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The power and the limits of Wittgenstein's N operator

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Abstract:

The power of Wittgenstein's N operator described in the Tractatus is that every proposition which can be expressed in the Russellian variant of the predicate calculus familiar to him has an equivalent proposition in an extended variant of his N operator notation. This remains true if the bound variables are understood in the usual inclusive sense or in Wittgenstein's restrictive exclusive sense. The problematic limit of Wittgenstein's N operator comes from his claim that symbols alone reveal the logical status of propositions. This would require knowledge of the size of the Tractarian domain of unchangeable, simple objects, and this, Wittgenstein maintained, cannot be known.

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/01445340500420964

Affiliations: University of San Diego, Department of Philosophy, 5998 Alcala Park, San Diego, CA, 92110, USA

Publication date: May 1, 2006

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