Variable Names and Constant Names in Wittgenstein's Tractatus


Department of Religion and Philosophy
Hong Kong Baptist University
Kowloon Tong
Hong Kong


In this paper, I argue that the Tractatus classifies names into constant names and variable names. A variable name, via the application of the existential quantifier against the background of picturing, picks out and denotes an unspecified object from the range of objects of the form shown by the relevant variable. A constant name labels an object picked out from a scope of the existential quantifier. I also refute two types of attempts to argue that the Tractarian relation between a name and its meaning is not realist, and to explain why it is more reasonable to hold that it is.