A Note on Tractatus 5.521

Nuno Venturinha


In this paper, I shall focus on the topic of generality in Wittgenstein’s Tractatus, more specifically on the problems raised by §5.521.
In his “Introduction” to the book, Russell seems to make an incoherent assumption,
alluding to a “derivation of general propositions from conjunctions and
disjunctions”, a perspective actually ascribed to Frege and Russell himself at
§5.521. However, in the 1930s, Wittgenstein would astonishingly criticize his earlier
conception of generality, which took “(x).fx” to be a logical product and “(x).fx” to be a logical sum. Following the lead of
H.O. Mounce, I shall try to make clear that Wittgenstein’s criticism is directed at
his earlier view that the content of general propositions can be enumerated, not at the way in which he introduced
such propositions. But, on the basis of the third of the surviving wartime notebooks
and the so-called Prototractatus, I go deeper into the
question, analysing some hitherto neglected aspects.


philosophy; 20th century philosophy; Wittgenstein Ludwig; generality; innumerability; logical analysis; logical product; logical sum; Nachlass; quantification; truth function; vagueness

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