(2013) The doctrine of external relations in Wittgenstein's early philosophy

Jakub Mácha


Lecture in Bergen 2013, Mar. 8. Russell and Moore are known as advocates of the doctrine of external relations. This is the view that all relations are external. They adopted the internal/external distinction from Bradley and the Neo-Hegelian movement at the end of the 19th century. I will argue that Wittgenstein borrowed this distinction and a number of insights related with it primarily from Moore. Wittgenstein was committed to this doctrine too, but in a different sense than Russell and Moore. Although he shared with Moore and Russell the view that all relations between elementary propositions are external, he denied that all relations between simple objects are external. Moreover, he sides with Bradley on the issue of unreality of all relations. Finally, I shall argue that despite the doctrine of external relations Wittgenstein conceives logical relations as internal and necessary.


philosophy; Wittgenstein Ludwig; 20th century philosophy; internal relation; external relation; Russell Bertrand; Moore George Edward; logic; object; monism

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