Ramsey, ‘Universals’ and atomic propositions

Steven Methven
Oxford University
ABSTRACTIn ‘Universals’, Ramsey declares that we do not, and cannot, know the forms of atomic propositions. A year later, in a symposium with Braithwaite and Joseph, he announces a change of mind: atomic propositions may, after all, be discoverable by analysis. It is clear from the 1926 paper that Ramsey intends this to be a revision of the 1925 claim. Puzzlingly, however, Ramsey does not mention analysis in 1925. My task in this article is to provide a justification for that change of mind. My argument consists of two parts. I first show what relation holds between the negative 1925 assertion and the more positive 1926 assertion which allows us to read the latter claim as a retraction of the former, as Ramsey appears to have intended it. Then I shall argue that the retraction of the 1925 claim is forced upon Ramsey by reflection on the fact that three theses, all of which he held in or around the relevant period, are, rather surprisingly, revealed to be inconsistent.
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DOI 10.1080/09608788.2018.1477731
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References found in this work BETA

Tractatus logico-philosophicus.Ludwig Wittgenstein - 2004 - Filosoficky Casopis 52:336-341.
Externalist Theories of Empirical Knowledge.Laurence BonJour - 1980 - Midwest Studies in Philosophy 5 (1):53-73.
Was He Trying to Whistle It?Peter Ms Hacker - 2000 - In Alice Crary & Rupert J. Read (eds.), The New Wittgenstein. Routledge.
Universals.F. P. Ramsey - 1925 - Mind 34 (136):401-417.
Principia Mathematica.A. N. Whitehead & B. Russell - 1931 - Erkenntnis 2:73-75.

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