For the tractarian Wittgenstein propositions of logic did not have a meaning because logic was only an instrument.

Given that he divided meaningless propositions into unsinnig satze (nonsense) and sinnlos satze (meaningless), which category do the propositions of logic belong to?

Is it legitimate to say that propositions of logic are sinnlos, whereas propositions of metaphysics are unsinnig?


1 Answer 1


For the early Wittgenstein, logical propositions (tautologies/contradictions) are senseless, but not nonsense. He says this explicitly in the Tractatus:

4.461 Propositions show what they say: tautologies and contradictions show that they say nothing. A tautology has no truth-conditions, since it is unconditionally true: and a contradiction is true on no condition. Tautologies and contradictions lack sense. (Like a point from which two arrows go out in opposite directions to one another.) (For example, I know nothing about the weather when I know that it is either raining or not raining.)

4.4611 Tautologies and contradictions are not, however, nonsensical. They are part of the symbolism, much as ‘0’ is part of the symbolism of arithmetic.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .