Article ID: CBB067449582

The Ambiguous Pictures in the Theory of Language in Wittgenstein’s Tractatus (2016)


This paper explores the ambiguities in Wittgenstein’s Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus that result from the conceptualization of the picture as a middle term in between the translations between language and the world. The picture is an odd inclusion that cannot help suggesting the work of the cognitive mind, odd because the analytic tendency in the Tractatus is to foreground the logical structure of the correspondences between language and the world that should not necessitate the mediation of the picturing mind. In my close reading of the statements in the Tractatus that refer to the picture, I show how ‘the picture theory of language’ cannot produce a plausible account of the truth or reality mainly because the concept of the picture in the Tractatus is not developed adequately and therefore cannot explain how linguistic propositions can ever correspond to any reality. In following Wittgenstein’s thinking on the Tractatus picture, I show that this inability results from the theory itself since it does not allow the picture and hence the picturing mind to deal with any sense of ambiguity and to exist in a sufficiently independent way from the facts of language and the world.

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Authors & Contributors
Antonello, Pierpaolo
Harrison, Robert Pogue
Girard, René
Bensaude-Vincent, Bernadette
Perspectives on Science
Configurations: A Journal of Literature, Science, and Technology
Studies in History and Philosophy of Science
Journal for General Philosophy of Science
History and Philosophy of Logic
Historiographia Linguistica: International Journal for the History of the Language Sciences
Oxford University Press
Faber & Faber
Kluwer Academic
Presses Universitaires de France
Language and languages
Philosophy of science
Wittgenstein, Ludwig
Hertz, Heinrich Rudolph
Popper, Karl Raimund
Frege, Gottlob
Time Periods
20th century
20th century, early
19th century
21st century
Great Britain
United States

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