Wittgenstein’s Reductio / Review of work on Necessity

Volume 10.3 of The Journal for the History of Analytical Philosophy (JHAP) has now been published online, with full open-access:


It features an article by Gilad Nir, entitled “Wittgenstein’s Reductio.” Here is the abstract:

By means of a reductio argument, Wittgenstein’s Tractatus calls into question the very idea that we can represent logical form. My paper addresses three interrelated questions: first, what conception of logical form is at issue in this argument? Second, whose conception of logic is this argument intended to undermine? And third, what could count as an adequate response to it? I show that the argument construes logical form as the universal, underlying correlation of any representation and the reality it represents. I further show that the argument seeks to undermine core commitments of Frege’s and Russell’s. But the reductio, as I read it, is not intended to establish the falsity of any of their specific assumptions. Rather, its aim is to make manifest the indeterminacies that underlie the language in which these assumptions are framed, and establish the need for a transformation of that language. So understood, Wittgenstein’s argument exemplifies his idea that philosophy is not a theory, but an activity of elucidation. The interpretation I propose bears on one of the central debates in the literature, namely how we should understand Wittgenstein’s contention that his elucidations succeed despite being nonsensical.

The volume also contains a review of Sanford Shieh, Necessity Lost (Oxford University Press, 2019), written by Roberta Ballarin.

JHAP is a free, open-access, peer-reviewed journal. It is available at https://jhaponline.org/. Submissions welcome!