Putting form before function: Logical grammar in Frege, Russell, and Wittgenstein

Philosophers' Imprint 4 (2):1-47 (2004)
Abstract
The positions of Frege, Russell and Wittgenstein on the priority of complexes over (propositional) functions are sketched, challenging those who take the "judgment centered" aspects of the Tractatus to be inherited from Frege not Russell. Frege's views on the priority of judgments are problematic, and unlike Wittgenstein's. Russell's views on these matters, and their development, are discussed in detail, and shown to be more sophisticated than usually supposed. Certain misreadings of Russell, including those regarding the relationship between propositional functions and universals, are exposed. Wittgenstein's and Russell's views on logical grammar are shown to be very similar. Russell's type theory does not countenance types of genuine entities nor metaphysical truths that cannot be put into words, contrary to conventional wisdom. I relate this to the debate over "inexpressible truths" in the Tractatus. I lastly comment on the changes to Russell's views brought about by Wittgenstein's influence.
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