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The Ontology of the Tractatus

  • Anne Narveson (a1)


It is often quite proper, philosophically speaking, to raise objections to a philosophical inquiry because it is seeking an answer to a question which ought not to have been raised in the first place. So in this instance, one might maintain that it is illegitimate to ask questions about the metaphysics of the Tractatus, just because the Tractatus is not the sort of book which is supposed to have a particular metaphysics. The Tractatus, we have heard said, is a book on the philosophy of language, not one on metaphysics; it is a specification of what language is, or ought to be like, and is not meant to have anything to do with the metaphysical constitution of the world.



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1 G.E.M. Anscombe, An Introduction to Wittgenstein’s Tractatus [London, 1959], p. 46–50. She cites passages 3.23 and 2.0211-2 of the Tractatus in support of this view.

3 Irving Copi, “Objects, Properties and Relations in the Tractatus ,” Mind, 1958, vol. 67.

4 Erik Stenius, Wittgenstein’s Tractatus [Cornell, 1960], pp. 62–3.

5 Copi, op. cit., p. 163–5.

6 J. O. Urmson, Philosophical Analysis [Oxford, 1960], 57–60.

7 Anscombe, op. cit., p. 110–11

8 Copi, op. cit., p. 165.

9 Stenius, op. cit., p. 68.

The Ontology of the Tractatus

  • Anne Narveson (a1)


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