Language and Logic in Wittgenstein's Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus

Dissertation, University of Stirling (2010)
Abstract
This thesis discusses some central aspects of Wittgenstein's conception of language and logic in his Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus and brings them into relation with the philosophies of Frege and Russell. The main contention is that a fruitful way of understanding the Tractatus is to see it as responding to tensions in Frege's conception of logic and Russell's theory of judgement. In the thesis the philosophy of the Tractatus is presented as developing from these two strands of criticism and thus as the culmination of the philosophy of logic and language developed in the early analytic period. Part one examines relevant features of Frege's philosophy of logic. Besides shedding light on Frege's philosophy in its own right, it aims at preparing the ground for a discussion of those aspects of the Tractatus' conception of logic which derive from Wittgenstein's critical response to Frege. Part two first presents Russell's early view on truth and judgement, before considering several variants of the multiple relation theory of judgement, devised in opposition to it. Part three discusses the development of Wittgenstein's conception of language and logic, beginning with Wittgenstein's criticism of the multiple relation theory and his early theory of sense, seen as containing the seeds of the picture theory of propositions presented in the Tractatus. I then consider the relation between Wittgenstein's pictorial conception of language and his conception of logic, arguing that Wittgenstein's understanding of sense in terms of bipolarity grounds his view of logical complexity and of the essence of logic as a whole. This view, I show, is free from the internal tensions that affect Frege's understanding of the nature of logic.
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