Philosophical Investigations 34 (1):77-93 (2011)

Frege famously argued that truth is not a property or relation. In the “Notes on Logic” Wittgenstein emphasised the bi-polarity of propositions which he called their sense. He argued that “propositions by virtue of sense cannot have predicates or relations.” This led to his fundamental thought that the logical constants do not represent predicates or relations. The idea, however, has wider ramifications than that. It is not just that propositions cannot have relations to other propositions but also that they cannot have relations to anything at all. The paper explores the consequences of this insight for the way in which we should read the Tractatus. In the “Notes on Logic” the insight led to Wittgenstein's emphasis on “facts” in any attempt to understand the nature of symbolism. This emphasis is continued in the Tractatus. It is central to his view that propositions are facts which picture facts which prevent us from construing such picturing as a relation between what pictures and what is pictured. It illuminates the importance of context principle with regard to the distinction between showing and saying to which Wittgenstein attached so much importance and it underlies the non-relational view of psychological propositions which he advocates. Finally, if propositions by virtue of sense cannot have predicates or relations the paradox at the end of a work which consist largely of propositions about propositions becomes intelligible
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1111/j.1467-9205.2010.01420.x
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 71,379
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Wittgenstein, Truth-Functions, and Generality.Michael Scanlan - 1995 - Journal of Philosophical Research 20:175-193.
The Tractatus on Logical Consequence.José L. Zalabardo - 2010 - European Journal of Philosophy 18 (3):425-442.
Wittgenstein and the Naming Relation.Paul D. Wienpahl - 1964 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 7 (1-4):329 – 347.
Theories of Properties, Relations, and Propositions.George Bealer - 1979 - Journal of Philosophy 76 (11):634-648.
Logic and Metaphysics in Early Analytic Philosophy.Michael Beaney - 2012 - In Lila Haaparanta & Heikki Koskinen (eds.), Categories of Being: Essays on Metaphysics and Logic. Oxford University Press, Usa. pp. 257.
Names for Relations.Peter van Inwagen - 2006 - Philosophical Perspectives 20 (1):453–477.
The Method of the Tractatus.Nikolay Milkov - 2003 - Contributions of the Austrian Ludwig Wittgenstein Society 11:139-41.


Added to PP index

Total views
121 ( #97,978 of 2,519,690 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
2 ( #270,824 of 2,519,690 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes