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Tractarian objects and logical categories

Abstract

It has been much debated whether Tractarian objects are what Russell would have called particulars or whether they include also properties and relations. This paper claims that the debate is misguided: there is no logical category such that Wittgenstein intended the reader of the Tractatus to understand his objects either as providing examples of or as not providing examples of that category. This is not to say that Wittgenstein set himself against the very idea of a logical category: quite the contrary. However, where Russell presents his logical variety of particulars and the various types of universal, and Frege presents his of objects and the various types of function, Wittgenstein denies the propriety of such a priori expositions. Wittgenstein envisages a variety of logical types of entity but insists that the nature of these types is something to be discovered only through analysis.

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Author information

Correspondence to Colin Johnston.

Additional information

This research was conducted whilst holding a Jacobsen Research Fellowship at the University of London.

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Johnston, C. Tractarian objects and logical categories. Synthese 167, 145–161 (2009). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11229-008-9307-9

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Keywords

  • Wittgenstein
  • Object
  • Logical form
  • Analysis