The general propositional form is a variable’

Mind 113 (449):43-56 (2004)
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Abstract

Wittgenstein presents in the Tractatus a variable purporting to capture the general form of proposition. One understanding of what Wittgenstein is doing there, an understanding in line with the ‘new’ reading of his work championed by Diamond, Conant and others, sees it as a deflationary or even an implosive move—a move by which a concept sometimes put by philosophers to distinctively metaphysical use is replaced, in a perspicuous notation, by an innocent device of generalization, thereby dispersing the clouds of philosophy that formerly surrounded the concept. By asking how Wittgenstein supposed his variable to work, and what work he imagined it was fit for, the paper questions the adequacy of that understanding

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Peter Sullivan
University of Stirling

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