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Title:The determinancy of logic in Wittgenstein's "Tractatus"
Author(s):Smith, Lynette Ellen
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Winch, Peter
Department / Program:Philosophy
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Abstract:Wittgenstein's Tractatus seems committed to the determinacy of logic in two forms: the logical properties of truth-functionally complex propositions mirror the logical structure of reality, and the logical properties of names mirror the logical properties of things named. Chapter One argues that recent criticisms of the idea that the Tractatus intends to communicate ineffable truths must be taken to heart, but that it is mistaken to suppose that Wittgenstein is clear about the status of his claims that the Tractatus is nonsense.
Chapters Two, Three, and Four discuss two kinds of metaphysics that Russell and Frege thought necessary to answer skeptical threats about the ability of language and logic to represent the world: assumptions about logical structure that ensure the powers of inference to preserve truth, and assumptions about objects that ensure the power of words to refer. The Tractatus argues that both forms of skepticism arise from a failure to grasp the distinction between names and propositions: in particular, that propositions mean what they do whether they are true or false ensures that there are no metaphysical commitments standing behind the intelligible use of language.
Chapter Five describes Wittgenstein's understanding of a truth-functionally complex statement as a function of its parts. The Tractatus already isolates the question of rule-following, as opposed to metaphysics, as fundamental to the question of the nature of a logical calculus. The entire truth-functional calculus is implicit in elementary propositions insofar as propositions say what they do whether they are true or false: Chapter Six describes Wittgenstein's treatment of names in terms of this same feature of the proposition. The picture conception of the proposition is a development out of Russell's Theory of Descriptions, and it does away with the idea that the subject-predicate form of the proposition is fundamental to the ability of language to represent reality. The Tractatus has a stand that is radically critical of the understanding of the relationship between proposition and fact that typically stands behind the worry about the vagueness and imprecision of ordinary language.
Issue Date:1996
Rights Information:Copyright 1996 Smith, Lynette Ellen
Date Available in IDEALS:2011-05-07
Identifier in Online Catalog:AAI9712440
OCLC Identifier:(UMI)AAI9712440

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