Wittgenstein’s Ways

  • Nikolay MilkovEmail author
Part of the The Frontiers Collection book series (FRONTCOLL)


Aristotle first investigated different modes, or ways of being. Unfortunately, in the modern literature the discussion of this concept has been largely neglected. Only recently, the interest towards the concept of ways increased. Usually, it is explored in connection with the existence of universals and particulars. The approach we are going to follow in this chapter is different. It discusses Wittgenstein’s conception of higher ontological levels as ways of arranging elements of lower ontological levels. In the Tractatus, Wittgenstein developed his ontology of ways (Art und Weise) in six steps: (i) Constructing states of affairs out of objects; (ii) Constructing propositions out of states of affairs; (iii) Constructing propositional signs; (iv) Constructing thoughts with the help of propositional signs; (v) Constructing truth / falsity; (vi) Constructing works of art. In Philosophical Investigations Wittgenstein added further five ways of producing new ontological levels: (vii) the meaning of a proposition is the way in which it is verified; (viii) the child gets command on language/calculus by way of replicating demonstrations of the teacher; (ix) the products of mind are ways of doing something; (x) an action is a way of carrying out the instructions for acting.


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Philosophy DepartmentUniversität PaderbornPaderbornGermany

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