The Unity of a Tractarian Fact


Johnston C (2007) The Unity of a Tractarian Fact. Synthese, 156 (2), pp. 231-251.

It is not immediately clear from Wittgenstein’s Tractatus how to connect his idea there of an ‘object’ with the logical ontologies of Frege and Russell. Toward clarification on this matter, this paper compares Russell’s and Wittgenstein’s versions of the thesis of an atomic fact that it is a complex composition. The claim arrived at is that whilst Russell (at times at least) has one particular of the elements of a fact – the relation – responsible for the unity of the whole, for Wittgenstein the unity of a fact is the product of copulative powers inherent in all its elements. All kinds of constituents of Tractarian facts – all kinds (forms) of object – are, to use Fregean terminology, unsaturated.

Synthese: Volume 156, Issue 2

Publication date31/05/2007
PublisherSpringer Verlag