A classic introduction to Wittgenstein by a student and personal friend

© All Rights Reserved

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A classic introduction to Wittgenstein by a student and personal friend

© All Rights Reserved

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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

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

New York,

York, N. Y.

Y. 10016

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

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

:

.'

.*

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

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.

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)

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, ......)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

*

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

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

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

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

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

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,

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.

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'.

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

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

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

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

;

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

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

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

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

. . .

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

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

:

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

*

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