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Wittgenstein on Logic as the Method of PhilosophyRe-examining the Roots and Development of Analytic Philosophy$
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Oskari Kuusela

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780198829751

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: February 2019

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198829751.001.0001

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The Tractatus’ Philosophy of Logic and Carnap

The Tractatus’ Philosophy of Logic and Carnap

(p.77) 3 The Tractatus’ Philosophy of Logic and Carnap
Wittgenstein on Logic as the Method of Philosophy

Oskari Kuusela

Oxford University Press

This chapter discusses the relation between the Tractatus’ and Carnap’s philosophies of logic, arguing that Carnap’s position in The Logical Syntax of Language is in certain respects much closer to the Tractatus than has been recognized. Explained in Carnapian terms, the goal of the Tractatus is to introduce, by means of quasi-syntactical sentences, logical principles and concepts of a logical language to be used in philosophical clarification in the formal mode. A distinction between the material and formal mode is therefore part of the Tractatus’ view, and contrary to Carnap’s criticism, the sentences of the Tractatus can be clearly distinguished from nonsensical metaphysical statements. Moreover, despite the Tractatus’ rejection of syntactical statements, there is a correspondence between Wittgenstein’s saying–showing distinction and Carnap’s object-language/syntax-language distinction. Both constitute ways to clarify the logical distinction between the logico-syntactical determinations concerning language and the use of language according to such determinations, a distinction absent in Frege and Russell. Wittgenstein’s distinction thus constitutes a precursor of the object-language/syntax-language distinction which the latter in a certain sense affirms. The saying–showing distinction agrees with Carnap’s position also in marking logic as something that is not true/false about either language or reality, a view that underlies Carnap’s principle of tolerance. The standard view that Carnap overcame the philosophy of logic of the Tractatus in the 1930s must therefore be regarded as problematic and misleading.

Keywords:   Tractatus, Carnap, method of logical syntax, formal and material mode of speech, syntax-language, saying vs showing, truth of logical accounts

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