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This link nicely explains the difference between lower order and higher order properties

First-order properties and relations are those that can only be instantiated by individuals. For example, redness can be instantiated by apples and cherries and being married to can be jointly instantiated by Bill and Hillary, but no properties can be red or married. It is natural to suppose, however, that at least many first-order properties and relations can themselves have properties and relations. For example, redness might be thought to exemplify the property of being a color and being married to might be thought to exemplify the property of being a symmetrical relation. Once we think of second-order properties, it is natural to wonder whether there are third-order properties (properties of second- or, perhaps in cumulative fashion, of second- and first-order properties), and so on up through ever-higher orders.

http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/properties/#FirOrdVsHigOrdPro

What if it could be shown that only 1st order properties could be seen without the seer taking up a further propositional attitude toward them.

Would that mean that the Tractatus can only rule out the metaphysics of 1st order properties?

My propositions are elucidatory in this way: he who understands me finally recognizes them as senseless, when he has climbed out through them, on them, over them. (He must so to speak throw away the ladder, after he has climbed up on it.)

He must surmount these propositions; then he sees the world rightly.

  • Is there any chance you might be able to explore this a little further? What exactly does an answer to this question look like in your mind? – Joseph Weissman Dec 31 '14 at 3:22
  • yes / no, and ideally with some references :) – user6917 Dec 31 '14 at 15:54
  • @JosephWeissman What does “What if it could be shown that only 1st order properties could be seen without the seer taking up a further propositional attitude toward them.” even mean? What can the question “What if we could only “surmount” propositions with lower order properties as their object’ even mean? By surmount Wittgenstein is clearly having a bit of fun with metaphoric terms and imagery. Surmount sounds like an sly amalgamation of overcome and understand. I'm not trying to be harsh here but if I can't make sense of the question how am I meant to attempt an answer? – igravious May 31 '16 at 5:17
  • The SEP article about properties that you link to has a short sub-section on propositions(plato.stanford.edu/entries/properties/#Pro). Suggest you start there. – igravious May 31 '16 at 5:19
  • ok, thanks. sorry if you're being sarcastic – user6917 May 31 '16 at 5:22

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