Tuesday, November 13, 2007

5.55 We must now answer a priori the question about all possible forms of elementary propositions.

An elementary proposition consists of names. Since we cannot give the number of names with different meanings [Bedeutung], though, we cannot give the composition of the elementary proposition either.

This last sentence is odd. What is “the elementary proposition”? Wittgenstein throughout uses the definite article where it makes more sense in English to use a plural or an indefinite article, as I have done here in the penultimate sentence. But surely being unable to number the names would not prevent us from giving the composition of some elementary propositions. He writes the last sentence as if either there is only one elementary proposition (and why would that be?) or there are more than one, but all must be given or none can be (and why would that be?). The a priori is suspect here, I feel.

No comments: