Analysis and the Elucidatory Interpretation of Wittgenstein’s Tractatus

Andreas Blank


In her “elucidatory” interpretation of the Tractatus, Marie McGinn has suggested to
exclude Wittgenstein’s view of logical analysis from the elucidatory core of the
work. However, her suggestion depends strongly on Wittgenstein’s later critique of
his earlier view of analysis, which partially distorts the content of his earlier
ideas. In particular, the Tractatus explicitly excludes a type of analysis that leads
to particular forms of elementary sentences and simple objects from the realm of
logic. Rather, the early Wittgenstein connects the idea of analysis with the idea of
the purely descriptive nature of philosophy. Because the type of analysis leading to
purely descriptive insights only makes implicit knowledge explicit, and thus does not
have to do with explanation or theory construction, it should be seen as forming a
part of an elucidatory strategy.


philosophy; 20th century philosophy; Wittgenstein Ludwig; New Wittgenstein; logical form; middle Wittgenstein; philosophy; elucidation

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