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Wittgenstein’s Tractatus and the Descriptiveness of Elementary Propositions

Abdurrazzaq Hesamifar ; Imam Khomeini International University, Faculty of Humanities, Qazvin, Soleymani Blvd., 34149 16818, Iran
Alinaqi Baqershahi ; Imam Khomeini International University, Faculty of Humanities, Qazvin, Soleymani Blvd., 34149 16818, Iran

Puni tekst: engleski pdf 404 Kb

str. 171-189

preuzimanja: 159


Puni tekst: hrvatski pdf 404 Kb

str. 188-188

preuzimanja: 87


Puni tekst: njemački pdf 404 Kb

str. 188-188

preuzimanja: 69


Puni tekst: francuski pdf 404 Kb

str. 189-189

preuzimanja: 107



According to Wittgenstein, the elementary propositions cannot be analysed into any further proposition. In T. 4.22, Wittgenstein speaks of names as the constituents of the elementary proposition. What does he mean by names? He does not mean proper names because such names refer to complex things. According to him, “a name means an object” (T. 3.203), “objects are simple” (T. 2.02), and the “analysis of propositions must bring us to the elementary propositions which consist of names in immediate combination” (T, 4.221). There is a dispute over the descriptiveness of elementary propositions. The picture theory, accepted by the early Wittgenstein, tells us that it is necessary to refer to some existent objects for a proposition to have a meaning. However, in Tractatus, there is no exemplification for the elementary propositions and their constituents, i.e. objects. Thus, the equation between the states of affairs and the elementary propositions or between objects and proper names may turn out to be just a logical equation without any empirical content, despite the positivistic reading of Tractatus promoting empiristic interpretation. This paper tries to show that by drawing on the picture theory the elementary propositions should describe something in the real world. Nevertheless, since what is depicted by them cannot be designated and referred by any ostensive definition, except in the logical sense of word, the way in which they depict reality is doubtful and controversial.

Ključne riječi

elementary proposition, complex proposition, object, states of affairs, name, situation

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