The First Station: Logico-Linguistic (Anti-)Metaphysics
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“The world is all that is the case.” Thus begins the Tractatus, and thereby earns, legitimately enough, the label of being, or at the least beginning as, a work of metaphysics. Famously, that world of the Tractatus is made up of facts, of atomic facts, of states of affairs, and these, in turn, are constituted of objects.1 The atomic facts are logically independent, meaning to say that “Any one [fact] can either be the case or not be the case, and everything else remain the same” (TLP 1.21). The objects which make up these atomic facts are otherwise independent, and, in fact, exhibit a bewildering set of relationships between them: “The thing is independent, in so far as it can occur in all possible circumstances, but this form of independence is a form of connexion with the atomic fact, a form of dependence” (TLP 2.0122). This is, or seems to be, a metaphysical description of the world, or reality. Indeed, it speaks of both — the world and reality — in explicit renderings which have rendered those two terms — “reality” and “world” — notorious objects of interpretation themselves. But before going into specific interpretative quandaries let us continue with the naïve standard story.
KeywordsOrdinary Language Vienna Circle Atomic Fact Elementary Proposition Game Plan
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