Metaphysics

In Hans-Johann Glock & John Hyman (eds.), A Companion to Wittgenstein. Chichester, West Sussex, UK: Wiley-Blackwell. pp. 209–227 (2017)
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Abstract

Throughout its long history metaphysics has been variously conceived. At its most sublime, it has been taken to be the study of the super‐sensible, in particular of the existence of a god, the nature of the soul, and the possibility of an afterlife. When the young Ludwig Wittgenstein entered the lists, it was entirely reasonable to conceive of metaphysics in this manner. Its subject matter was held to be the language‐independent and thought‐independent de re necessities of the world. The Tractatus is dominated by three problems: first, the nature of logic and logical necessity; secondly, the essence of the proposition and hence the characterization of the general propositional form; and thirdly, the intentionality of the proposition. Logical propositions are combinations of elementary propositions by means of truth‐functional logical connectives. The metaphysics adumbrated in the Tractatus, Wittgenstein thought, was required for the possibility of representation and for the possibility of logic.

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