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Philosophical Interpretations$
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Robert J. Fogelin

Print publication date: 1992

Print ISBN-13: 9780195071627

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2003

DOI: 10.1093/019507162X.001.0001

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Negative Elementary Propositions

Negative Elementary Propositions

Chapter:
(p.186) 12 Negative Elementary Propositions
Source:
Philosophical Interpretations
Author(s):

Robert J. Fogelin (Contributor Webpage)

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/019507162X.003.0014

Contrary to explicit statements in the text of the Tractatus Logico‐Philosophicus, this essay argues that the notion of a negative elementary proposition makes sense within the Tractarian system. The suggestion depends upon separating two strains in Wittgenstein's account of propositional meaning: the picture theory of meaning, and the truth‐functional account of meaning. A proposition could be considered elementary if it contained only one elementary proposition or one elementary picture. In this approach, if p is an elementary proposition, then so is not‐p. Though this change would involve substantial revisions of the Tractatus, it squares with Wittgenstein's fundamental view that logical constants are not representatives.

Keywords:   elementary propositions, logical constants, picture theory of meaning, Tractatus, truth‐functional analysis, Wittgenstein

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