Philosophical Studies

, Volume 176, Issue 5, pp 1367–1376 | Cite as

Soames on the Tractatus

  • Peter HanksEmail author

Soames devotes the first four chapters of the second volume of his new history of analytic philosophy to Wittgenstein’s Tractatus. His main topics are (1) the metaphysics of the Tractatus, (2) the nature of tractarian propositions, (3) the logic of the Tractatus, and (4) Wittgenstein’s criterion of intelligibility and its applications. My focus will be on (1) and (2), in particular on Soames’s interpretation of the substance argument for simple objects and his remarks on the tractarian idea that a proposition is “the propositional sign in its projective relation to the world,” (3.12).1

The substance argument

The so-called substance argument for simple objects occupies four remarks in the 2.02’s:

The object is simple.


Objects form the substance of the world. Therefore they cannot be compound.


If the world had no substance, then whether a proposition had sense would depend on whether another proposition was true.


It would then be impossible to form a picture of...



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Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of MinnesotaMinneapolisUSA

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