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elementary proposition

Subject Philosophy

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781405106795.2004.x


L ogic, philosophy of language, metaphysics in Wittgenstein 's early philosophy, an elementary proposition is the simplest kind of proposition. It is the basis for analyzing other kinds of propositions but cannot itself be analyzed in terms of other propositions. Hence, elementary propositions are where the analysis of propositions terminates. Elementary propositions, which give language the fundamental capacity to picture the world, consist of names . The way in which the names are combined represents the way in which objects hang together in a state of affairs . Elementary propositions are meant to be logically independent of each other and not to contradict or entail one another, although Wittgenstein later recognized overwhelming difficulties with this requirement. What elementary propositions depict are always positive facts . By depicting the totality of possible states of affairs as the world, the totality of elementary propositions forms a complete description of the world. Wittgenstein never gives an example of what such a proposition would be, and elementary propositions lose their importance in his later period. For some logical positivists , an elementary proposition is also called a basic proposition or protocol sentence. “The simplest kind of proposition, an elementary proposition, asserts the existence of a state of affairs.” Wittgenstein, Tractatus ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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