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Wittgenstein's Early Philosophy$
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José L. Zalabardo

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780199691524

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199691524.001.0001

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Reference, Simplicity, and Necessary Existence in the Tractatus *

Reference, Simplicity, and Necessary Existence in the Tractatus *

(p.119) 5 Reference, Simplicity, and Necessary Existence in the Tractatus *
Wittgenstein's Early Philosophy

José L. Zalabardo

Oxford University Press

Many interpreters of the Tractatus accept that the book endorses an argument for simples based on the reflection that, since complexes exist only contingently, if names referred to complexes the propositions in which they figure would lack sense if their referents went out of existence. More specifically, most interpreters read 2.0211–2.0212 as putting forward this argument. The main goal of this chapter is to attack this reading and to put forward an alternative. It is argued that there is no good reason for thinking that the Tractatus advances this argument, and that 2.0211–2, in particular, should not be read in this way. The chapter puts forward an alternative reading of the passage.

Keywords:   Wittgenstein, Tractatus, simple objects, names

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