
concept white,
we
as
regards
any
possible
subject
for
the
predicate
the
for
we can
can stipulate,
as
predicate
regards any possible subject
stipulate,
be the
condition for
for the
the predicate's
predicate's holding;
holding; and
'white',
would be
the condition
what would
'white', what
any
name' is
is such
such aa possible
possible subject.
was this
this sort
sort of
of
It was
subject. It
any 'proper
'proper name'
paradox that
Russell sought
sought to
to avoid
avoid by
by appealing
appealing to
to 'ranges
'ranges of
of
that Russell
paradox
significance';
but Wittgenstein
Wittgenstein thought
thought this
this remedy
remedy worse
worse than
than the
the
significance'; but
disease, because
because logic
logic cannot
rest on
on vague
vague intuitions
intuitions expressed
expressed in
in
cannot rest
disease,
the
what is
but 'must
'must take
take care
care of
of
the vernacular
vernacular about
is 'significant',
about what
'significant', but
itself'
(5.473).
itself' (5.473).
remedy was
was to
to give
give aa wholly
wholly new account
account of
of
Wittgenstein's
Wittgenstein's own remedy
the formal
concepts 'proposition'
and
'number',
which
should
of
should
of
the
which
formal concepts
and
'number',
'proposition'
itself
the mistake
mistake of
of treating
clauses and
and numerals
numerals as
as proper
proper
itself show the
treating clauses
objects. This
account brings
brings in
in the
the notion
notion of
of aa formal
formal
names of
of objects.
This account
doctrine underlying
underlying this
this notion
notion is
is that
that operations,
operations, in
in the
the
series. The doctrine
series.
of the
the word explained
in the
the last
last chapter,
chapter, can
can be
be iterated-'the
sense
sense of
iterated 'the
explained in
result of
operation can
can be
be the
the base
base of
of that
that very
very operation*
operation'
result
of an
an operation
For
example
if
double
a
number,
can
double
the
(5.251).
For
if
the
we
double
a
we
can
double
(5.251).
number,
example
take '0'
to be
be an
operation,
then
starting
from
result. If
If we take
result.
*O' to
an arbitrary
then
from
starting
arbitrary operation,
'a' we get
get the
the formal
formal series
series 'a,
Oa, OOa,
OOa, OOOa,
' 1 ; and
a base
base 'a'
OOOa, ... n
'a, Oa,
Wittgenstein represents
represents an
an arbitrary
arbitrary term
term of
of this
this series
series by
by *[a,
'[a, x,
x, Ox]*,
Ox]',
Wittgenstein
the three
three expressions
expressions within
within the
the square
brackets
where the
the first
first of
where
of the
square brackets
the series,
series, and the
the other
other two
two represent
represent the
the
represents the
the first
first term
term of
of the
represents
getting from each
to the
the next.
next. In
In important
important cases,
cases,
way of getting
each term on to
way
the
variable expressing
will relate
relate to
to the
the terms
terms of
of aa
the variable
a formal
concept will
formal concept
expressing a
formal series;
Wittgenstein holds
holds that
that this
this is
is so
so for
for the
the formal
formal conconseries; Wittgenstein
(as we shall
see in
the next
next chapter)
chapter) for
for the
the formal
formal
cept
'number' and (as
in the
shall see
cept 'number'
concept
'proposition' also.
also.
concept 'proposition'
11
1
I omit
omit the
the apostrophe
apostrophe that
that Wittgenstein
Wittgenstein puts
puts after
after symbols
symbols of
of operaoperation
indicate that
tion to
to indicate
that he
he is
is speaking
of the
the result
result of
of the
the operation:
operation: this
this is
is aa
speaking of
'estige of
oftthe
he apostrophe
apostrophe used
by Russell,
Russell, who writes
writes 'RV
'R'a' for
'the R of
of a'.
a'.
used by
for 'the
\estige
In Russell
is significant,
In
Russell this
this is
because *-Ra'
'-Ra' is
is the
the predicate
predicate 'is
an R of
of a',
a',
'is an
significant, because
whereas *RV
'R 'a' is
is aa definite
In Wittgenstein
Wittgenstein it
it is
is superfluous
and
definite description.
description. In
superfluous and
therefore
th~refore meaningless,
operations are
in any
any case
case sharply
distinsince operations
are in
meaningless, since
sharply distinguts~ed
from relations.
relations. Nor is
is it
it used
used very
very consistently
consistently in
in the
the printed
printed
guished from
version of
version
the Tractatus.
of the
Tractatus.
.

125
125

SERIES
FORMAL CONCEPTS AND FORMAL SERIES

One might
might thus
thus well
well think
think that
that for
for the
the concept
concept 'number'
it would
would
'number' it
have been
enough for
Wittgenstein to
to say
say as
as he
he does
does at
been enough
for Wittgenstein
have
at 6.022-.03:
6.022-.03
is the
the variable
variable number.
number. . . . The
The general
general
'The
"The concept
"number" is
concept "number"
of the
whole number
number is
is [O,g,
g
1]'-so
long
as
this
was
suppleform
the whole
form of
so
as
was
this
[0,
supplelong
+1]'
the special
operation + 1T.'. In
In
mented
by some
some account
mented by
account of
0' and
of '0'
of the
and of
special operation
:

'+

fact
Wittgenstein goes
goes about
about it
it in
quite aa different
different way.
way. At
At 6.02
6.02 he
he
fact Wittgenstein
in quite
gives
the following
following definitions:
definitions:
gives the

This explains
the meaning
meaning of
of aa zero
zero exponent
of the
the operator
operator 'Q'
This
'fl*
explains the
exponent of
and
the meaning
meaning of
of an
an exponent
of
the
form
'n
+
1'
given
the
also the
and also
the
the
of
form
*n+l' given
exponent
the exponent
'n'.11 He then
then defines
defines the
the ordinary
ordinary nunumeaning of
of the
meaning
exponent 'n'.
+1, as
as follows:
merals in
in terms
terms ofO
merals
and +1,
of and
follows:
1=0+1; 2=0+1+1;
etc.
2=0-1-1+1; 3=0+1+1+1; etc.
of any
any ordinary
numeral as
as
This
enables us
us to
to interpret
interpret the
the use
use of
This enables
ordinary numeral
an
exponent; e.g.
e.g. Q 33x=!J!JQx.
number is
is always
always 'the
'the exexan exponent;
x=QQQx. And aa number
operation' (6.021);
(6.021); sentences
sentences where
where numerals
numerals appear
appear
ponent of
of an
an operation'
ponent
to
uses must
be translatable
translatable into
into sentences
sentences where
where they
they
to have
have other
other uses
must be
2
2
exponents~.g.
into 'fl
'f22!J
x=!J 4x'
x' (cf.
(cf. 6.241).
6.241).
occur
as exponents
fi 2 x=,Q
occur as
'2+2=4' into
e.g. '2+2=4'
of such-and-such
such-and-such aa formal
formal series'
series' just
just is
is
The formal
concept 'term
formal concept
'term of
of applying
an operation
operation an
the concept
concept 'result
the
such-and-such an
'result of
applying such-and-such
to such-and-such
a base',
base', and aa number is
is
arbitrary number
number of
times to
such-and-such a
arbitrary
of times
vicious
an
of
any
such
operation;
it
would
thus
involve
a
vicious
a
involve
it
an exponent
thus
of
such
would
exponent
any
operation;
series. The
of formal
formal series.
circle
to treat
numbers as
just one
special case
case of
circle to
treat numbers
one special
as just
of writing
writing the
the general
general term
term of
of aa formal
formal series,
series, '[x,,
'[xl,
informal
way of
informal way
!Jfl',
character is
by the
the use
use of
of 't',
just as
as
informal character
is shown by
'', just
(whose informal
?]', (whose
is thus
thus replaced
replaced by:
by:
in
Frege), is
in Frege),
]

(6.02)

1
.

1 He uses
uses here
here aa capital
capital omega,
omega, instead
of aa Roman O
0 as
as in
in other
other
instead of
places,
because '0',
where the
the big
big O
0 is
is the
the sign
of the
the operation
operation and the
the
sign of
O', where
places, because
exponent
0, is
is disagreeably
disagreeably unperspicuous.
unperspicuous. The use
use of aa Greek v,
v, by
by
is 0,
exponent is
assimilation
to the
the use
use of
of 'Q',
pointless.
assimilation to
is pointless.
'', is
4

126
126

AN INTRODUCTION TO WITTGENSTEIN'S
WITrGENSI'EIN'S TRACTATUS

Wittgenstein's reason
reason for
for introducing
introducing numbers
numbers only
only here,
here, when
Wittgenstein's
the conception
of aa formal
formal series,
series, is
is that
that
he
has already
already often
often used
used the
he has
conception of
you can
explain what
what is
is meant
meant by
by 'an
'an arbitrary
arbitrary term
term of
of aa formal
formal
can explain
you
of numbers:
numbers: 'First
'First we
series'
clearly without
explicit mention
mention of
without explicit
series' quite
quite clearly
then
Oa-the
result
of
performing
a
certain
operation
on a;
a;
have
a;
certain
a
result
of
the
Oa
have a; then
operation on
performing
then OOa-the
result of
of performing
performing it
on Oa
Oa; then
then OOOa;
so on
on;
OOOa and so
it on
then
OOa the result
"an
term" means
term or
other reached
reached in
in this
this way".'
way".'
means "some
"some term
or other
"an arbitrary
arbitrary term"
To
example: We might
might explain
explain 'ancestor
in the
the
'ancestor in
concrete example:
a concrete
To give
give a
male
by saying:
saying: 'There's
my father,
father, and
and my
my father's
father's father,
father, and
and
'There's my
line' by
male line'
my
father's father,
father, and so
so on.'
concept of
the successive
of the
"The concept
successive
on.' 'The
father's father's
my father's
of
an
operation
is
equivalent
to
the
concept
so on
on'
application
to
the
is
concept and so
equivalent
application of an operation
(5.2523).
have
the
concept
of
an
arbitrary
term
of
a
formal
series
of
a
formal
term
the
an
of
series
have
We
concept
arbitrary
(5.2523).
'and so
so on'
on' in
connection with
with the
the series;
series; e.g.
e.g.
when we understand
unclerstand 'and
in connection
when
for
the series
of relations:
relations: father,
father, father's
father's father,
father, father's
father's father's
father's
for the
series of
,1 we know what
what its
its general
term is
is when we know what
what
father ....,*
father
general term
'and
on' (or
the row of
of dots
dots 1
have just
just written)
written) means in
in conconI have
*and so
so on'
(or the
the series.
But if
as regards
regards some term
term of
of such
such aa
nection with
with the
if we ask,
series. But
nection
ask, as
series,
which term
term it
is, which
which performance
performance of
of the
the generating
generating operaoperait is,
series, which
tion the
term results
results from,
from, the
the interrogative
'which?'
is
really
an
'which?'
is
the term
tion
interrogative
really an
ordinalinterrogative
quotus?) requiring
requiring an
an ordinal
ordinal numeral
numeral
ordinal interrogative (Latin
(Latin quotusl)
answer.
as
as an answer.
For
Frege and Russell,
number was not
not aa formal
formal conconFor Frege
Russell, (natural)
(natural) number
but aa genuine
genuine concept
concept that
that applied
applied to
to some but
but not
not all
all objects
objects
cept,
cept, but
to some but not all
all classes
classes of
of classes
classes (Russell);
those
(Frege)
or to
(Frege) or
(Russell); those
objects,
or
classes,
to
which
the
concept
number
applied
were
picked
to
the
or
classes,
objects,
concept number applied were picked
out
their logical
logical type
type as
as being
being 0 and
and the
the successors
successors
out from others
others of their
of 0.
relation successor
successor of
of was
was in
turn defined
defined by
by means
means of
of the
the
of
0. The relation
in turn
relation immediate
immediate successor
successor of;
plainly these
these two
two are
are related
related in
in
relation
of; plainly
the
way as
as ancestor
ancestor (in
the male
male line)
line) of
of and
father of
of-the
the same way
and father
the
(in the
one relation
relation is,
is, as
as Russell
says, the
the ancestral
of the
the other
other in
each
Russell says,
ancestral of
in each
case. This
to the
case.
This brings
brings us to
the Frege-Russell
account (independently
(independently
Frege-Russell account
devised by
in essentially
devised
by each of
of them in
essentially the
the same form)
of what
what it
it is
is
form) of
relation to
for one relation
to be the
the ancestral
of another.
another. 21 For simplicity's
simplicity's
ancestral of
lf
1
The series
series of ancestors is
The
is not
not aa formal
formal series,
series, of
course; but
but the
the
of course;
series of
thus involved
involved is
one.
of relations
series
relations thus
is one.
11
The relevant
relevant passages
passages can
can be
be found
in Frege's
Frege's Foundations
Foundations of
of ArithArithfound in
in Russell
Russell and Whitehead's
Whitehead's Principia
Principia Mathematica,
Mathematica
metic, 79-80,
metic,
79-80, and in
Vol.
Part II,
E.
'
Vol. I,
Section E,
I, Part
II, Section
;

FORMAL CONCEPTS AND FORMAL SERIES


SERIES

127
127

sake,
merely explain
ancestor would
would be
be defined
defined in
shall merely
in
sake, II shall
explain how ancestor
terms
of parent;
pOFent; the
the generalization
this account
account can
can readily
readily be
be
of this
terms of
generalization of
supplied.
supplied.
of aa hereditary
hereditary property:
property: viz.
viz. aa
first define
define the
the notion
notion of
We first
property
which,
if
it
belongs
to
one
of
a
man's
parents,
belongs
also
if
it
a
of
one
man's
to
belongs
property which,
parents, belongs also
to him.
him. We then
then define
is an
Ancestor of
of b'
b' to
to mean:
mean:
define 'a
a is
an Ancestor
to
'a
a parent
parent of
of some
being, say
say x,
x, all
all of
whose hereditary
hereditary
a is
is a
some human being,
of whose
to b.'
b.'
properties belong
belong to
properties
Let
for the
the moment treat
treat this
this as
as an
an arbitrary
arbitrary verbal
verbal stipustipuLet us
us for
what the
the defined
defined term
term 'J..ncestor'
is to
to mean;
mean; we must
must now
lation
of what
Ancestor' is
lation of
enquire
it is
true that,
this definition,
definition, aa is
is an
an Ancestor
Ancestor
whether it
is true
on this
that, on
enquire whether
of
and only
if
a
is
in
the
ordinary
sense
an
ancestor
of
b; if
so,
if and
if
a
is
in
the
sense
an
of b if
ancestor
of
if so,
only
ordinary
b;
definition
of
ordinary
ancestorship
which
does
we have
have an
an adequate
definition
of
which
does
adequate
ordinary ancestorship
not introduce
the 'and
on' brought
brought into
into our
our ordinary
ordinary explanations
explanations
introduce the
'and so
not
so on'
of
the term
term (cf.
the last
last paragraph
paragraph but
but two).
two). And it
it is
is quite
quite easy
easy to
to
of the
(cf. the
show intuitively
intuitively that
that this
this equivalence
between 'Ancestor'
and 'an'an'Ancestor' and
equivalence between
cestor'
does hold.
hold.
cestor' does
A. Suppose
is an ancestor
ancestor of
b. Then either
either (1)
(1) aa is
is a
a parent
parent of
of
A.
a is
of b.
Suppose a
b,
or
(2)
a
is
a
parent
of
an
ancestor
of
b.
a
is
or
of
of
a parent
an ancestor
b.
(2)
b,
(1)
is aa parent
parent of
of b,
b, then
then b
b himself
himself fulfils
fulfils the
the conditions
conditions
If a
a is
(1) If
of
being aa human being,
being, x,
whose
parent
is
a
and
whose
hereis
a
and
hereof being
whose
whose
x,
parent
to b.
b. So
So aa is
is an
an Ancestor
Ancestor of
of b
b by
by our
our
ditary
properties all
all belong
belong to
ditary properties
definition.
definition.
a parent
parent of
of some human
human being
x, who is
is b's
b's ancestor,
ancestor,
(2)
If a
is a
a is
being x,
(2) If
of xx will
will all
all descend,
descend, through
through aa finite
finite
then
the hereditary
hereditary properties
properties of
then the
of generations,
b; so
so once
a will
will be
a parent
parent of
of
number of
once again
be a
to b;
again a
generations, to
some human being
being x whose
whose hereditary
hereditary properties
properties all
all belong
belong to
to b
bi.e.
will be
be an
Ancestor of
of b.
b.
i.e. will
an Ancestor
if
a
is
an
ancestor
of
b, aa is
is an Ancestor
Ancestor of
of b.
b.
Hence,
if
a
is
of b,
ancestor
Hence,
B.
a is
is an Ancestor
of b.
b. Then there
there is
human
is some human
B. Suppose
Ancestor of
Suppose a
being, x,
whose parent
parent is
a and
and whose
whose hereditary
hereditary properties
properties all
all
is a
x, whose
being,
the property
property of
of having
having aa as
as an
an ancestor
ancestor is
itself a
belong to
b. But
But the
is itself
to b.
belong
since any
any human being,
being, one
one of whose parents
parents
hereditary
property, since
hereditary property,
has
as an
an ancestor,
himself has
has a as
as an ancestor;
ancestor; hence,
hence, since
since this
this
has a
a as
ancestor, himself
hereditary
property belongs
to x,
x, and all
all hereditary
hereditary properties
properties of
of x
hereditary property
belongs to
this property
property belongs
belongs to
to bb-i.e.
has a as
as an ancestor.
ancestor.
belong to
to b,
b, this
i.e. b has
belong
if
a
is
an
Ancestor
of
b,
a
is
ancestor
of
b.
Hence,
an
of
b.
a
is
ancestor
if
is
a
Ancestor
of
an
b,
Hence,
6

128
128

AN INTRODUCTION TO WITTGENSTEIN'S
WITrGENSTEIN'S TRACTATUS

The
italicized assertion
assertion in
in proof
proof B may
may well
well make the
the reader
reader
The italicized
suspect
a vicious
we are
are attempting
a definition
definition of
of ancestorancestorif we
circle if
vicious circle;
attempting a
suspect a
we without
without circularity,
circularity, in
a proof
proof that
that the
the definition
definition is
is
ship,
how can
in a
can we
ship, how
adequate,
bring
in
properties
that
are
themselves
defined
in
terms
of
in
defined
terms
themselves
of
are
adequate, bring in properties that
ancestorship?
In an
an informal
argument to
to show that
that aa formal
formal
informal argument
ancestorship? In
our ordinary
idea
of
ancestorship,
this
might,
to be
be
definition
fits our
this
to
of
idea
definition fits
might,
ancestorship,
ordinary
sure, not
not seem
to matter
matter very
very much;
much; for
we are
are anyhow
supposed to
to
for we
seem to
anyhow supposed
sure,
know informally
informally what
what 'ancestor'
means, and
and it
it is
is 'ancestor',
'ancestor', not
not
'ancestor' means,
know
'Ancestor'
the formally
term, that
that is
is the
the word used
used in
in specispecidefined term,
'Ancestor' the
formally defined
of circucircufying the
property'. This
This threat
threat of
the questionable
'hereditary property*.
fying
questionable 'hereditary
only in
informal arguments;
arguments; in
Prinlarity
is, however,
however, not
in Prinin informal
not found
found only
larity is,
of
the
theorems
and
proofs
formally
and
cipia
Mathematica
some
and
the
theorems
Mathematica
some
of
proofs formally and
cipia
explicitly
assume
that
the
properties
that
are
hereditary
with
respect
that
with
are
that
assume
the
hereditary
respect
explicitly
properties
relation R include
include some
that are
themselves defined
in terms
terms of
of
to
defined in
some that
are themselves
to a
a relation
that
ancestral relation
relation which
which corresponds
to R as
as Ancestor
Ancestor corcorthat ancestral
corresponds to
to parent.
parent. 11 Wittgenstein's
Wittgenstein's accusation
of having
having run
run into
into aa
responds to
accusation of
responds
(4.1273) was
was aa peculiarly
peculiarly
vicious
circle about
about the
the ancestral
ancestral relation
relation (4.1273)
vicious circle
vicious blow
blow against
had elaborately
elaborately contrived
uie
vicious
contrived the
against Russell,
Russell, who had
of
Principia
in
order
to
avoid
circles
of
this
sort
(see
op.
cit.,
system
of
in
circles
of
this
sort
order
to
avoid
(see op. cit.,
system
Principia
Vol. I,
I, Introduction,
Ch. II).
Russell came
came to
to be
be seriously
worried
Vol.
Introduction, Ch.
II). Russell
seriously worried
in the
the second
second edition
edition of
of Principia
Principia he
he added
added as
as
by the
the accusation,
accusation, and
and in
by
an
chapter of
of proofs
proofs designed
designed to
to avoid
the vicious
vicious
an appendix
a new chapter
avoid the
appendix a
circle.
circle.
Wittgenstein himself
himself did
not need
need the
the analysis
analysis of
ancestral
did not
of ancestral
Wittgenstein
relations in
in order
to give
account of
of the
the number-concept;
number-concept; but
but
relations
order to
an account
give an
such
are logically
logically important
in
their
own
right,
and
supsuch relations
relations are
in
their
important
right, and supwith an application
his notion
notion of
of aa formal
formal series.
series. It
is
plied him with
for his
It is
plied
application for
clear
that the
the series
propositions
clear that
series of
of propositions
;

aRb;
aRx.xRb; (Ey)
(Ey) (Ex)
aRx.xRy.yRb;
aRb; (Ex)
(Ex) aRx.xRb;
(Ex) aRx.xRy.yRb;
and so
on
so
is a formal series
series in
is
in Wittgenstein's
as he
be says
says (4.1273).
(4.1273). He does
does
Wittgenstein's sense,
sense, as

1
. *op.
op: cit.,
Vol. I,
I, *90.163,
*90.163, *90.164,
proof of
of *90.31.
(To make
make
cit., Vol.
*90.31. (To
*90.164, and proof
this stnctly
the definition
definition of
of
this
would have
have to
to modify
modify slightly
slightly the
strictly correct,
correct, one would
'Ancestor'
'Ancestor' so as
as to
to count also
also as
as his
his own Ancestor
Ancestor anyone
anyone who either
either was
was
or
had aa parent.)
parent.)
or had

SERIES
FORMAL CONCEPTS AND FORMAL SERIES

129
129

not,
tell us
us what
what operation
must be
be applied
applied to
to each
each term
term to
to
not, however,
however, tell
operation must
and
we use
use 'x',
'y', etc. as variables, the operaand if
if we
'x', 'y', etc. as variables, the operation is
perspicuously displayed.
For here
here 'what
'what the
the signs
signs conceal,
conceal,
is not
not perspicuously
tion
displayed. For
the case,
though
the
style
of
variables
here
their use
use reveals';
reveals'; it
their
it is
is the
the
of
variables here
case, though
style
used
conceals it,
it, that
that we
we have
have to
to think
think of
of variables
variables as
themselves
used conceals
as themselves
forming an indefinitely
indefinitely long
long series,
a formal
formal series,
in which
which each
each
forming
series, a
series, in
capacities
variable is
derived from
from its
its predecessor;
predecessor; otherwise
otherwise our
is derived
variable
our capacities
of
would run
run out
soon as
had used
used all
all the
the letters
letters of
of
of expression
as soon
out as
as we had
expression would
the alphabet.
operation turns
turns the
the variable
variable "p"
"p" into
into the
the
'The same
the
same operation
alphabet. 'The
into "r",
and so
so on.
on. This
This can
can only
only be
be explained
explained by
by
variable "q",
variable
"q", "q"
"r", and
"q" into
these
variables' giving
giving general
general expression
to
certain
formal
relations'
these variables'
certain
to
formal
relations'
expression
(5.242).
idea of
of an
an unlimited
unlimited stock
-;tock of
of variables,
variables, given
given
(5.242). Wittgenstein's
Wittgenstein's idea
once
all by
by aa formal
formal rule,
rule, is
taken for
granted in
in modern
modern disdisonce for
for all
is taken
for granted
cussions
of logical
cussions of
logical syntax.
syntax.
The series
may be
be exhibited
more clearly
clearly as
as aa formal
series by
by
series may
exhibited more
formal series
x', x",
x"', .. .' instead
'x, y,
y, z,
z, .. .''as
as variables,
variables, and
and
using 'x,
instead of
of 'x,
'x, x',
x", x"
using
writing
terms of
the series
follows:
the terms
as follows:
of the
series as
writing the
yield the
next one;
the next
one;
yield

.'

(Ex') (Ex)
(Ex)
(Ex')

a=x.xRx'.x'=b
a=x.xRx'.x'=b

(Ex") (Ex')
a= x.xRx' .x'Rx" .x" = b
(Ex")
(Ex) a=x.xRx'.x'Rx".x"=b
(Ex') (Ex)

(Ex"')
a=x.xRx'.x'Rx".x"Rx'".x"'=b
(Ex ) (Ex)
(Ex'") (Ex")
(Ex") (Ex')
(Ex)a=x.xRx'.x'Rx".x''Rx"'.x"'=b
and so
on. 11
so on.
7

Indeed,
it would
would be
be quite
quite easy
easy to
to put
put into
into words
words aa formal
formal rule
rule
Indeed, it
the last
last line.
line. If
use *s
,
each successive
successive line
for
If we use
line from the
for deriving
deriving each
(Hebrew
Resh)
as
a
symbol
of
the
operation
successively
applied,
as
of
the
a
symbol
operation successively applied,
(Hebrew Resh)
this formal
formal series
series will
will be
be written
written in
in WittgenWittgenthe general
general term
term of
of this
the
stein's
as:
stein's style
as:
style

hP,
(Ex) a=x.xRx'.x'=b'.
a=x.xRx'.x'=b'. And to
to say
that b
where 'p'
is '(Ex')
where
say that
'p' is
'(Ex') (Ex)
1
t

Remember that
that *a=x'
'a=x' means
that aa is
is the
the same
same thing
thing as
as x;
x; and V=b',
'x'=b',
means that
is
thing as
as b.
b.
is the
the same thing

that x'
that
x'

130
130

AN INTRODUCTION
WITTGENSTEIN'S TRACTATUS
INTRODUCTION TO WITTGENSTEIN'S

is
aa successor
with respect
respect to
to the
the relation
relation R will
will be
be
a with
of a
is
successor of
to assert
of this
series of
of propositions
propositionsthis formal
formal series
sum of
the logical
assert the
to
logical sum
i.e.
to assert
that some
some proposition
proposition or
or other
other in
in the
the series
series is
is
i.e. to
assert that
1

true. 1
true.
Wittgenstein used
doctrine of
formal series
series to
to make aa further
further
of formal
his doctrine
used his
Wittgenstein
important
criticism
of
Russell
and
Whitehead:
that
they
kept
that
Whitehead:
and
of
Russell
criticism
they kept on
important
making
tacit
use
of
formal
series
whose
component
propositions
whose
series
tacit
use
of
formal
propositions
component
making
were,
on their
their own
theory, propositions
propositions of
of different
different 'logical
type'
own theory,
'logical type'
were, on
and
such could
could not
not form
a single
single series
series (5.252).
(5.252). One example
example of
of
form a
and as
as such
this fallacy
occurs in
in their
their use
use of
of the
the Axiom of
Reducibility. This
This
of Reducibility.
this
fallacy occurs
axiom may
be stated
For any
any property
property of
of individuals
individuals that
that
follows: For
stated as
as follows:
axiom
may be
*
is
specified
in
terms
of
quantification
over
properties
of
individuals,z
individuals
over
is specified in terms of quantification
properties of
there
property that
that applies
applies to
to the
the same individuals
individuals and is
is not
not
there is
another property
is another
3
specified in
in terms
of such
such quantification.
terms of
quantification?
specified
at *20.112
Russell requires,
requires, not
not this
this axiom,
axiom, but
but aa parallel
parallel
Now at
*20.112 Russell
by substituting
substituting 'properties
of individuals'
individuals' throughout
throughout for
for
axiom
axiom got
got by
'properties of
'indiFiduals';
yet he
he simply
refers back
back to
to the
the Axiom of
of Reducibility
Reducibility
'individuals'', yet
simply refers
for
(in fact
gives its
its number,
number, *12.1).
*12.1). Clearly
Clearly he
he
for individuals
he merely
individuals (in
fact he
merely gives
strictness need
need aa new Axiom for
for properties
properties of
of individuals,
individuals,
would in
would
in strictness
and another
for properties
properties of
of properties
properties of
of individuals,
individuals, and so
so on
onanother for
i.e. aa formal
formal series
series of
each
constructed
in
a
uniform
way
i.e.
in
uniform
each
constructed
a
of axioms,
axioms,
way
from its
its predecessor;
predecessor; and
and the
the only
only ]egitirnate
way
of
supplying
what
of
what
legitimate way
supplying
is
be to
to give
give the
the generating
operation of
this series.
series.
is required
of this
required would be
generating operation
Russell's Theory
Theory of
of Types
Types explicitly
rules out
out the
the possibility
possibility of
of
But Russell's
explicitly rules
11

In his
paper 'On
Derivability', Journal
Journal of
of Symbolic
Symbolic Logic
Logic,; Vol.
Vol.
In
his paper
'On Derivability',

11,

II,

No. 33 (September
Quine shews
shews that
that aa certain
certain notion,
notion, practically
practically
(September 1937),
1937), Quine
the
the same as
as that
that of
series of
of expressions,
u~ to
to define
define
of a
a formal
formal series
enables us
expressions, enables

ancestral relations
ancestral
relations without
without any
any such
property
such quantifications
as 'every
quantifications as
'every property
that
that .. .'.'or
or 'some
'some one
of the
the relations
relations .. .' at
at all.
all. This
This definition,
definition, which
which
one of
may be called
called a fulfilment
fulfilment of
intentions, accordingly
accordingly avoids
avoids
of Wittgenstein's
Wittgenstein's intentions,
of a
any risk
ri~k of
a vicious
vicious circle,
circle, such
as might
might arise
arise if
if some
some of
of the
the properties
properties or
or
such as
any
relations
relations covered
covered by
by the
the quantifications
had themselves
themselves to
to be
be
quantifications employed
employed had
specified
in terms
terms of
of the
the ancestral
relation.
ancestral relation.
specified in
all the
a e.g.
the property
property of
of having
the properties
properties of
a great
general; or
or
of a
e.g. the
having all
great general;
again,
the property
property of having
having all
the vices
vices of
of Charles
Charles II and
and none
none of
of his
his
all the
again, the
virtues.
virtues.
s
a The property
property of being
being a great
great general
general applies
applies to
to the
the same
same individuals
individuals
as the property
property of having
having all
ail the
properties o/a
of a great
great general;
general; but
but is
is not
not
the properties
itself specified,
itself
as that
that property
property is,
is, in
in terms
terms of
of quantification
quantification over
over properproperspecified, as
ties
ties of
of individuals.
individuals.
.

.'

SERIES
FORMAL CONCEPTS AND FORMAL SERIES

131
131

such
an operation,
operation, since
proposition in
in the
the series
since each
series
each successive
successive proposition
such an
would be
be of
of higher
higher 'type'
than its
its predecessor,
predecessor, and
and not
not groupable
groupable
would
'type' than
a single
single series.
series. 11 Unlike
Unlike the
the criticism
about ancestral
ancestral relations,
relations,
with it
it in
in a
criticism about
with
in preparing
preparing the
the second
second edition
edition
this
criticism
was
by Russell
Russell in
this criticism was ignored
ignored by
of
Principia
Mathematica.
of Principia Mathematica.

1
Wittgenstein's objection
objection that
that the
the Axiom of
of Reducibility
Reducibility would not
not be
be
Wittgenstein's
a logical
truth anyhow
( 6.1233) is
not here
here relevant.
relevant. For
is independent,
logical truth
anyhow (6.1233)
independent, and not
aa clear
modern account
account of
of this
problem, see
see Quine's
Quine's From a Logical
Logical Point
Point
clear modern
this problem,
of
VI, 6.
6.
of View,
View, Chapter
Chapter VI,

10
10

'THE GENERAL FORM OF PROPOSITION'


It
~. N(|)]
N(}] which Wittgenformula [\'5,
the formula
to explain
It is
is now possible
[, f
Wittgenexplain the
possible to
stein
of truth-functions*. Russell's
Russell's explanaform oftruth-functions'.
'the general
stein gives
as 'the
explanageneral form
gives as
tion
useless and should
be disregarded.
should be
is useless
in the
the Introduction
Introduction is
tion given
disregarded.
given in
Anyone
be able
its own sake
will be
sake will
for its
able to
to work
a taste
taste for
for exegesis
with a
exegesis for
Anyone with
out
probably
this explanation,
to give
Russell came to
out how Russell
explanation, which was probably
give this
prompted
his:
to a
a question
answer given
of his:
an answer
Wittgenstein to
question of
by Wittgenstein
given by
by an
prompted by
'What is
here'?'
here?'
is g
f
formula is
is a
a particular
particular example
example of
of the
the 'general
term of
a
of a
The formula
'general term
formal
series', with
with aa set
of propositions
propositions as
as the
the first
first term
term and joint
joint
set of
formal series',
negation
the generating
generating operation.
operation. We have
have seen
seen that
that the
the presence
presence
as the
negation as
of
a formula
formula is
is the
the mark of
of informal
informal exposition;
exposition; hence,
hence, once
once we
of gin
in a
can
use numbers,
numbers, this
this formula
formula can
can be given
given as
as
can use
,

B,

Nm N +
n

(p>]

fl is
whole collection
of elementary
propositions; the
the formula
formula
collection of
is the
the whole
elementary propositions;
p
therefore
presupposes that
that if
if the
the number of
of elementary
elementary propositions
propositions
therefore presupposes
were finite,
could say
what, say,
say, the
the hundred
hundred and third
third
were
say exactly
exactly what,
finite, we could
term of
series of
of truth-functions
(whose general
general term
term this
this
of the
truth-functions (whose
the series
is) would be.
be.
formula is)
Let us
us consider
consider the
the case
case of
of only
only two elementary
elementary propositions,
propositions, p
p
Let
q, and shew how the
the totality
totality of
ofthetruth-functionsofp
andq
can
and q,
the truth-functions of p and
can
q
generated by
by 'successive
'successive applications'
applications' of
of the
the operation
operation N().
N((}. The
be generated
1

The stroke
stroke over
over the
the variable
variable indicates
indicates that
that the
the variable
variable stands
stands for
for an
an
of propositions
propositions which
which are
are the
the values
values of
of the
the
arbitrarily stipulated
stipulated list
list of
arbitrarily
variable
variable (see
(see 5.501).
5.501). These
These are
are aa mere
mere list,
list, and
and hence
hence not
not aa single
single propoproposition
sition except
except in
in the
the degenerate
degenerate case
case where
where the
the list
list has
has only
only one
one item.
item. The
The
1

of the
the operation
operation N(jp
N(~) to
to the
the values
values of
of the
the variable,
variable, on
on the
the
application of
application
other
other hand,
hand, always
always results
results in
in aa single
single proposition.
proposition.

132
132

133
133

'THE GENERAL FORM OF PROPOSITION'


PROPOSITION'

general
term of
of the
the formal
of truth-functions
truth-functions having
having pp andqas
andqas
formal series
series of
general term
truth-arguments will
will be
be
truth-arguments
[p,q,
N'(p,q), N'+l(p,q)]
[P,q, N-foq), JP+Hp.q)]
We can
state the
the second,
third, fourth,
fourth, etc.
etc. up
up to
to the
the sevensevencan easily
easily state
second, third,
of this
this series;
series; it
it has
has only
seventeen
terms;
for
there
are
teenth
term of
teenth term
only seventeen terms; for there are
fourteen
truth-functions of
p and
and q,
q, plus
plus tautology
tautology and
and
distinct truth-functions
fourteen distinct
of p
contradiction.
term, *p,q*,
'p,q', is
is of
course not
not aa truth-function
truth-function
contradiction. The first
first term,
of course
and
not aa proposition;
proposition; it
it is
is just
just aa list
list of
the bases
bases of
the operation.
operation.
and not
of the
of the
The second
term, and
and first
truth-function, in
the series
is N(p,q)
N(p,q)
second term,
first truth-function,
in the
series is
(=neither
p nor
nor q);
q); and
truth-function is
is the
the result
result of
of
the second
and the
second truth-function
(= neither p
applying
result of
of the
the first
first application
application of
of it
it: it
it is
is
the operation
the result
to the
operation to
applying the
therefore
N(N(p,q)),
i.e.
p
v
q.
v
therefore N(N(p,q)), i.e. p
q.
If
applied the
the operation
operation once
once more
more to
to this
this result,
result, we should
If we applied
should
~
only
get
back
to
the
first
truth-function,
since
-p=p.
So we
back
the
to
first
since
only get
truth-function,
^P^p. So
the
operation
to
the
two
results
obtained
so
far,
and
obtain
apply
the
the
to
two
results
obtained
and
so
obtain
operation
far,
apply
N(N(p,q), N(N(p,q))),
N(N(p,q))), which,
which, being
being the
the joint
joint denial
of aa pair
pair of
of
denial of
N(N(p,q),
contradictories,
The next
next result
result will
will be
be obtained
obtained by
by
is contradiction.
contradiction. The
contradictories, is
applying
the operation
to this
this last-obtained
result, i.e.
i.e. negating
negating it,
it,
last-obtained result,
operation to
applying the
and
is
tautology.
and is tautology.
If
the operation
operation to
to the
the last
last two
two results
results as
as values
values of
of
If we now apply
apply the
~.
the
result
is
once
again
contradiction,
which
have
already
got,
we
result
once
which
the
is
have
already got,
f
again contradiction,
so
discard it.
if we apply
apply the
the operation
operation to
to the
the third
third result,
result,
it. And if
so we discard
contradiction,
together with
with the
the first,
first, we get
get tautology
tautology conjoined
conjoined
contradiction, together
the first
result, which
which is
is the
the same
same as
as the
the second
with the
the negation
of the
first result,
second
with
negation of
result;
the operation
to the
the third
third result,
result, contracontraif we apply
result; similarly
similarly if
operation to
apply the
diction,
together with
with the
the second,
get tautology
tautology conjoined
with
second, we get
conjoined with
diction, together
the
of
the
second,
which
is
the
same
as
the
first
result.
result.
which
as
the
the
is
the
first
of
the negation
second,
negation
Similarly
it is
fruitless to
to apply
the operation
operation to
to the
the fourth
fourth result,
result,
is fruitless
apply the
Similarly it
tautology, in
any combination,
this will
will always
always yield
yield conconin any
since this
combination, since
tautology,
tradiction.
proceed to
to make the
the first
first four
results,
if we now proceed
four results,
tradiction. And if
first
threes as
as are
possible, and
and then
then all
all at
the subject
at once,
such threes
in such
are possible,
first in
once, the
subject
of
operation, we shall
result.
shall reach
reach no new result.
the operation,
of the
For our
our next
next truth-function
truth-function we therefore
therefore bring
bring down the
the first
first of
the
bases, combining
it
with
the
result
of
the
first
application,
with
the
first
the bases,
it
the
result
of
application, and
combining
write
N((N(p,q)),p), i.e.
i.e.-{
-p.
-q).
-p,
i.e.
p
q.
-p,
i.e. q.
q. The next
next
v
i.e.
write N((N(p,q)),p),
"~(~p. ~q). ~p,
p q. ~p, i.e.
and
application,
N(N((N(p,q)),p),
negates
the
previous
one
yields
the
yields
negates
previous
application, N(N((N(p,q)),p),
:

134
134

WIITGENSTEIN'S TRACTATUS
TRAcrATIJS
AN INTRODUCilON
INTRODUCTION TO WITTGENSTEIN'S

--q;
no more
more can
can be
be done
done by
by aa reapplication
reapplication of
of the
the operation
operation to
to the
the
~q; no
q again.
again. We therefore
therefore try
try
which will
will only
us q
which
only give
give us
bringing
our base,
base, p,
into combination
combination with
with the
the result
result of
the second
second
of the
p, into
bringing our
of N(f).
N(l:>. This
This was
was N(N(p,q)),
N(N(p,q)), and
and we write
write
application of
application
result so
obtained,
result
so obtained,

N(
(N(N(p,q))),p)
N((N(N(p,q))),p)

us-(p
v q).
q).-p,
i.e. ^.
-p. ~q.
-q.........
p. But
But that
that is
is the
the same
same as
as
which gives
gives us
which
~p.
~p, i.e.
~(p v
--p.--q,
which
we
have
already
had;
so
it
adds
nothing,
and
neither
and
it
adds
so
neither
we
have
which
nothing,
had;
already
~P*~3

will its
negation.
its negation.
will

At the
next step
we take
take as
as values
values of
of g the
the result
result of
of the
the third
third
At
the next
step we
our first
first base,
base, p;
p; now
application,
which was
and our
was contradiction,
contradiction, and
application, which
which is
N(contradiction, p)
p) is
the same
same as
as -p.
is the
is (tautology.-p),
(tautology. ~p), which
~p.
N(contradiction,
The
the
next
application
will
of
course
be
the
negation
of
be
the
will
course
of
next
The result
result of
the
of
negation of
application
this,
i.e.
p.
i.e.
this,
p.
We next
next take
take as
values of
of gthe
the result
result of
of the
the fourth
fourth application,
application,
as values
tautology,
p; but
but this
gives us
us (contradiction.
(contradiction.-p),
which is
is still
still
this gives
and p;
~p), which
tautology, and
contradiction,
and the
the negation
will be
be tautology.
tautology.
of it
it will
negation of
contradiction, and
as far
can with
with our
our first
first base
base and
and
When we have
have gone
gone as
far as
as we can
previous results,
results, we bring
bring down our
our second
second base,
base, q,
q, and combine
combine it
it
previous
with
the
result
of
the
first
application;
this
will
yield
p,
and
an
this
will
first
and
result
the
with the
of
an
yield p,
application;
application of
N(f) to
to this
this its
its negation,
negation, ~p;
-p; having
having reached
reached these
these
of N()
application
discard them.
them.
already,
already, we discard
We go
on in
this way
way until
until no
no new application
application of
the operation
operation to
to
of the
in this
go on
results
hitherto reached,
reached, together
together with
with our
our second
base, yields
yields any
any
second base,
results hitherto
proposition
not already
already obtained.
go on
on taking
taking as
values of
of gany
any
obtained. We go
as values
proposition not
results
hitherto taken
taken together
together-of
course we are
not confined
confined
results not
of course
are not
not hitherto
to
two values
values for
for gat
a time,
time, but
but use
use all
all possible
possible numbers
numbers
to only
one or
at a
or two
only one
It
is
clear
that
can
have
here
a
series
with aa
in
order.
in a
a systematic
clear
It
is
that
we
can
have
a
order.
here
series
with
systematic
if we suppose
suppose that
that we are
given the
the original
original bases
bases in
in aa
definite
order, if
definite order,
are given
definite
order. This
of course
course is
is the
the precise
precise reason
reason why
why Wittgenstein
Wittgenstein
definite order.
This of
says
that '"p",
and "r"
must be
be variables
variables which
which give
give
5.242 that
at 5.242
"r" must
says at
"p", "q"
"q*' and
in symbolism
general
formal relations*.
relations'. The
The use
use in
certain formal
to certain
general expression
expression to
symbolism
of
the variable
of the
prepositional signs
signs p,
p, q,
q, rr must
must bring
bring these
these formal
formal
variable prepositional
relations
would be
brought out
out most clearly
if we
relations out;
be brought
out; and they
they would
clearly if
wrote
p', p",
p", p'",
p'", eta
etc.
wrote p',
That Wittgenstein's
Wittgenstein's account
account makes
makes sense
sense for
for any
any finite
finite set
set of
of
bases is
bases
is clear
enough. What was
was needed
needed was
was that
that the
the description
description 'the
'the
clear enough.
*

135
135

'TIIE
*THE GENERAL FORM OF PROPOSITION'
PROPOSTITON'

result
of the
the n
n1thh application
of the
result of
the operation
to these
these bases'
bases*
application of
operation N(~
N() to
should
an absolutely
be an
should be
of a
determination of
a proposition
for
absolutely precise
precise determination
proposition for
any
there
n up
the total
to the
total number
number of
of truth-functions
truth-functions that
that there
any number n
up to
are
set of
this set
It is
are for
for this
of bases.
bases. It
is clear
it is
is such
a precise
clear that
that it
such a
determinaprecise determination
of
a
proposition.
of
a
tion
proposition.
Here
Here we come to
to the
the defect
the Tractatus
defect in
in the
Tractatus which
which Wittgenstein
Wittgenstein
to
distinguish
between
the 'dots
described,
later,
as
a
failure
a
failure
as
to
between
the
of lazilazi'dots of
described, later,
distinguish
ness',
the alphabet
by
writing
just
'A,B,C,
..
.',
as when we represent
ness', as
represent the
alphabet by writing just A,B,C,
.*,
and
to represent
in
and the
the indispensable
dots used
used to
an infinite
infinite series,
as in
indispensable dots
represent an
series, as
'1,2,3,4,
to make this
It is
is easy
to see
see how he
he came not
not to
this disdis1,2,3,4, .. .'. It
easy to
tinction, if
the following
if we consider
consider the
tinction,
following diagram:
diagram:
C

.'.

pqrstv
TTTTTTTTTTTT
FTTTTTTTTTTT
XFXXXXXXXXXX
FFXXXXXXX.
XXFXXX
p

T T T
F T T
T F T
F F T
T T F
F T F
T F F
F F F
T T T
F T T

T
T
T
T
T
T
T
T
F
F

T
T
T
T
T
T
T
T
T
T

T T
T T
T T
T T
T
T
T
T
T
T

T
T
T
T

FXFXXX
XFFXXX
FFFXXX
XXXFXX
FXXFXX

T T
T T
T T
T

T T
T T
T T
.

F
F
F
F
F
F
F
F
F
F

.F

CF~s) (4~.) CPs)

CA) cJ~) CJ?;)

XXFFFFFF
FXFFFFFF
XFFFFFFF
FFFFFFFF
T
F
T
F

T
T
F
F

F
F
F

F
F

F
F
F
F

F
F

F
F
F
F

F
F
F

F
F
F
F
T
X

(In the
the left-hand
left-hand column,
column, the
the X's
T's and F's
F's alternate;
alternate; in
in the
the second
(In
in pairs,
pairs, in
in the
the third
third in
in fours;
fours; and so
so on.)
on.)
column they
they alternate
alternate hi
column

136
136

AN INTRODUCTION
n.IRODUCTION TO WITTGENSTEIN'S
WITIGENSTEIN'S TRACTATUS
TRACfATUS

This table
table represents
represents aa quite
definite truth-function
truth-function of
of a
a set
set of
of
This
quite definite
propositions
unspecified number;
number; this
this truth-function
truth-function has
has the
the
of unspecified
propositions of
false for
for all
truth-values except
except the
the final
final
truth-value
of truth-values
combinations of
all combinations
truth-value false
one;
it
does
not
matter
how
many
propositions
there
are,
because
there
because
are,
many propositions
one; it does not matter
of arguments
is all
all Fs
F's anyway.
anyway. This
This truth-table
truth-table
the bottom
bottom line
line of
the
arguments is
of
bases,
our
operation
N(g)-joint
defines,
for
an
arbitrary
number
our
number
of
an
for
bases,
operation N(|) -joint
defines,
arbitrary
negation
of all
the propositions
propositions in
in the
the set;
set; and
and the
the liberal
liberal use
use of
of dots
dots
all the
negation of
in
it may
well seem
seem not
not to
to matter
matter-the
rule for
constructing the
the
for constructing
the rule
in it
may well
therefore, the
the repeated
repeated application
application of
of this
this operation
operation
table
is plain.
plain. If,
table is
If, therefore,
to the
the given
bases will
will in
any finite
finite case
case generate
generate all
all their
their truthtruthin any
to
given bases
if it
it is
is possible
possible to
to specify
specify aa set
of propositions
propositions otherotherfunctions,
and if
set of
functions, and
wise than
by enumeration,
then it
it is
is very
very natural
natural to
to say:
say: what
what does
does
wise
than by
enumeration, then
i.t
matter that
the number
number in
in the
the set
is not
not known,
known, what
what does
does it
it
set is
it matter
that the
matter even
even if
is infinite?
L'lfinite?
matter
if it
it is
operating thus
thus upon
upon
There would
would indeed
indeed be
be aa serious
serious objection
if operating
There
objection if
propositions did
did not
not generate
a simple
simple infinite
series (a
(a
the
set of
infinite series
the set
of propositions
generate a
of odd
odd numbers
numbers in
progression)
but one
was e.g.
like the
the set
set of
that was
in
one that
e.g. like
progression) but
natural order
by the
the set
set of
numbers in
natural order.
order.
even numbers
of even
in natural
followed by
natural
order followed
That
can of
of course
be rearranged
rearranged as
as the
the progression
progression 1I ,2,3,4,
,2,3,4, ... ;
course be
That series
series can
but it
it might
be that
that without
without ceasing
to be
be aa formal
formal series
series our
our series
series
but
ceasing to
might be
th term
could
so be
be rearranged.
rearranged. In
In that
that case
case the
the expression
expression 'the
'the n
nth
not so
could not
term
of
the series'
would never,
never, for
n, get
get you
you into
the part
part of
of
of the
series' would
finite n,
for any
into the
any finite
the series
that began
began after
after you
you had
had started
started on aa second
second infinite
infinite
the
series that
series of
of truth-functions
truth-functions by
by
series.
if in
in the
the generation
of a
a series
series. Hence,
Hence, if
generation of
repeatedly
performing the
operation N(|)
N(fl upon
upon the
the set
elementary
the operation
set of
of elementary
repeatedly performing
to be
be aa
propositions (in
the way
have described)
described) there
there would
would have
have to
(in the
propositions
way II have
generations which
which you
you could
could only
only begin
begin after
after you
you had
had gone
gone
series
of generations
series of
of bringing
bringing down each
of the
the set
set
through
the process
process of
each new member of
through the
in turn,
the infinite
then Wittgenstein's
Wittgenstein's idea
idea
in
right to
to the
the end of
of the
infinite set;
turn, right
set; then
would be
be worthless.
worthless.
would
this difficulty
fact never
But this
difficulty can
can in
in fact
never arise.
arise. You can
perform the
the
can perform
th
new operations
operations on the
the terms
terms up
up to
to the
the n
nth
term, which
which are
are made
made
term,
st
of the
the n-fl
n +I st
term, as
as soon
soon as
you have
have
possible by
by the
the introduction
introduction of
as you
possible
term,
st
the n-flpt
term;
there
is
never
an
infinity
that
you
introduced then+
and
is
there
never
an infinity that you
term;
have to
finish before
to finish
before you
you can get
get on,
on, because
because you
you quickly
generate
quickly generate
either are
propositions
that either
are tautologies
tautologies or
or contradictions,
contradictions, or
or are
are
propositions that
identical
and you
you do
do
identical with propositions
propositions you
have already
already generated,
generated, and
you have
. . .

'THE GENERAL FORM OF PROPOSITION'


PROPOSillON'

137
137

not have
proceed further
with those.
those. You clear
clear up
up as
as you
you go
go
to proceed
not
have to
further with
along.
along.
On the
the other
other hand,
hand, the
the claim
claim that
that is
is being
being made,
made, in
in offering
offering this
this
as
the general
general term
term of
the series
of truth-functions
truth-functions of
of an
infinite set
set
of the
as the
series of
an infinite
of
propositions, is
is apparently
apparently in
in conflict
conflict with
with the
the wellwellof elementary
elementary propositions,
that the
the truth-functions
of an
an infinite
infinite set
set of
of elemenelementheorem that
known theorem
truth-functions of
tary propositions
propositions form
a non-denumerable
non-denumerable set.
set. This
is so,
so, because
because
form a
This is
tary
the number of
different assignments
truth-values to
ton
propositions
the
of different
n propositions
of truth-values
assignments of
n The number of different assignments of truth-values to N
2n.
is
The number of different assignments of truth-values to X 0
is 2
propositions (i.e.
to aa denumerably
infinite set
set of
propositions) is
is
of propositions)
(i.e. to
denumerably infinite
propositions
.

SI
therefore
2N.
But this
this has
been proved
proved by
by Cantor
Cantor to
to be
be greater
greater
But
therefore 2"
has been
than N
that is
is to
to say,
you
could
not
find
a
one-one
correlation
than
find
a
correlation
could
not
one-one
S 0 ; that
say, you
.

Sg
and aa set
set whose
whose number
number was
was
set
whose number was
was 22N
set whose
and
N
the
truth-functions
of
N
propositions
must
be
at
least
as

the
And
truth-functions
be
at
of
S
must
least
as
X0
0 propositions
many
as
the
possible
ways
of
assigning
truth-values
to
them.
Thereas
the
of
to
them.
Theretruth-values
possible ways
many
assigning
fore an
account which
which correlates
correlates the
the series
of truth-functions
truth-functions of
of an
an
an account
fore
series of
infinite
of elementary
elementary propositions
propositions with
with the
the series
series of
of natural
natural
infinite set
set of
numbers, as
as Wittgenstein's
Wittgenstein's does,
does, must
must be
be wrong.
wrong.
numbers,
It seems
likely enough,
indeed,
that
Wittgenstein objected
objected to
to
It
seems likely
that
indeed,
enough,
Wittgenstein
Cantor's
result even
even at
date, and would
would not
not have
have accepted
accepted aa
at this
Cantor's result
this date,
Cantorian
an infinite
infinite subset
subset of
the elementary
elementary
for specifying
device for
Cantorian device
of the
specifying an
that aa truth-function
truth-function of
of it
it could
could not
not be
be generated
generated
propositions such
such that
propositions
by
formula. For
For though
though he
he came
to think
think his
his idea
idea wrong,
wrong. it
it was
was
his formula.
came to
by his
certainly
not through
through any
any conversion
conversion to
to Cantor
Cantor that
that this
this happened.
happened.
certainly not
On the
contrary: whether
whether or
he already
objected to
to Cantor
Cantor at
at the
the
the contrary:
or no he
already objected
time when he
he wrote
wrote the
the Tractatus,
he certainly
certainly did
did so
later.
time
so later.
Tractatus, he
However,
the theory
theory of
the Tractatus,
promising though
though it
it
of the
Tractatus, promising
However, the
looked
at the
the time,
time, has
has been
been clearly
cogently refuted
refuted in
in another
another
looked at
clearly and cogently
way. If
If all
truths of
are tautological
tautological truth-functions
truth-functions of
of eleeleof logic
all truths
logic are
way.
mentary
propositions,
then
there
is
in
principle
a
decision
procedure
decision
procedure
mentary propositions, then there is in principle
for
all. But
proved by
by Church in
in the
the 1930's
that multiple
multiple
1930's that
But it
it was proved
for them
them all.
that
that
there
quantification
theory
has
no
decision
procedure;
that
is,
that
there
decision procedure;
is,
quantification theory has
a
method
by
which
one
could
settle,
concerning
any
cannot
be
one
could
cannot be a
settle, concerning any
by which
or
theorem
whether
it
was
well-formed
formula
of
that
theory,
whether
it
a
well-formed formula of that theory,
not.
not.

between aa
between
.

11
11
GENERALITY

Frege
s invention
invention of
of the
the quantifier-notation
be reckoned
reckoned among
among
Frege's
quantifier-notation must be
the
greatest benefits
benefits conferred
conferred on philosophy
philosophy by
by logic.
fallacies
the greatest
logic. The fallacies
which
excluded by
by the
the insight
insight it
gives have
have been
been committed over
over
it gives
which are
are excluded
and over
by
the
greatest
philosophers.
one
should
be
should
No
one
now
be
the
over again
again by
greatest philosophers.
able to
get away
away with
with transitions
transitions like
that from 'Every
boy loves
loves
like that
to get
able
'Every boy
some girl'
girl' to
to 'Some girl
girl is
is loved
loved by
by every
boy'. In
this down-to-earth
down-to-earth
In this
every boy*.
example,
the
fallacy
sounds
silly
and
impossible
to
commit; in
in
to
the
sounds
commit;
impossible
fallacy
silly
example,
abstract contexts,
it and
and similar
fallacies (involving
(involving the
the notions,
notions, not
not
similar fallacies
abstract
contexts, it
just of
'all', but
but of
of one
one of
of these
these combined with
with 'necessary*,
'necessary',
'some* and 'all*,
of 'some'
just
or
have
proved
very
difficult
to
avoid.
to
avoid.
have
difficult
or 'possible')
proved very
'possible')
A recent
recent example
of this
this sort
sort of
of fallacy
fallacy is
is afforded
afforded by
by Professor
Professor
example of
Ayer; 1 he
he argues
argues from the
the fact
that it
it is
is not
not possible,
possible, and a fortiori
fortiori
fact that
Ayer;
not necessary,
that every
identification or
or recognition
recognition (of
(of aa person,
person,
not
every identification
necessary, that
shape,
quality, etc.)
etc.) should
fact be
be checked,
checked, to
to the
the innocuousness
innocuousness
should in
in fact
shape, quality,
of
notion of
of an uncheckable
uncheckable identification.
identification. An argument
argument running
running
of the
the notion
'It
is not
necessary that
that every
every identification
identification is
is checkable;
checkable; ergo^
ergo, it
it is
is
'It is
not necessary
possible that
that some identification
identification is
is uncheckable'
uncheckable' has
has all
the appearappearall the
possible
ance of
of formal
formal validity
validity-'Not
necessarily (every
(every S is
is P);
P); ergo>
ergo,
*Not necessarily
possibly (some
(some S is
is not
But in
in fact
fact it
it is
is an illicit
illicit transition
transition from:
from:
not P)'.
P)*. But
possibly
(1)
possible that
it is
is not
not possible
possible that
that every
every identification
identification
It is
is possible
that it
(1) It
should be checked
checked
should
to
to
1

1 The
TTie problem
problem of
of knowledge,
knowledge, pp.
pp. 60-l.
passage concerns
concerns WittgenWittgen60-1. The passage
stein's objection
stein's
(in Philosophical
Philosophical Investigations)
Investigations) to
to 'private'
'private' ostensive
ostensive
objection (in
definition.
Professor Ayer
Ayer seems
to accept
a kind
kind of
of checkability
checkability as
as
definition. Professor
seems to
accept a
necessary to
the notion
notion of
an identification;
identification; but
but in
in reply
reply to
to the
the objection
objection
to the
of an
necessary
that 'private'
not checks,
checks, he
he retorts
retorts that
that in
any case
case checks
checks
that
checks are
are not
in any
'private* checks
to come to
to an
always
have to
an end
end somewhere.
somewhere.
always have
138
138
1

GENERALITY

139
139

(2)
possible that
that there
there should
be some
some identification
identification that
that it
it
is possible
It is
should be
(2) It
is
not possible
possible to
to check.
check.
is not
It
of the
the uses
uses of
to make
make this
this clear.
clear. Let
Let
the quantifier-notation
of the
It is
one of
is one
quantifier-notation to
'M'
represent
'possibly';
(1)
and
(2)
then
come
out
as:
and
'M' represent 'possibly'; (1)
(2) then come out as:
(1)
M-M(x) (xis
identification :>X
is checked)
checked)
an identification
DX is
(x is an
(1) M~M(x)
(2)
M(Ex)
(xis
an
identification.-M
(xis
checked))
is
an
~M
identification.
is
(x
(2) M(Ex) (x
checked))
or
M
-(x)
(x
is
an
identification
::>M
(x is
is checked))
checked))
is
an
identification
or (equivalently):
DM (x
(x
M~(x)
(equivalently):
for 'Everything
'Everything is
is <*
cp' and
and
The quantifier-signs
quantifier-signs now in
in use,
use, '(x)cpx'
The
*(x)<x' for
1
1 for 'Something is cp', were given us by Russell and White'(Ex)cpx'
'Something is <f>\ were given us by Russell and White'(Ex)^x' for
head; but
but the
the former
former is
is aa variation
variation of
of Frege's
Frege's generality
generality notation,
notation,
head;
and
latter can
be defined
defined in
in terms
terms of
of it,
it, so
so the
the real
real inventor
inventor was
was
can be
the latter
and the
Frege.
Frege.
Often
a logical
logical symbolism
puts some
some new sign
sign in
Often enough
in
symbolism simply
enough a
simply puts
place
of
a
word
or
phrase;
this
may
be
helpful.
But
what
the
quantithis
or
be
But
what
the
a
word
of
may
helpful.
phrase;
place
quantiAt first
first sight
sight 'Everyone
'Everyone is
is clever*
clever'
fier-notation
quite different.
different. At
is quite
does is
fier-notation does
looks
be just
just such
such aa sentence
as 'Socrates
'Socrates is
is clever*.
clever'. It
becomes
sentence as
It becomes
to be
looks to
that it
is not,
not, as
as soon
consider negation:
negation: if
if 'Socrates
is
clear
as we consider
it is
soon as
clear that
'Socrates is
clever'
untrue, then
then 'Socrates
is not
not clever*
clever' is
is true;
true; but,
but, as
as Aristotle
Aristotle
'Socrates is
clever' is
is untrue,
remarked,
the same
same does
not hold
hold for
for 'Everyone
'Everyone is
is clever'.
Frege's
clever'. Frege's
does not
remarked, the
of a
a
genius
consisted
in
inventing
a
notation
in
which
a
formula
in
which
a
in
a
notation
formula
of
consisted
inventing
genius
different
is
employed
for
universal
propositions;
not
just
for
universal
and
not
is
different layout
layout
employed
propositions;
just
of aa different
different layout,
layout, but
but of
of the
the right
right layout.
layout.
of
This
surely partly
partly what
what prompted
prompted Wittgenstein
Wittgenstein to
to say
say at
at
was surely
This was
3.323:
language it
it is
is enormously
enormously common for
for ...
two
... two
'In ordinary
3.323: 'In
ordinary language
words, which
in different
different ways,
ways, to
to be
be applied
applied in
the sentence
sentence
in the
which signify
words,
signify in
in ways
ways that
that are
are outwardly
outwardly the
the same
In this
this way
way there
there easily
easily
... In
same.....
in
arise
most fundamental
(with which the
the whole
whole of
of
confusions (with
fundamental confusions
the most
arise the
philosophy
is
filled).
is
filled).
philosophy
'In
order to
to avoid
avoid these
these errors,
use aa symbolism
symbolism which
'In order
errors, we must use
excludes
them-A
then, that
that follows
follows logical
logical grammar
grammarA symbolism,
excludes them
symbolism, then,
logical
syntax'. And again,
will have
have been
been this
this that
that inspired
inspired the
the
it will
again, it
logical syntax'.
'feeling'
he speaks
of at
the 'feeling
'feeling that
that we are
are in
posin posat 4.1213,
that he
4.1213, the
'feeling' that
speaks of
all is
is right
of the
the right
right logical
logical conception
if only
only all
right in
in our
session of
session
conception if
symbolism'.
symbolism'.
Wittgenstein dilates
dilates on the
the excellence
excellence of
of the
the symbolism
At 4.0411
4.041 1 Wittgenstein
symbolism
1 Russell and Whitehead actually use an
inverted *E*;
'E'; II am following
following
Russell and Whitehead actually use an inverted
Ackermann.
Hilbert
Hilbert and Ackermann.

140
140

AN INTRODUCTION TO

wriTGENSTEIN'S TRACTATUS
WITTGENSTEIN'S

'{x)fx'. He brings
brings this
this out
out by
by considering
considering alternative
alternative ways
ways of
of exexwe use
use this
this symbolism
symbolism to
to express.
express. We might
might try
try
what we
what
puttL."1g 'Gen.fx';
'Gen.fx'; but
but 'this
'this would
would not
not tell
tell us
us what
what was generalized'.
generalized'.
putting
That is,
is, it
it would
would be
be ambiguous
ambiguous as
as between
between what
what we should
should now
That
If we
we try
try to
to make good
good this
this defect
defect by
by
v.'rite as
as *(x)fx'
'(x)fx' and
and '(f)fx*.
'(f)fx'. If
write
writing
the
sign
for
generality
as
a
subscript
to
the
x,
thus:
'f(x
)',
it
the
thus:
to
the
for
as
a
*f(x
x,
subscript
generality
writing
sign
g8)*, it
still would
would not
not do:
do: 'we
'we should
should not
not know the
the scope
scope of
of the
the generalitygeneralitystill
sign': That
That is,
is, *<xg
'tPXg vv */rXg'
!fXg' would
would be
be ambiguous
ambiguous as
as between
between '(x)<x
'(x)rf>x
sign*:
v (x)ix'
(x)l{ix' and
and '(x>x
'(x)</>x vv ^x*.
!fx'. Finally,
Finally, if
if we thought
thought of
of writing
writing the
the
v
generality sign
sign itself
itself in
in the
the argument-place:
argument-place: (G,G)f(G,G)
(G,G)f(G,G) 'we
'we should
should
generality
not be
be able
able to
to determine
determine the
the identity
identity of
of the
the variables'.
variables'. That is
is to
to say,
say,
not
the expression
expression
the
'(x)fx*.

pressing
pressing

(G,G)</>(G,G)

ifrl..G,G)

would be
be ambiguous
ambiguous as
as between
between what
what we should
should now write
write as
as
would
(x,y)</>(x,y) v ,p(x,y)
and
and
(x,y)4>(x,y) v if;(y,x).
In particular,
particular,
In

could not
not distinguish
distinguish between
between these
these cases
cases:
we could
:

(x,y)</>(x,y) v --if>(x,y)
which
holds for
and
which holds
for any
relation ,P, and
any relation
<f>,

(x,y)rp(x,y) v --if>(y,x)
which means that
that the
the relation
is symmetrical.
relation rf> is
symmetrical.
difficulties could
These difficulties
be got
could of
of course
course be
over by
got over
by supplementary
supplementary
conventions,
tacit
to the
the 'enormously
conventions, corresponding
corresponding to
'enormously complicated
complicated tacit
conventions' which Wittgenstein
conventions'
at 4.002
mentions at
4.002 as
as needed
needed for
for
Wittgenstein mentions
the understanding
English
of ordinary
of the
the English
understanding of
ordinary language.
language. Think of
'If you
sentence 'If
you can eat
eat any
eat any
which sounds
sounds
any fish,
fish, you
you can eat
any fish',
fish*, which
like a tautology,
judgment. Any
Any
like
but is,
the contrary,
false judgment.
tautology, but
is, on the
contrary, a false
<

GENERAUIY
GENERALITY

141
141

native English-speaker
understand that
that sentence:
sentence: few
few could
could
will understand
native
English-speaker will
explain
it works.
works. And again
e.g. 'You
'You can
can fool
fool some
some of
of the
the
again e.g.
explain how it
people
all
of
the
time'
is
ambiguous;
the
ambiguity
is
resolved,
in
people all of the time' is ambiguous; the ambiguity is resolved, in
some
complicated
way,
by
the
context.
It
is
clear
that
the
Fregean
the
context.
It
is
that
the
clear
some complicated way, by
Fregean
than any
any that
that has
has to
to be
be
quantifier-notation
far more perspicuous
perspicuous than
is far
quantifier-notation is
backed up
up with
with complicated
conventions.
conventions.
backed
complicated
Turning now to
to Wittgenstein's
Wittgenstein's special
special treatment
treatment of
of generality,
generality,
Turning
to place
place the
the opening
opening entry,
entry, 5.52,
5.52, in
in juxtajuxtawe shall
find it
it helpful
helpful to
shall find
we
position
immediately preceding
preceding entry
entry of
of the
the same
same
with 5.51,
the immediately
5.51, the
position with
book:
numerical level
level in
the book:
in the
numerical
5.51:
has only
value, then
then N(|)=
N(~= '-^p
"1' (not
(not p);
p); if
it has
has
'If g has
one value,
5.51 'If
if it
only one
two values,
values, then
then N(|)=
N(~= ""P""q
(neither
p
nor
q).'
two
nor
~p.~-q (neither p
q).'
5.52:
the values
values of
of g are
are all
the values
values of
of aa given
given function
function fx
fx
'If the
all the
5.52: 'If
for all
values of
x, then
then N(f)
N(b will
will be
be the
the same
same as
as .-..(Ex)fx.'
of x,
all values
for
~(Ex)fx.'
Russell's account
in the
the Introduction,
then, is
is quite
correct:
Russell's
account in
Introduction, then,
quite correct:
dealing with
with general
general propositions
propositions [i.e.
[i.e.
'Wittgenstein's
method of
of dealing
'Wittgenstein's method
and "(Ex)fx"]
differs from
from previous
previous methods
methods by
by the
the fact
fact that
that
"(x)fx"
"(x)fx" and
"(Ex)fx"] differs
the generality
generality comes
in specifying
the set
set of
propositions conconthe
comes only
of propositions
only in
specifying the
cerned,
and
this
has
been
done
the
building
up
of
truthhas
been
the
of
truththis
and
when
cerned,
building up
functions
proceeds exactly
exactly as
as it
it would
would in
in the
the case
case of
a finite
finite number
functions proceeds
of a
of enumerated
p, q,
q, r,
r, .. .' Wittgenstein
Wittgenstein emphasizes
the
enumerated arguments
of
emphasizes the
arguments p,
difference
by saying:
saying: '/
the concept
concept all
the truthtruthdifference by
'/ separate
all from the
separate the
function'
and goes
to accuse
accuse Frege
Frege and
and Russell
Russell of
of not
not having
having
function' and
goes on to
done this:
this: Trege
'Frege and Russell
introduced generality
generality in
in connection
connection
Russell introduced
or the
the logical
logical sum [P
q
with
the logical
with the
] or
logical product
[p v q
product [p.q.r.--]
[p.q.r.
v rr vv--].
This
it
difficult
to
understand
the
propositions
v
it
difficult
the
This
made
understand
to
].
propositions
which cover
cover both
both ideas.'
ideas.
"(Ex)fx"
"(Ex)fx" and "(x)fx",
"(x)fx", which
there is
ground in
their texts
texts for
for aa direct
direct accusation
accusation that
that
in their
Now there
is no ground
either
or Russell
Russell 'introduced
generality in
in connection
connection with
with
either Frege
'introduced generality
Frege or
the logical
must therefore
therefore see
in this
this
the
product or
the logical
see in
sum*. We must
or the
logical product
logical sum'.
remark Wittgenstein's
their way
way of
of introducing
introducing gengenremark
Wittgenstein's comment on their
that this
is what it
amounts to.
to. So we must examine
examine
erality:
it amounts
this is
claim that
erality: a claim
they actually
generality.
how they
introduce generality.
actually introduce
Frege
generality notation
notation in
in this
this way
way in
in Function
Function
his generality
introduced his
Frege introduced
and Concept:
he
constructs
the
sign
the
he
constructs
sign
Concept:
:

.*

~(a)

142
142

AN INTRODUCTION
IN'I'RODUCTION TO WITTGENSTEIN'S TRACTATUS
TRACfATUS

in
which what
he has
has done
(to quote
from his
his Begriffsschriff)
Begriffsschrift) to
to
is (to
done is
what he
in which
quote from
replace an
'London' in
'London is
capital city',
city', 'with
'with
is a
a capital
in 'London
an argument,
say 'London'
argument, say
replace
and insert a concavity in the content stroke,
a German
make
German letter,
a
letter, and insert a concavity in the content stroke, and
German
letter
stand
over
the
concavity'.
this
same
the
this same German letter stand over
concavity'.
The
so constructed
signifies the
the thought
thought that
that 'The
function
'The function
constructed signifies
The sign
sign so

is aa fact
fact whatever
we take
its argument
argument to
to be.*
be.' Or,
Or, as
he puts
puts
as he
take its
is
whatever we
Function and
the
sign
the
Function
and Concept,
sign
Concept,

it in
in

it

..:;_f(a)

is
the true
true when
when the
function/(x) always
always has
has the
true as
as its
its
the true
the fimction/(*)
mean the
is 'to
'to mean
be'.
Certainly
there
is
nothing
value,
whatever
the
argument
may
there
is
be*.
whatever
the
Certainly
nothing
value,
argument may
here about
a logical
product. So
what is
is Wittgenstein's
Wittgenstein's argument?
argument?
about a
So what
here
logical product.
It
is based
based on
view: the
the truth
truth of
of such
such aa proposition
proposition as
as
It is
on his
his own view:
of the
the logical
product:
'(x)fx'
use the
the signs
usual) is
is the
the truth
truth of
logical product
(to use
(x)fx' (to
signs now usual)
'fa.fb.fc.fd--'
where the
up our
our failure
failure to
to write
write down
cover up
'fa.fb.fc.fd
where
the dots
dots cover
all
there are
as arguments
arguments in
in the
the function
function fx.
fx. Therefore
Therefore
names there
are as
all the
the names
his symbol,
by stating
stating what
what is
is judged
judged to
to be
be the
the
when Frege
Frege explains
explains his
symbol, by
it symbolizes,
he
is
in
fact
introducing
'all'
case
in the
judgment that
that it
the judgment
he
is
in
'all'
fact
case in
introducing
symbolizes,
in
v.ith the
the logical
logical product.
product.
in connection
connection with
not employ
quantifier like
like *(Ex)'
'(Ex)' in
in
Frege does
does not
an existential
existential quantifier
Frege
employ an
constructing
the symbol
symbol for
for judgments
judgments of
of the
the form
form 'Some--';
he
he
'Some
constructing the
simply
negation together
together with
with his
his universal
universal quantifier,
quantifier, just
just as
as
uses negation
simply uses
define *(Ex)fx'
'(Ex)fx' as
as *~(x)~fx*;
'~(x).-fx'; but
but the
the same
point would
would hold
hold
we can
can define
same point
judgments: their
their truth
truth-according
for
the explanation
for the
of particular
explanation of
particular judgments:
according
to Wittgenstein
Wittgenstein--consists
in
the
truth
of
a
logical
(fa vv fb
fb
to
consists in the truth of
logical sum (fa
fc v fd
v fc
fd--)) and hence
hence what
what they
they say
is
that
that
logical
is
true.
that
is
that
sum
is
true.
say
logical
by explaining
explaining what
what they
they say
say is
is 'intro'introSo someone who explains
explains them by
ducing
generality in
connection with
with the
the logical
logical sum'.
hi connection
sum'.
ducing generality
Russell's explanations
explanations are
are not
not relevantly
relevantly different
different from
from Frege's.
Frege's.
Russell's
'This,'
to understand
understand "(x)fx"
"(x)fx"
'made it
it difficult
difficult to
'This,' Wittgenstein
Wittgenstein says,
says, 'made
and "(Ex)fx",
which cover
cover both
both ideas.'
By 'both
'both ideas'
he means
means
ideas.' By
ideas' he
"(Ex)fx", which
both the
the idea
idea of
of generality
generality on the
the one
one hand,
hand, and
and that
that of
of the
the logical
logical
the case
case of
universal propositions),
propositions), or
or the
the logical
logical sum (in
(in
product
of universal
(in the
product (in
the
of particular
particular propositions),
propositions), on the
the other.
other. The reason
reason why
why
the case of
*it became difficult
'it
difficult to
to understand*
understand' these
these propositions
propositions was
was that
that their
their
pictorial
character was obscured.
pictorial character
character consists
consists
obscured. Their
Their pictorial
pictorial character
s

'

'

GENERALITY

143
143

in
their being
being truth-functions
truth-functions of
of aa set
set of
of propositions.
propositions. But
But the
the
in their
notation also
also covers
covers the
way of
specifying the
the set
set aa truth-function
truth-function of
of
the way
of specifying
notation
which
is being
being asserted,
asserted, viz.
viz. giving
giving aa function
function all
all of
whose values
values
which is
of whose
are
the set
in question.
question. 'The
'The function's
function's being
being aa fact
fact whatever
whatever we
set in
are the
to be'
be' explains
explains generality
generality in
in terms
terms of
of the
the truth
truth
take
argument to
the argument
take the
of
proposition.
With
such
an
explanation,
are
are
the generalized
how
With
an
such
of the
generalized proposition.
explanation,
the inference
inference from
(x}<fox to
to <a;
tf>a; i.e.
i.e. from
someunderstand the
to understand
we to
from (x)^x
from something's holding
a function,
to something's
something's holding
holding of
of an
an object?
object?
of a
holding of
function, to
thing's
Ramsey says,
Wittgenstein's view
view 'explains
can be
be
As Ramsey
"fa" can
says, Wittgenstein's
'explains how "fa"
inferred
fx", and
and "There
"There is
is an
an xx such
such that
that fx"
fx" from
from
all x,
inferred from "For all
x, fx",
"fa".
alternative theory
theory that
that "There
is an
an xx such
that fx"
fx" should
should
"fa". The alternative
"There is
such that
atomic proposition
proposition of
of the
the form
form "F(f)"
("f
has
be regarded
regarded as
as an atomic
be
"F(f)" ("f has
application")
leaves
this
entirely
obscure;
it
gives
no
intelligible
leaves
this
it
no
entirely obscure;
intelligible
application")
gives
connection
between aa being
being red
red and
red having
having application,
application, but
but
connection between
and red
abandoning
hope of
this relation
relation is
is content
merely
of explaining
content merely
abandoning any
any hope
explaining this
to
it "necessary"
.'11
label it
to label
"necessary".'
Wittgenstein
goes
on
to make further
further comments
comments on
on the
the generality
generality
Wittgenstein goes on to
notation. It
has, he
he says,
two
peculiarities:
it
points
to
a logical
logical
It has,
notation.
two
says,
peculiarities: it points to a
and
it
emphasizes
constants.
Ramsey
explains
the
proto-picture,
it
constants.
proto-picture,
emphasizes
Ramsey explains the
second
point to
to us.
us. 'Let
us consider
when and
and why
why an
expression
second point
'Let us
consider when
an expression
were, as
isolated unit.
unit. "aRb" does
does not
not naturally
naturally
occurs,
as it
it were,
as an isolated
occurs, as
divide
into "a"
and we want
want to
to know why
why anyone
anyone should
should
divide into
"a" and "Rb",
"Rb", and
isolate the
The answer
answer is
is that
that if
if it
it
so
it and isolate
so divide
divide it
the expression
"Rb". The
expression "Rb".
were a matter
matter of
of this
this proposition
proposition alone,
alone, there
there would
would be
be no point
point in
in
dividing
in this
this way,
way, but
but that
the importance
importance of
expressions arises,
arises,
it in
that the
of expressions
dividing it
as
Wittgenstein points
points out,
out, just
just in
with generalization.
generalization.
as Wittgenstein
in connection
connection with
ltis
not "aRb" but
but "(x)xRb"
"(x)xRb" which
which makes
makes "Rb" prominent.
prominent. In
In writing
writing
Itis not
(x)xRb
use the
the expression
to collect
collect together
together the
the set
of
set of
(x)xRb we use
expression "Rb" to
propositions
which we want
want to
to assert
assert to
to be
be true;
true; and
it is
is here
here
and it
propositions xRb which
that the
really essential
essential because
because it
it is
is this
this which
which is
is
that
the expression
is really
expression "Rb" is
to this
this set
set of
propositions.' 21
common to
of propositions.'
Wittgenstein does
does not
not explicitly
say that
that the
the importance
of 'ex'exWittgenstein
importance of
explicitly say
uses
pressions'
arises
in
connection
with
generalization:
rather
he
uses
he
arises
in
connection
with
rather
pressions'
generalization:
the notion
the
notion of
expression to
to form
form his
his theory
theory of
of generality.
of an expression
generality. For him
expressions
explain generality:
by being
being 'the
'the common
expressions explain
generality: an expression,
expression, by
1
1

The Foundations
Foundations of
of Mathematics,
Mathematics, pp.
pp. 153-4.
153-4.

Ramsey,
pp. 123-4.
123-4.
Ramsey, ibid.,
ibid., pp.

144
144

AN INTRODUCTION
WITIGENSTEIN'S TRACfATUS
TRACTATUS
iNi-RODUcnoN TO WITTGENSTEIN'S

characteristic
mark of
of aa class
class of
of propositions',
propositions', gives
gives us
us that
that class
classcharacteristic mark
the class
of them
them all.
But the
the class
question is
is clearly
clearly that
that narrower
narrower
in question
class in
class of
all. But
the
range of
propositions in
in which
which an
expression occurs,
occurs, which
which Ramsey
Ramsey
an expression
of propositions
range
to
distinguish.
found
it
necessary
found it necessary to distinguish.
At
4.12721 Wittgenstein
Wittgenstein tells
tells us:
us: 'The
formal concept
is already
already
'The formal
At 4.12721
concept is
an
object
that
falls
under
it.'
That
is,
if
have
been
given
with
if
we
have
been
it.'
That
falls
under
that
with
an
is,
object
given
given
fa,
the
formal
concept
presented
by
the
name-variable
x is
is
name-variable
x
the
the
formal
by
concept presented
given fa,
Here II assume
assume that
that T
'f'
already
the 'proto-picture'
'fx' is
is given.
given. Here
already given:
given: the
'proto-picture' 'fx'
is
a constant;
constant; thus
thus this
this proto-picture
proto-picture is
is not
not the
the 'logical
'logical proto-picture'
proto-picture'
is a
that is
by turning
turning all
all the
the constants,
constants, into
into which
which aa propopropothat
is obtained
obtained by
sition
divides up,
up, into
into variables,
variables, as
was described
described at
at 3.315:
'If we
3.315: 'If
as was
sition divides
change
one
component
of
a
proposition
into
a
variable,
then
there
is
then
into
a
there
a
is
one
of
variable,
change
proposition
component
of propositions
propositions which
which are
are all
all values
values of
of the
the resulting
resulting variable
variable
a class
a
class of
This class
in general
general still
still depends
depends on what
what we,
we, by
by
proposition.
class in
proposition. This
arbitrary
convention, mean
mean by
by parts
parts of
of that
that proposition.
proposition. But
But if
if
arbitrary convention,
we change
those signs
whose reference
reference has
has been
been arbitrarily
arbitrarily deterdeterall those
change all
signs whose
mined into
into variables,
variables, there
there is
still always
always such
such aa class.
class. This,
This, however,
however,
is still
mined
now no longer
longer depends
depends on
convention; it
it depends
depends only
only on the
the nature
nature
on convention;
of
the proposition.
proposition. It
It corresponds
to
a
logical
form-a
logical
pro toof the
form
a
a
to
logical
corresponds
logical protothan
light',
for
example,
lays
emphasis
on
picture':
'(x)x
moves
slower
for
moves
slower
than
picture' *(x)x
light',
example, lays emphasis on
'moves
slower than
than light'
light' as
as an
expression which
which collects
collects together
together aa
'moves slower
an expression
propositions, and
and points
points to
a 'logical
proto-picture' xRy,
xRy,
class
of propositions,
class of
to a
'logical proto-picture'
turned into
into
where (taking
(taking R as
as variable)
variable) all
all the
the constants
have been
been turned
where
constants have
variables.
variables.
for Wittgenstein's
Wittgenstein 's next
next remarks:
remarks: 'The
sign
This
paves the
the way
way for
This paves
'The sign
of generality
generality appears
appears as
Once
objects
are
given,
that
of
as an argument.
argument.
objects are given, that
of itself
itself gives
us
all
objects.
Once
elementarY
propositions
are
given,
us
all
are
gives
objects.
elementary propositions
given,
is enough
that
enough for
all elementary
elementarY propositions
propositions to
to be
be given'
that is
for all
given* (5.523-4).
(5.523-4).
When he says
'the sign
of generality
generality occurs
occurs as
as an
an argument'
argument' he
he is
is
says 'the
sign of
to the
the 'x'
in '(x)<px':
have passed
passed from
from the
the form
to
referring
'x' in
form '4>a'
to
referring to
'(x>x': we have
'^a'
the
construction of the
the construction
the form '*^
4> everything'
which we can
can do
do because
because
everything' which
the
4>( )')' collects
all propositions
propositions of
of the
the same
form as
as
the expression
collects all
same form
expression '*<(
determines a certain
'4>a':
it determines
range of
of propositions.
propositions. '(x)4>x'
is then
then
certain range
'$a': it
'(x)<x' is
the proposition
just the
proposition which is
is aa certain
truth-function of
of those
those
certain truth-function
just
we
saw
just
why
this
should
be
so
good
a
notation
at
propositions:
this
should
be
so
a
notation
at
propositions:
just why
good
the
the opening
opening of the
the present
present chapter.
chapter. Thus it
it is
is that
that we are
are formally
formally
'all objects'
objects'-and
therewith the
the possibility
possibility of
all their
their concongiven
and therewith
of all
given 'all
:

14S
145

G!!NERAUIY
GENERALITY
'

nections,
nections,

which form
form the
the elementary
elementary situations-;
and thus
thus it
it is
is
which
situations
and
we
'all elementary
elementary propositions*,
propositions', and
and therewith
therewith all
all
are given
we are
given 'all
possible propositions,
propositions, i.e.
i.e. all
possibilities of
of being
being the
the case
case or
or not
not
all possibilities
possible
the
case.
case.
the
has the
the following
following strong
strong advantage.
advantage. If
If we
Wittgenstein's view
view has
Wittgenstein's
truth-functional connective,
then
unless
adopt
introduce
a truth-functional
as a
introduce 'v' as
then
unless
we
connective,
adopt
Wittgenstein's view
view we need
need aa new
new account
account of
of it
it in
in such
such propositions
propositions
Wittgenstein's
v ljJx'--e.g.
roses are
are either
either red
red or
or yellow',
yellow', for
for here
here it
it
as
'All roses
as '(x)</>x
e.g. 'All
'(x)^>x v i/fx'
does
not conjoin
conjoin clauses
to which
which a
truth-value can
be assigned.
assigned.
clauses to
does not
a truth-value
can be
'If
logic has
has primitive
primitive notions,'
notions,' he
he says
at 5.451,
'they must
must be
be indeinde-'If logic
5.451, 'they
says at
dependent
of
one
another.
If
a
primitive
notion
is
introduced,
it
must
If
dependent of one another. a primitive notion is introduced, it must
it occurs
occurs at
at all.
Thus we
be introduced
introduced for
for all
the contexts
which it
all the
in which
contexts in
be
all. Thus
first for
for one
and then
then introduce
introduce it
it all
all
cannot
it first
one context,
cannot introduce
introduce it
context, and
over
for
another.
For
example:
If
negation
has
been
introfor
another.
If
For
has
been
introover again
negation
example:
again
"~p"
must understand
understand it
in propositions
propositions of
of the
the form
duced,
it in
form "-p"
duced, we must
just as
in propositions
propositions like
"(Ex) -fx",
cannot
like "-(p
etc. We cannot
as in
fx", etc.
"~(p vv q)",
just
q)", "(Ex)
introduce
it first
the one
of cases,
cases, and
and then
then for
for the
the other,
other,
first for
for the
class of
one class
introduce it
would be
be doubtful
doubtful whether
whether it
it meant
meant the
the same in
in both
both
for
then it
it would
for then
cases,
there would
would be
no ground
ground for
using the
the same
kind of
of conconfor using
and there
be no
same kind
cases, and
both cases.
cases. In
a word,
word, what
what Frege
Frege said
said (in
the
Grundgesetze
nective
In a
in both
the
nective in
(in
Grundgesetze
der Arithmetik)
Arithmetik) about
the introduction
introduction of
of signs
signs by
by means
means of
of defidefiabout the
der
mutatis mutandis,
mutandis, for
for primitive
primitive signs.'
signs.' Russell
Russell and
and
nitions holds,
holds, mutatis
nitions
*~' and 'v' all
Whitehead did
introduce '-
all over
over again
again for
uses with
with
did introduce
for uses
quantifiers
and *10
of Principia
Prindpia Mathematical.
Mathematica).
Sections *9
*9 and
*10 of
(see Sections
quantifiers (see
Modem logicians
logicians mostly
mostly introduce
introduce them
them with
with aa merely
merely truthtruthModern
then go
go on using
using them 'with
'with innocent
innocent
functional
functional explanation,
explanation, and then
1
1
faces'
in the
predicate calculus.
the predicate
calculus.
faces' in
The concept
'all'
is
all-pervasive
in the
the Tractatus.
world is
is
'all*
is
Tractatus. 'The
'The world
all-pervasive in
concept
everything
that
is
the
case-the
totality
of
facts-determined
by
the
case
the
the
that
is
the
facts
of
determined
by
totality
everything
and by
by their
their being
being all
the facts'
(1-1.11). And at
at 4.51-2
4.51-2 we
facts
all the
facts* (1-1.11).
facts and
all elementary
propositions were
were given
given me:
me: then
then we
find:
find: 'Suppose
elementary propositions
'Suppose all
can
ask what
what propositions
propositions II can
from them.
them. And these
these
can form
form from
can simply
simply ask
are
all propositions:
propositions: that
they are
limited. Propositions
Propositions are:
are:
are all
that is
is how they
are limited.
All
that follows
follows from
from the
the totality
totality of
of elementary
propositions (and
(and of
of
All that
elementary propositions
course from its
its being
being the
the totality
totality of
of them
them all).
all). Thus it
it might
might be
be said
said
course
;

that
that

cf. Tractatus,

1 cf.
5.452.
Tractatus, 5.452.

Section 16.
Section
16.

For an
an example,
For
example,

see Quine,
Quine,
see

Methods of
of Logic,
Logic,
Methods

146
146

AN INTRODUCTION TO WITTGENSTEIN'S
WITrGENSTEIN'S TRACTATUS

that
in aa certain
propositions are
are generalizations
generalizations of
of the
the
all propositions
certain sense
sense all
that in
elementary
propositions.'
elementary propositions.'
We have
have to
to think
think of
the case
case in
which the
the world
world is
is finite,
finite, rememin which
of the
bering
that
Wittgenstein
did
not
think
there
was
any
essential difdifwas
there
think
not
any essential
bering that Wittgenstein did
to say
say not
not
ference
between the
the finite
finite and
and the
the infinite
infinite case.
case. If
If we want to
ference between
merely
that
such-and-such
things
are
green,
but
that
everything
(in
that
are
but
that
such-and-such
(in
everything
green,
things
merely
aa box,
box, for
for example)
example) is
is green,
green, this
this can
be expressed
expressed by
by saying:
saying: 'There
'There
can be
are
x and
and aa yy in
in the
the box,
box, xx and
y are
are green,
green, and
and there
there are
are not
not an
an
and y
are an
an x
x and
y and
and aa zz in
in the
the box.'
box.' (Here
(Here II am using
using Wittgenstein's
Wittgenstein's proprox
and a
a y
of the
the object
object II express
express by
by
posed
convention about
about identity:
'Identity of
identity: 'Identity
posed convention
of
the
sign,
not
by
a
sign
of
identity:
difference
of
the
object
identity
difference
of
the
of
a
of
the
not
object
identity:
by sign
identity
sign,
by
of the
the sign'
sign" 11 (5.53).)
(5.53).) It
is clear
that 'Everything
'Everything in
in the
the box
box
clear that
It is
difference of
by difference
is green'
does
not
follow
just
from
'The
objects
a
and
b,
which
are
a
which
'The
and
are
from
is
follow
does
not
b,
objects
green'
just
are green
green': it
must also
be the
the case
case that
that aa and bbare
all the
the
in the
the box,
are all
in
it must
also be
box, are
objects
the box.
box.
in the
objects in
Similarly, that
that such-and-such
independent possibility
possibility is
is not
not
an independent
such-and-such an
Similarly,
the
follows from
from all
all the
the facts,
together with
with the
the fact
that these
these
fact that
the case
case follows
facts, together
all the
the facts.
(As Professor
Professor Stenius
Stenius has
has pointed
pointed out
out to
to me,
me, at
at this
this
are
are all
facts. (As
stage
(1.11)
Wittgenstein
means
by
'the
facts'
only
'positive
facts':
'the
facts'
facts':
means
stage (1.1 1) Wittgenstein
by
only 'positive
he has
yet introduced
introduced the
the expression
expression 'a
'a negative
negative fact*
fact' for
for the
the
he
has not
not yet
'non-existence
facts', but
but has
has only
only brought
brought in
in 'facts'
which
'facts' which
of atomic
'non-existence of
atomic facts',
the existence
atomic facts.)
facts.) And so
so WittWittare
are stated
stated to
in the
of atomic
to consist
existence of
consist in
genstein
'the totality
totality of
of facts
facts determines
determines both
both what
what is
is the
the case
case
genstein says:
says: 'the
and also
that is
is not
not the
case' (1.12);
this is
is so
whether the
the
also all
all that
the case'
so whether
(1.12); and this
world is
finite or
infinite.
world
is finite
or infinite.
this is
is so
so is
clearly in
in the
the finite
finite case;
case; yet
yet in
in the
the finite
finite
How this
is seen
seen clearly
case Wittgenstein's
to
have
a
rather
inconvenient
case
Wittgenstein's doctrine
doctrine appears
to
have
a
rather
inconvenient
appears
consequence
which Ramsey
Ramsey drew.
drew. Ramsey
Ramsey argues
argues that
that 'There
'There are
are an
an
consequence which
x and a
a yy such
such that
that x^y'
x=;fy' is
the logical
logical sum of
of the
the propositions
propositions
is the
x=;fy, which are
tautologies if
x and yy have
have different
different values,
values, conconif x
are tautologies
x^y,
tradictions if
if they
they have
have the
the same value.
value. Hence it
it is
is itself
itself aa tautology
tautology
tradictions
1

1 He
has
sometimes been
been taken
taken to
to demand this
this convention.
convention. This
This is
is aa
has sometimes
he merely
merely puts
puts it
it forward
as aa possible
possible one.
one. The
The fact
fact
misunderstanding; he
forward as
misunderstanding;
that
that (however
inconvenient) it
it is
is possible
possible shews
shews that
that identity
identity is
is not
not aa
(however inconvenient)
genuine
function. His
His view,
view, then,
then, does
does not
not require
require the
the abandonment
ofthe
abandonment of
the
genuine function.
sign
of identity
identity if
if it
it should
convenient to
to use
use it.
it. But
But it
it does
does exclude
exclude
should be convenient
sign of
uses
uses of
of it
it which make aa genuine
function of
of it:
it: as
as for
for example,
example, in
in the
the
genuine function
to express
attempt to
by 'For
x, xxis
identical with
with a*.
a'.
*a exists'
exists' by
Tor some
some x,
is identical
attempt
express 'a

147
147

GENER.AIIIY
GENERALITY

if
one of
the set
a tautology,
but otherwise
otherwise a
a contradiction.
of the
if any
set is
is a
contradiction.
any one
tautology, but
That
tautology if
x and
y can
take different
different values
values (i.e.
(i.e. if
if
it is
That is,
is a
a tautology
if x
can take
and y
is, it
11
there are
are two
two individuals),
but
otherwise
a
contradiction.
He
there
individuals), but otherwise a contradiction.
concludes
the series
'There is
individual... There
There are
are at
at
that the
concludes that
series "There
one individual.
is one
least 22 individuals
There are
are at
n individuals
individuals .. .' begins
begins by
by
least
individuals ....
---- There
at least
least n
being tautologous;
tautologous; but
but somewhere
it begins
begins to
to be
be contradictory,
contradictory, and
and
somewhere it
being
the position
position of
of the
the last
tautologous term
term shews
shews the
the number
number of
of
the
last tautologous
individuals.
individuals.
Now Wittgenstein
Wittgenstein rejected
rejected propositions
propositions of
of the
the form
'There is
is
form "There
not
an
x
such
that
x#x',
jeering
at
it
with
the
remark:
'Would
this
x
that
such
not
x^x*, jeering at it with the remark: 'Would this
not be
were things'*
things" but
but these
these were
were not
not identical
identical with
with
not
if "there
true if
be true
"there were
did
not
regard
identity
as
a
genuine
themselves?' (5.5352).
themselves?*
He
did
not
as
a
(5.5352).
regard identity
genuine
function.
the point
point can
be made without
without using
using identity.
identity. Let
Let us
us
function. But the
can be
suppose,
the sake
that there
there are
are only
two objects,
objects,
for the
sake of
of simplicity,
suppose, for
simplicity, that
only two
b, and
and one
one function,
function, f.
f. Then
Then the
the possibilities
possibilities fa,
fb,
aa and b,
fa, -fa,
~fa, fb,
-fb,
will be
be all
the possibilities
possibilities that
that there
there are.
are. Suppose
Suppose that
that we
all the
~fb, will
write
possibilities down as
as follows
follows:
write these
these possibilities
.

.'

(1)
There are
x and a
ay
a~ such
such that
that <f>x
~x and
are an x
and a
an tf;y
(1) There
y and
There are
are an xx and aa yy and
and aa ,P such
such that
that <f>x
~x and ~Y
There
There are
are an xx and aa y
y and
and aa ~ such
that ~<x
~x an
and tf;y
such that
such
that
a
There are
are an xx and aay
and
a
,P
such
that
-~x
There
y
~<f>x and --~y.
<f>

(2)
(2)
(3)
(3)
(4)
(4)

(f>

<f>

<j>

These are
a// the
the possibilities;
possibilities; therefore,
therefore, the
the 'complete
'complete description
description
are all
of
the world
world in
in a completely
generalized proposition*,
proposition', of
of which
which
of the
completely generalized
Wittgenstein
speaks
at
5.526,
will
be
given
by
one
of
them.
at
be
one
of
will
them.
Wittgenstein speaks
5.526,
given by
Here we have
have 'described
'described the
the world*
world' without
without any
preliminary
any preliminary
a name with
with a particular
particular object.
object. And then,
then, in
in order
order to
to
correlation
of a
correlation of
arrive
usual way
way of
putting it,
it, in
in which
which names are
are used,
used, we
arrive at
at the
the usual
of putting
e.g. 'x
'x is
a, and y
y is
b, and ~ is
is f'.
that this
this is
is aa
need only
only add e.g.
f. But that
is a,
is b,
need
complete
i.e. is
all the
the facts
facts there
there are,
are, can
can only
only be
exis all
be excomplete description,
description, i.e.
can add such
propositions as
as 'and
'and there
there are
not an xx
pressed
are not
such propositions
if we can
pressed if
and a yy and aa z,
z, and there
are not
not aa $
~ and a
a if; such
such that
that .. .'.
.'. Hence
there are
it
at
5.526
that
weshouldhavepropositions
stating:
'There
we
it is
is required
at
that
shouldhave
5.526
propositions stating: "There
required
be
of
only one xx such
such that
that .. .',
which
have
to
be
of the
the
is
have
to
is one and only
which
would
.',
form:
an x and there
there are
not an x and a y,
y, such
such that
that .. .'.
'There is
form: 'There
is an
are not
that the
the 'complete
description in
in completely
completely
This
means that
This surely
surely means
'complete description
1
Ramsey,
The
Foundations
of
Mathematics,
pp.
59-60.
59-60.
Foundations
Mathematics,
pp.
of
Ramsey,
<f>

.'.

148
148

AN INTRODUCI10N
WITTGENSTEIN'S TRACTATUS
INTRODUCTION TO WITTGENSTEIN'S

generalized
propositions' would,
would, in
in the
the finite
finite case,
case, consist
consist partly
partly of
of
generalized propositions'
existential
propositions employing
more variables
variables than
than there
there are
are
existential propositions
employing more
names of
objects. But
But if
what is
false can
can be
be true,
true, then
then the
the
is false
if what
names
of distinct
distinct objects.
completely
generalized
propositions
will
allow
play
to
the
more
to
allow
the
will
play
completely generalized propositions
than the
the totality
totality of
elementary propositions.
propositions. Yet
Yet at
at 5.5262
5.5262
facts
of elementary
facts than
Wittgenstein
denies
this:
'The
truth
or
falsehood
of
every
propoof
falsehood
or
'The
truth
this:
denies
every
propoWittgenstein
sition
alters something
something about
the general
general structure
structure of
the world.
world. And
of the
about the
sition alters
the play
play which
which is
by the
the totality
totality of
elementary
of elementary
is allowed
allowed to
structure by
to its
its structure
the
propositions is
is just
just that
that which
which is
by the
the completely
completely general
general
limited by
is limited
propositions
propositions.'
propositions.*
This
conclusion can
be avoided
avoided by
by adopting
adopting Ramsey's
Ramsey's sugsugThis conclusion
can only
only be
gestion
and
saying
that
the
series
of
propositions
and
series
that
the
of
saying
propositions
gestion

(Ex,<p)if>x vv -if>x
~<x
(Ex,y,if>)</>x v -if>x.if>y v -if>y
(Ex,y,z,if>)if>x vv -if>x.if>y
v -if>y.if>z
~<y.z vv -if>zz
<~^4x.<y v
etc.,
would go
go over,
over, in
in the
finite case,
case, from
being tautologies
tautologies to
being
to being
the finite
from being
etc., would
contradictions
the point
at which
which the
the number of
of different
different name
at the
contradictions at
point at
of different
different names.
names. And it
it
variables employed
the number of
variables
exceeded the
employed exceeded
is
really only
only in
in the
the finite
case that
that Wittgenstein's
Wittgenstein's theory
theory can
can be
be exexis really
finite case
pounded with
with much clarity.
clarity.
pounded
II find
this conclusion
conclusion unsatisfactory:
unsatisfactory: in
in the
the infinite
infinite case,
case, WittWittfind this
at all:
all: we have
have to
to take
take the
the
genstein's
can hardly
be explained
genstein's theory
hardly be
theory can
explained at
finite case
say that
that he
he saw
no important
difference between
between it
it
finite
case and say
saw no
important difference
and the
the infinite
while in
the finite
case the
the view
view seems
seems to
to lead
lead to
to
infinite case;
in the
finite case
case; while
a sudden transition
transition of
an existential
proposition from tautology
tautology to
to
of an
existential proposition
contradiction.
contradiction.
Did not
not Wittgenstein
Wittgenstein resist
resist any
any attempt
attempt to
to symbolize
symbolize "The
'The
universe
is not
not empty*
empty' in
are things',
things', regarding
regarding these
these as
as
universe is
in 'There
"There are
'pseudo-propositions' attempting
to say
say what
what shews!
shews? At 5.535
5.535 he
he
'pseudo-propositions'
attempting to
that what the
says
the 'Axiom
'Axiom of
Infinity' (which
(which says
says that
that there
there is
is an
an
of Infinity'
says that
infinite
of objects)
supposed to
to mean 'would
'would be
be expressed
expressed
infinite number of
is supposed
objects) is
in language
in
language by
by there
there being
being infinitely
infinitely many
many names with
with different
different
references'.
references'.
If
is the
If (Ex)fx
the logical
'fa v fb
v fc
fc . . . ' then
then (Ex)fx
(Ex)fx vv ~fx
,....fx
fb v
(Ex)fx is
logical sum: 'fa
is the
the logical
is
logical sum of the
tautologies:
fa
-fa
v
fb
v
-fb
v
the singular
fa
v
f
~fa
v
b
~fb
singular tautologies:
vvfcv
fc v -re
... ; and so
so (Ex,$$x
(Ex,if>)if>x v ~^x
-if>x will
will be
be the
the logical
of all
all
~fc...;
logical sum of
v fb vv -fb
ga vv ~ga
-ga vgb
v gb vv --gb
the singular
tautologies: fa
v -fa
fa v
~fa vfb
~fb ... ga
singular tautologies:
.

. . .

.'

GENERALITY

149
149

... etc.
In these
these propositions,
propositions, then,
then, we can
can see
see how 'the
existence of
of
'the existence
etc. In
things'
is
something
'shewn'
and
not
said.
But
ifWittgenstein
allows
is
and
'shewn'
said.
if
not
But
allows
things'
something
Wittgenstein
(Ex)<f>x. -(Ex,y)cfox.r.foy
as aa way
way of
of saying
saying that
that only
only one
one thing
thing has
has cfo,
(Ex,y)<x.<y as
(Ex)<^x.
as he
it is
is difficult
difficult to
to see
see how he
he could
could avoid
a way
way of
of
at 5.5321,
he does
does at
5.5321 it
avoid a
as
admitting formulae
which say
'There are
are only
only n
n things
things and
and m funcfuncformulae which
admitting
say 'There
tions' without
using either
'thing' or
or function'
as aa function.
function.
either 'thing'
without using
"function* as
tions*
.

<f>,

12
12

KNOWLEDGE AND CERTAINTY

Probably the
the best-known
best-known thesis
thesis of
of the
the Tractatus
is that
that 'meta'metaTractates is
Probably
physical'
statements are
are nonsensical,
nonsensical, and that
that the
the only
only sayable
sayable
physical' statements
things are
are propositions
propositions of
of natural
natural science
science (6.53).
(6.53). Now natural
natural
things
science
surely the
the sphere
of the
the empirically
empirically discoverable;
discoverable; and the
the
is surely
science is
sphere of
'empirically discoverable'
is the
the same as
as *what
'what can
can be
be verified
verified by
by the
the
discoverable' is
'empirically
senses'.
passage therefore
therefore suggests
the following
following quick
easy
senses'. The passage
suggests the
quick and easy
way
of dealing
dealing with
with 'metaphysical'
propositions: what sense-observasense-observa'metaphysical' propositions
way of
tions
verify and what falsify
none, then
then they
they are
are
If none,
tions would verify
falsify them? If
senseless.
This was the
the method of
of criticism
criticism adopted
adopted by
by the
the Vienna
Vienna
senseless. This
Circle
in this
this country
country by
by Professor
J. Ayer.
Ayer.
Professor A. J.
Circle and in
There
about ascribing
ascribing this
this doctrine
doctrine to
to the
the
There are
are certain
certain difficulties
difficulties about
Tractatus.
is nothing
nothing about
verification there.
there. If
If
Tractatus. There
There is
about sensible
sensible verification
Wittgenstein means to
to suggest
suggest that
that we can
can test
test aa proposition
proposition for
for
Wittgenstein
significance
by seeing
if we can state
state the
the sense-observations
sense-observations that
that
significance by
seeing if
verify it,
then it
it is
that he
he does
does not
not say
say so.
so. Nor is
is
would verify
is surprising
it, then
surprising that
to sensible
verifiability immediately
immediately implicit
implicit in
the
a reference
reference to
sensible verifiability
in the
identification of
of 'what
be said'
said' with
with 'the
'the propositions
propositions of
of natural
natural
identification
'what can be
science';
for the
the totality
totality of
of natural
natural science
has been
been defined
defined earlier
earlier
science has
science*; for
in
the book (4.
(4.11)
the totality
true propositions.
propositions. Nowhere have
in the
as the
of true
11) as
totality of
general method for
for criticizing
criticizing sentences,
we any
any suggestion
suggestion of a general
sentences,
according
observations would verify
verify
to which we may say:
according to
say: 'What observations
(or falsify)
that? If
none, then
then it
it does
does not
not mean anything.'
anything.' Such a
If none,
(or
falsify) that?
general
criticizing sentences
sentences would obviously
obviously need a
a
for criticizing
general method for
preliminary
justification; and it
is difficult
difficult to
to see
see how the
the Tractatus,
Tractatus,
it is
preliminary justification;
for
for example,
be taken
taken as
as such
such a
a preliminary
preliminary justification,
justification, when
example, can be
it says
it
nothing about sensible
observation.
sensible observation.
says nothing
150
:

KNOWLEDGE AND CERTAINTY

151
151

The general
method that
that Wittgenstein
Wittgenstein does
does suggest
is that
that of
of
general method
suggest is
'shewing
no meaning
meaning [or
[or perhaps:
perhaps: "no
"no
that a
a man has
has supplied
'shewing that
supplied no
reference"]
certain signs
in his
his sentences'.
sentences'. II can
can illustrate
illustrate the
the
for certain
reference"] for
signs in
method
from Wittgenstein's
Wittgenstein's later
later way
way of
of discussing
discussing problems.
problems. He
method from
once
with the
the question:
do people
people say
say that
that it
it was
was
once greeted
greeted me with
question: 'Why
'Why do
natural to
to think
think that
that the
went round
round the
the earth
earth rather
rather than
than that
that
the sun
natural
sun went
the
axis?' II replied:
replied: *I
'I suppose,
suppose, because
because it
it looked
looked
earth turned
turned on its
its axis?*
the earth
went round the
earth.' 'Well,'
he asked,
asked, 'what
would it
it
as if
if the
the sun
sun went
as
the earth.*
'what would
'Well,' he
looked as
as if
if the
the earth
earth turned
turned on
on its
its axis?*
axis?'
have looked
like if
if it
it had looked
looked like
have
out that
that II had
had hitherto
hitherto given
given no
no relevant
relevant
This
question brought
brought it
it out
This question
'it
looks
as
if'
in
'it
looks
as
if
the
sun
goes
round
the
meaning
to
'it
looks
to
as
if*
in
if
'it
as
looks
the sun goes round the
meaning
earth'.
reply was
was to
hold out
my hands
hands with
with the
the palms
palms upward,
upward,
to hold
out my
earth'. My reply
and
raise them from
from my
my knees
in aa circular
sweep, at
at the
the same
same time
time
knees in
circular sweep,
and raise
assuming aa dizzy
dizzy expression.
expression. 'Exactly!'
he
leaning
backwards and assuming
leaning backwards
'Exactly!' he
another case,
case, II might
might have
have found
found that
that II could
could not
not supply
supply
said.
In another
said. In
than that
suggested by
by aa naive
naive conception,
conception, which
which
any
meaning other
other than
that suggested
any meaning
is really
really
could
be destroyed
destroyed by
by aa question.
question. The naive
naive conception
conception is
could be
but it
it may
may take
take the
the power
power of
of aa Copernicus
Copernicus effecteffectthoughtlessness,
thoughtlessness, but
ively
it in
call it
in question.
to call
question.
ively to
Different
philosophers have
have meant
meant different
different things
things by
by 'meta'metaDifferent philosophers
Kant
also
attacked
metaphysics:
but
would
not
have
physical'.
not
but
Kant
would
have
Kant
also
attacked
metaphysics:
physical'.
rod has
has aa length',
length', or
or Time
'Time is
is one-dimensional
one-dimensional and has
has
called
called 'Every
'Every rod
only
direction', metaphysical
metaphysical in
in the
the sense
in which
which he
he attacked
attacked
sense hi
one direction',
only one
metaphysics;
whereas for
for Wittgenstein
they are
are so.
so.
Wittgenstein they
metaphysics; whereas
criticism of
sentences as
expressing no real
real thought,
thought, accordaccordof sentences
as expressing
The criticism
ing
the principles
principles of
of the
the Tractatus,
could never
never be
be of
of any
any very
very
to the
Tractatus, could
ing to
hoc,
and
fall
within
simple
general
form;
each
criticism
would
be
fall
within
would
be
ad
each
criticism
hoc,
simple general form;
to deal.
deal. For
the subject-matter
with which
which the
the sentence
sentence professed
professed to
the
subject-matter with
example,
if
someone
says
that
time
moves
only
in
one
direction,
we
in
one
that
time
moves
if
someone
direction,
only
says
example,
is comparing.
investigate
this by
by asking
asking him what
what processes
processes he
he is
comparing.
investigate this
One frequently
frequently used
used tool
in such
such enquiries
enquiries is:
it
is: 'What would it
tool in
be
it to
be otherwise?'-when,
has said:
said: 'Time
'Time has
has
otherwise?' when, e.g.
for it
to be
be for
e.g. someone has
intelligible description
description
only
one direction.'
direction.' Here
Here we are
are asked
asked for
for an intelligible
only one
let it
of
affairs in
in which the
the asserted
proposition-let
it be,
be, say,
say,
asserted proposition
a str..te
state of
of affairs
of a
far as
not hold.
'the
after the
past'--does
hold. As far
as sensible
sensible
does 1101
future comes after
the past
'the future
verification is
concerned, the
the asserted
asserted proposition
proposition and the
the alternaalternais concerned,
verification
it that
that is
is being
being asked
are, or
or may
may be,
be, on the
the same level;
level;
tive to
for are,
asked for
to it
tive
1

152
152

AN INTRODUCTION TO

WITTGENSTEIN'S TRACTATUS

the relation
relation of
to each
each is
js not
not necessarily
necessarily
of actual
actual sense-experiences
the
sense-experiences to
is evidently
evidently not
not aa sensiblesensiblebeing investigated.
investigated. What
What is
is operative
here is
operative here
being
of
the
significant
desverification
theory,
but
the
picture
theory
verification theory, but the picture theory of the significant description: both
both the
the proposition
proposition
cription:

and its
its negation
negation are
supposed to
to
are supposed
and
possibility, otherwise
the status
describe
a possibility,
of the
the proposition
proposition is
is
status of
otherwise the
describe a
other
that of
of aa significant
description.
than that
other than
significant description.
other natural
natural
'Psychology
is no
no more
more akin
to philosophy
philosophy than
than any
akin to
any other
'Psychology is
of knowledge
knowledge is
is the
the philosophy
philosophy of
of psychology'
psychology'
science.
Theory of
science. Theory
In this
this passage
passage Wittgenstein
is trying
trying to
to break
break the
the dicdic(4.1121).
Wittgenstein is
(4.1121). In
philosophy that
that had
had long
long been
been
tatorial control
control over
over the
the rest
rest of
of philosophy
tatorial
theory of
of knowledge
knowledge-that
is, by
by the
the
exercised
by what
what is
that is,
is called
called theory
exercised by
of
sensation,
perception,
imagination,
and,
generally,
philosophy
philosophy of sensation, perception, imagination, and, generally,
of 'experience'.
did not
not succeed.
succeed. He and
and Frege
Frege avoided
avoided making
making
of
'experience*. He did
of
knowledge
the
cardinal
theory
of
philosophy
simply
by
theory
cardinal
of
the
of
theory
philosophy simply by
knowledge
theory
cutting
it dead;
by doing
none, and
on the
the philosophy
philosophy
and concentrating
concentrating on
dead; by
cutting it
doing none,
of
logic. But
But the
the influence
influence of
the Tractatus
Tractatus produced
produced logical
logical posiposiof the
of logic.
tiYism,
whose main
main doctrine
'veriticationism'; and
and in
in that
that doctrine
doctrine
is Verificationism';
doctrine is
tivism, whose
knowledge once
once more
more reigned
reigned supreme,
and aa prominent
prominent
theory
of knowledge
supreme, and
theory of
obposition
was given
to the
the test
test for
for significance
significance by
by asking
asking for
for the
the obgiven to
position was
servations
that would
would verify
verify aa statement.
(Further, in
in the
the period
period
statement. (Further,
servations that
the time
time when
when he
he began
began to
to write
write PhilPhilbetween the
the Tractatus
Tractatus and
between
and the
Wittgenstein's
ideas
were
closely
osophical
Investigations,
own
ideas
were
more
Wittgenstein's
osophical Investigations,
closely
akin
to those
those of
the logical
logical positivists
positivists than
than before
before or
akin to
of the
or after.)
after.)
generated logical
logical positivism,
positivism,
can see
see how the
the Tractatus
Tractatus generated
We can
although
the two
two philosophies
are incompatible,
incompatible, by
by studying
although the
philosophies are
studying
Meaning and
and Verification:
Moritz Schlick's
essay, Meaning
Moritz
Schlick's essay,
Whenever we
Verification: 'Whenever
ask
about aa sentence,
sentence, "What does
it mean?" what
what we expect
expect is
is
ask about
does it
in which
which the
the sentence
sentence is
is to
to be
be
instruction
as to
to the
the circumstances
circumstances in
instruction as
description of
the conditions
conditions under
under which
which the
the sensenused;
a description
of the
used; we want a
tence
will form
form aa true
true proposition,
of those
those which
which will
will make it
it
tence will
proposition, and of
false.' Here
Here Schlick
seems to
to follow
follow the
the Tractatus,
Tractatus, except
in the
the last
last
Schlick seems
false*
except in
clause of
of his
his statement:
statement: the
that II determine
'determine the
the
clause
the Tractatus
Tractatus says
says that
sense' of
of aa proposition
proposition by
by 'determining
in what
what circumstances
circumstances II
sense'
'determining in
call it
implicit in
this that
that the
the 'circumstances*
'circumstances' in
in
call
it true*
true' (4.063).
(4.063). (It
is implicit
in this
(It is
question
may
hold
or
not
hold;
for
it
is
an
essential
part
of
the
hold
or
not
for
it
is
an
essential
of
the
question may
hold;
part
picture
that aa proposition
proposition which
which held
held in
in all
all circumstances
circumstances
picture theory
theory that
have 'sense'
'sense': it
it would
would lack
lack TF poles.)
poles.)
would not
not have
*

KNOWLEDGE AND CERTAINTY

153
153

Schlick
the 'description
of the
the conditions*
conditions' under
under which
which a
a
Schlick calls
calls the
'description of
word has
has