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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

(p.186) 12 Negative Elementary Propositions
Philosophical Interpretations

Robert J. Fogelin (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

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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