Is Tractatus about the Philosophy of language or Philosophy of logic. I was hearing John Searle's lecture and he said there are two strands in Philosophy of language :- 1. Logical theory of language 2. Use of language theory

So, if language is just a matter of logic, isn't logic itself is a language because to say "logically follows" you must express your thoughts and expressing your thoughts is the field of Philosophy of language.

So, is Tractatus about Philosophy of language or Logic.

  • 1
    It doesn't have to be one or the other. The Tractatus, like most of his work, touches on many topics. It is about both the philosophy of logic and the philosophy of language. That all being said, I don't think this is a good question because it is posing a false dichotomy.
    – Not_Here
    Nov 7, 2018 at 5:08
  • Possible duplicate of What did Wittgenstein (mean to) achieve in the Tractatus?
    – Conifold
    Nov 27, 2018 at 1:44
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    I'd agree with @Not Here. I see no way to separate language and logic. . .
    – user20253
    Nov 27, 2018 at 14:04
  • @PeterJ I think I wasn't trying to say that language and logic cannot be separated, I was saying that the question "is it about language or is it about logic" is a false dichotomy because it can be about both of them. There might be some things written about language that having nothing to do with logic, i.e. something talking about the emotional effectiveness of poetry. But my comment was objecting to the framing of this question.
    – Not_Here
    Nov 27, 2018 at 15:47
  • does it matter?
    – user35983
    Dec 24, 2018 at 12:34

1 Answer 1


See Tractatus' Preface :

The book deals with the problems of philosophy, and shows, I believe, that the reason why these problems are posed is that the logic of our language is misunderstood.

Thus the aim of the book is to draw a limit to thought, or rather—not to thought, but to the expression of thoughts.

If this work has any value, it consists in two things [...] On the other hand the truth of the thoughts that are here communicated seems to me unassailable and definitive. I therefore believe myself to have found, on all essential points, the final solution of the problems.

Thus, the Tractatus is about philosophy and about language and its logic, because

the problems of philosophy [are originated by the fact] that the logic of our language is misunderstood.

  • I'm always having trouble understanding the term "logic of our language" can you please explain me this. Nov 7, 2018 at 11:03
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    @adeshmishra - in this context, it means "the way our language works". In Tractatus W exposes a theory about the "correct working" of language: see W's Linguistic atomism. Nov 7, 2018 at 11:53
  • Is logic a prerequisite for studying Tractatus? Can a man understand Tractatus without the knowledge of logic? Nov 7, 2018 at 16:59
  • @adeshmishra - basically: Yes. Unfortunately, for a correct understanding of Tractatus' background, a knowledge og history of logic : Frege, Russell is very useful. Nov 7, 2018 at 18:11
  • i understood (i.e. followed) the tractatus on a superficial level, if that matters
    – user35983
    Dec 24, 2018 at 12:35

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