Logic Must Take Care of Itself

Tamara Dobler


This paper argues that there is a tension in Wittgenstein’s early conception of logic
between the view that logic and language take care of themselves and the view
inherited from Russell and Frege that logical analysis is ‘the caretaker’ of
My suggestion is that much of Wittgenstein’s criticism of Frege and Russell rests
upon an alternative conception of logic and language animated by his preoccupation
with the nature of the proposition and its sense. This conception is anticipated in
his early insight that ‘logic must take care of itself’ and comes ever more into
focus as he writes the Notebooks. I also argue, however, that at that time
Wittgenstein’s thoughts about the self-sufficiency of logic were not radical enough
to escape from the Russellian idea of analysis. I thus suggest that the main
motivation for Wittgenstein’s ‘theory of logical portrayal’ might be triggered by
what I shall call ‘Russell’s need’: the need “to justify the process of


philosophy; 20th century philosophy; Wittgenstein Ludwig; logic; logical analysis

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