History and Philosophy of Logic 7 (1):43-56 (1986)
|Abstract||The views on contradiction and consistency that Wittgenstein expressed in his later writings have met with misunderstanding and almost uniform hositility. In this paper, I trace the roots of these views by attempting to show that, in his early writings, Wittgenstein accorded a ?unique status? to tautologies and contradictions, marking them off logically from genuine propositions. This is integral both to his Tractatus project of furnishing a theory of inference, and to the enterprise of explaining the nature of the Satz (statement, proposition). Wittgenstein mantained that contradictions are not false. In his early writings this surprising thesis is a consequence of his view that contradictions are not statements. In his late writings he continues to advocate the thesis, but for quite different reasons. In these late writings, I contend, Wittgenstein succeeds in making the surprising thesis plausible|
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