Russellian and Wittgensteinian Atomism

Philosophical Investigations 24 (1):30-54 (2001)
  Copy   BIBTEX

Abstract

One difference between Russell’s logical atomism in The Philosophy of Logical Atomism and Wittgenstein’s in the Tractatus is that Russell’s doctrine is explicitly epistemological, whereas Wittgenstein’s is not; another difference is that Wittgenstein gives an a priori argument for the doctrine of logical atomism whereas Russell gives no such argument. I argue that these two differences are instructively connected: Russell’s focus on epistemology prevents him from being able to give a motivated argument for the truth of logical atomism. Furthermore, I argue that this is not just a contingent failure of Russell’s system: no primarily epistemological atomism can avail itself of Wittgenstein’s style of a priori argument for the truth of atomism. An important suggestion of the argument, illuminating with respect to the subsequent history of analytic philosophy, is that Russell’s logical atomism already contains the seeds of verificationism in a nascent form, whereas Wittgenstein’s atomism has no tendency toward verification.

Links

PhilArchive



    Upload a copy of this work     Papers currently archived: 94,678

External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server

Through your library

Similar books and articles

Logical atomism in Russell and Wittgenstein.Ian Proops - 2011 - In Oskari Kuusela & Marie McGinn (eds.), The Oxford Handbook of Wittgenstein. Oxford, England: Oxford University Press.
On Russell's Logical Atomism.Landon D. C. Elkind - 2018 - In Landon D. C. Elkind & Gregory Landini (eds.), The Philosophy of Logical Atomism: A Centenary Reappraisal. New York, NY, USA: Palgrave Macmillan. pp. 3-37.
Russell's Logical atomism.Bertrand Russell - 1972 - London,: Fontana. Edited by David Pears & Bertrand Russell.
Index.Hans Sluga - 1989 - In Dayton Z. Phillips & Peter G. Winch (eds.), Wittgenstein. Blackwell. pp. 151–154.
Review: D. Bostock. Russell’s Logical Atomism. [REVIEW]Gregory Landini - 2013 - Journal for the History of Analytical Philosophy 2 (1).
Russell's logical atomism.David Bostock - 2012 - Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Wittgenstein's logical atomism.Ian Proops - 2004 - Stanford Encyclopaedia of Philosophy (65):374-376.
Logical Atomism.Leo K. C. Cheung - 2017 - In Hans-Johann Glock & John Hyman (eds.), A Companion to Wittgenstein. Chichester, West Sussex, UK: Wiley-Blackwell. pp. 125–140.

Analytics

Added to PP
2009-01-28

Downloads
70 (#231,427)

6 months
15 (#235,985)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Author's Profile

Paul Livingston
University of New Mexico

Citations of this work

Philosophical analysis in the twentieth century - a review.Paul Livingston - 2006 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 49 (3):290 – 311.
Der doppelte Boden des Logischen Atomismus.Holger Leerhoff - 2008 - History of Philosophy & Logical Analysis 11 (1):44-64.

Add more citations

References found in this work

No references found.

Add more references