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Elucidating the ‘Tractatus’Wittgenstein's Early Philosophy of Logic and Language$
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Marie McGinn

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780199244447

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2007

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199244447.001.0001

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Wittgenstein's Critique of Frege and Russell 2: The Propositions of Logic

Wittgenstein's Critique of Frege and Russell 2: The Propositions of Logic

(p.53) 3 Wittgenstein's Critique of Frege and Russell 2: The Propositions of Logic
Elucidating the ‘Tractatus’

Marie McGinn (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

Wittgenstein’s objection to Frege and Russell’s conception of the relation between the laws of logic and actual inferences is, at bottom, a repetition of his fundamental objection to the universalist conception of logic. There are no indefinable logical relations whose interconnections are expressed in substantial laws of the form (Ap)(Aq)(p&q) → p. The inference from ‘Socrates is bald and Socrates is snub-nosed’ to ‘Socrates is snub-nosed’ does not go via, or in any way depend upon, a law that connects propositions of the form p&q with propositions of the form p. To suppose that it does is, first of all, to treat the logical constants as indefinables, that is, as substantive expressions equivalent to functions and relations. Secondly, it is to treat the so-called laws of logic as substantive, general propositions that express laws of truth that are authoritative for correct reasoning, and which we must think in accordance with if we are to think truly.

Keywords:   laws of logic, inferences, unversalist, form

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