The Enchantment of Words: Wittgenstein's Tractatus by Denis McManus

By Denis McManus

The appeal of Words is a research of Wittgenstein's early masterpiece, the Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus. contemporary years have visible a superb revival of curiosity within the Tractatus. McManus's examine of the paintings deals novel readings of all its significant subject matters and sheds mild on concerns in metaphysics, ethics and the philosophies of brain, language, and common sense.

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Extra info for The Enchantment of Words: Wittgenstein's Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus

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Logic may reveal to us certain kinds of truth, but it may be necessary to analyse or otherwise re-express our thoughts if we are to see how those truths bear on those thoughts. By the same token, to recognize in the first place that there are certain patterns that are characteristic of valid arguments may require that those arguments come in the right form, appropriately manipulated. Opinions on the importance of logic have varied throughout the history of philosophy. For example, the belief that its truths are trivial—that all it can tell us is, for instance, that if A and B are true, then A is true—has recurrently driven logic to the periphery of philosophy.

Sciences such as physics and geometry reveal particular types of truth, physical truths and geometrical truths. ‘[I]t falls to logic’, on the other hand, ‘to discern the laws of truth’ (1997 [1919], p. 325), of truth as such, rather than the truths of some particular domain. Logic captures that which ‘holds with the utmost generality for all thinking, whatever its subject-matter’, and ‘[c]onsequently we can also say: logic is the science of the most general laws of truth’ (1997 [1897], p. ¹⁰ Hence, the attempt to show that arithmetical truths can be deduced solely from logical truths was an effort ‘to ascertain how far one could proceed in arithmetic by inferences alone, with the sole support of those laws of thought that transcend all particulars’ (1967 [1879], p.

192–200; Dummett 1991, chs. 9 and 11; Kenny 1995, ch. 5. Some Historical Preliminaries 23 identity. Such statements inform us that the object which we have got hold of under one description, ‘the number of Fs’, is one and the same object as that which we have got hold of under another, ‘the number of Gs’. Frege’s definition of equinumerosity tells us that when the ‘Just as many . ’ propositions are true, then so is the following: The class of Fs is equinumerous with the class of Gs. An identity statement that this suggests is: The class of concepts that are equinumerous to the concept F is identical with the class of concepts that are equinumerous to the concept G.

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