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Abstract

The imaginary scenarios that appear in nearly every work of the later Wittgenstein – ones involving laughing cattle, disembodied eyes that see, and the like – are decidedly absent from the Tractatus. What necessitated this change in methodology? A comparison of the Tractatus with the Philosophical Remarks, Wittgenstein's first major work after his return to philosophy, reveals that these devices are the product of something old and something new. The rationale for these devices is already present in the notion of a “propositional variable,” but Wittgenstein had little use for them until he rejected the phenomenological language and laconic style of the Tractatus.