The Joint Philosophical Program of Russell and Wittgenstein (March–November 1912) and its Downfall

Nikolay Milkov


Between march and november 1912 Russell and Wittgenstein elaborated a joint programm
in philosophy. Unfortunately, it was short-lived. In december 1912 Wittgenstein
visited Frege, and after this he abandoned it in three steps.

(1) He criticized Russell’s Theory of Judgment, according to which the logical form
of judgment consists of three elements (mind, individuals, epistemic relation). To
Wittgenstein, logical form is shown; it is not articulated. (2) Wittgenstein accepted
that sense-data, or objects, are the unconfigurated substance of the world. We never
know them as such, but only when they are organized in a certain form. (3) He
developed the idea that there are many possible worlds, only one of which is real.
Parts of the real world (states of affairs) make parts of the possible world
(propositions) true. Whereas Russell accepted (1), he failed to understand (2) and
(3). This determined the differences between Wittgenstein’s and Russell’s logical


philosophy; 20th century philosophy; Wittgenstein Ludwig; complex; fact; matter; logical constant; sense data; truth maker; truth table; object

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