Nominalism and realism. How not to read the tractatus' conception of a name

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Abstract

This paper focuses on a central aspect of the "picture theory" in the Tractatus - the "identity requirement" - namely the idea that a proposition represents elements in reality as combined in the same way as its elements are combined. After introducing the Tractatus' views on the nature of the proposition, I engage with a "nominalist" interpretation, according to which the Tractatus holds that relations are not named in propositions. I claim that the nominalist account can only be maintained by rejecting the "identity requirement." I then consider an opposite - "realist" - interpretation, according to which Tractarian names include names of properties and relations. I argue that, although it can accommodate the "identity requirement," the realist interpretation falls short of providing a correct interpretation of the Tractatus' conception of a name. I conclude by presenting an alternative account (to both nominalism and realism) of the Tractatus' conception of a name.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)208-227
Number of pages20
JournalPhilosophical Investigations
Volume37
Issue number3
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2014

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Philosophy

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