Psychophysical and tractarian analysis

Perspectives on Science 11 (3):285-317 (2003)
This paper argues for a physicalistic interpretation of Wittgenstein's Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus. Wittgenstein's general conception of world and language analysis is interpreted and exemplified in relation to the historical background of the psychophysical analysis of sense data and, in particular, color analysis. Three of his main principles of analysis—the principle of independence, the context principle and the principle of atomism—are interpreted and justified on the background of physicalism. From his proof of color exclusion in the Tractatus, it is shown that Wittgenstein had a detailed conception of how philosophy should fulfil the task of distinguishing between sense and nonsense using physicalistic presuppositions
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