The Unity of Language and Logic in Wittgenstein's Tractatus


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


The purpose of this paper is to offer an interpretation of the Tractatus’ proof of the unity of logic and language. The kernel of the proof is the thesis that the sole logical constant is the general propositional form. I argue that the Grundgedanke, the existence of the sole fundamental operation N and the analyticity thesis, together with the fact that the operation NN can always be seen as having no specific formal difference between its result and its base, imply that NN is intrinsic to every elementary proposition. I also argue that the picture theory of proposition is an account of the generation of propositions via naming, and that its crucial idea is that naming is the instantiation of the form of a name, which consists in arbitrarily picking out an object as the meaning of the name from those objects sorted out by the form of the name. It follows that the existential quantifier, that is, NN, is intrinsic to naming (and therefore to every elementary proposition). It is then proven that the sole logical constant is the general propositional form. This, together with the truth-functionality of logical necessity, implies that logic and language are unified via a general rule – logical syntax.