Explaining 'the hardness of the logical must': Wittgenstein on grammar, arbitrariness and logical necessity

Philosophical Investigations 24 (1):1–29 (2001)
This paper explains Wittegnstein’s understanding of the ‘grammar’ of our language, tracing its origins in the Tractatus’s concept of logical syntax, and then examining the senses in which Wittegnstein, in his later work, viewed grammar as being ‘arbitrary’. Then, armed with this understanding, it moves on to the task of examining how, within the framework of a Wittegnsteinian view of language, we should understand the inescapable ‘compellingness’ of logical necessity – what Wittegnstein calls the “hardness of the logical must”. Whereas it is often thought that Wittegnstein’s views on the nature of the ‘grammar’ of our concpets leads him towards a vitiatingly conventionalist or anti‐realist understanding of necessity, in which its logical ‘superhardness’ becomes problematic, this paper will argue that there is actually no such tension in Wittegnstein’s thought. In fact, it will be argued, an understanding of the ways in which our conceptual grammar is arbitrary casts a great deal of light on how it is that our concepts can nevertheless support a logically superhard, and normatively commanding, notion of necessity. In support of this view, I distinguish Wittegnstein’s views on necessity from the ‘classical’ conventionalism of the Vienna Circle, and from the radical conventionalism of Michael Dummett, and defend Wittegnstein’s view from a powerful recent attack from Quassim Cassam
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1111/1467-9205.00133
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history Request removal from index
Download options
PhilPapers Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy on self-archival     Papers currently archived: 16,667
External links
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library
References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Monthly downloads

Added to index


Total downloads

48 ( #71,159 of 1,726,249 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

3 ( #231,316 of 1,726,249 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature

Start a new thread
There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.