THE FATE OF ANALYSIS, #16–Naming Objects or Things, and Picturing Atomic Facts.

By Robert Hanna

THE FATE OF ANALYSIS: Analytic Philosophy From Frege to The Ash-Heap of History



II. Classical Analytic Philosophy

II.1 What Classical Analytic Philosophy Is: Two Basic Theses

II.2 What Classical Analytic Philosophy Officially Isn’t: Its Conflicted Anti-Kantianism

II.3 Classical Analytic Philosophy Characterized in Simple, Subtler, and Subtlest Ways

II.4 Three Kinds of Analysis: Decompositional, Transformative, and Conceptual

II.5 Frege, The First Founding Father of Classical Analytic Philosophy

II.6 Frege’s Project of (Transformative or Reductive) Analysis

II.7 Frege’s Dead End

II.8 Frege’s Semantics of Sense and Reference, aka Meaning

II.9 Some Biggish Problems For Frege’s Semantics

II.10 Husserl, Logic, and Logical Psychologism, aka LP

II.11 What LP is, and its Three Cardinal Sins

II.12 Husserl’s Three Basic Arguments Against LP

II.13 Has Husserl Begged the Question Against LP? Enter The Logocentric Predicament, and a Husserlian Way Out

II. Moore, Brentano, Husserl, Judgment, Anti-Idealism, and Meinong’s World

III.1 G.E. Moore, the Second Founding Father of Classical Analytic Philosophy

III.2 Brentano on Phenomenology, Mental Phenomena, and Intentionality

III.3 Husserl on Phenomenology and Intentionality

III.4 Moore and the Nature of Judgment

III.5 Moore and the Refutation of Idealism

III.6 Meinong’s World

IV. Russell, Unlimited Logicism, Acquaintance, and Description

IV.1 Russell Beyond Brentano, Husserl, Moore, and Meinong

IV.2 Russell and Mathematical Logic versus Kant

IV.3 Russell’s Unlimited Logicist Project

IV.4 Pursued by Logical Furies: Russell’s Paradox Again

IV.5 Russell’s ‘Fido’-Fido Theory of Meaning

IV.6 Knowledge-by-Acquaintance and Knowledge-by-Description

IV.7 Russell’s Theory of Descriptions

IV.8 Russell’s Multiple-Relation Theory of Judgment

IV.9 Russellian Analysis, Early Wittgenstein, and Impredicativity Again

IV.10 Russell and The Philosophy of Logical Atomism

V. Wittgenstein and the Tractatus 1: The Title, and Propositions 1–2.063

V.1 A Brief Synopsis of the Tractatus

V.2 The Tractatus in Context

V.3 The Basic Structure of the Tractatus: A Simple Picture

V.4 Tractarian Ontology

V.5 Reconstructing Wittgenstein’s Reasoning

V.6 What Are the Objects or Things?

V.7 The Role of Logic in Tractarian Ontology

V.8 Colorless Objects/Things

V.9 Tractarian Ontology, Necessity, and Contingency

V.10 Some Initial Worries, and Some Possible Wittgensteinian Counter-Moves

VI. Wittgenstein and the Tractatus 2: Propositions 2.013–5.55

VI.1 What is Logical Space? What is Real Space?

VI.2 Atomic Facts Necessarily Are in Manifest or Phenomenal Space, But Objects or Things Themselves Necessarily Aren’t in Manifest or Phenomenal Space

VI.3 Logical Space is Essentially More Comprehensive than Manifest or Phenomenal Space

VI.4 Why There Can’t/Kant Be a Non-Logical World

VI.5 A Worry About Wittgenstein’s Conception of Logic: Non-Classical Logics

VI.6 What is a Tractarian Proposition?

VI.7 Naming Objects or Things, and Picturing Atomic Facts

VI.8 Signs, Symbols, Sense, Truth, and Judgment

VI.9 Propositions Again

VI.10 Language and Thought

VII. Wittgenstein and the Tractatus 3: Propositions 4–5.61

VII.1 The Logocentric Predicament, Version 3.0: Justifying Deduction

VII.2 The Logical Form of Deduction

VII.3 Logic Must Take Care of Itself

VII.4 Tautologies and Contradictions

VII.5 What is Logic?

VII.6 Logic is the A Priori Essence of Language

VII.7 Logic is the A Priori Essence of Thought

VII.8 Logic is the A Priori Essence of the World

VIII. Wittgenstein and the Tractatus 4: Propositions 5.62–7

VIII.1 Tractarian Solipsism and Tractarian Realism

VIII.2 Tractarian Solipsism

VIII.3 Tractarian Realism

VIII.4 Is the Tractatus’s Point an Ethical One?

VIII.5 The Meaning of Life

VIII.6 Three Basic Worries About the Tractatus

VIII.7 Natural Science and the Worry About the Simplicity of the Objects or Things

VIII.8 Natural Science and the Worry About the Logical Independence of Atomic Facts

VIII.9 Tractarian Mysticism and the Worry About Metaphilosophy

IX. Carnap, The Vienna Circle, Logical Empiricism, and The Great Divide

IX.1 Carnap Before and After the Tractatus

IX.2 Carnap, The Vienna Circle, and The Elimination of Metaphysics

IX.3 The Verifiability Principle and Its Fate

IX.4 The Davos Conference and The Great Divide

X. Wittgenstein and the Investigations 1: Preface, and §§1–27

X.1 From the Tractatus to the Investigations

X.2 The Thesis That Meaning Is Use

X.3 A Map of the Investigations

X.4 The Critique of Pure Reference: What the Builders Did

XI. Wittgenstein and the Investigations 2: §§28–242

XI.1 The Picture Theory and the Vices of Simplicity

XI.2 Wittgenstein’s Argument Against The Picture Theory: A Rational Reconstruction

XI.3 Understanding and Rule-Following

XI.4 Wittgenstein’s Rule-Following Paradox: The Basic Rationale

XI.5 Wittgenstein’s Rule-Following Paradox: A Rational Reconstruction

XI.6 Kripkenstein’s Rule-Following Paradox: Why Read Kripke Too?

XI.7 Kripkenstein’s Rule-Following Paradox: A Rational Reconstruction

XI.8 How to Solve The Paradox: Wittgenstein’s Way and Kripkenstein’s Way

XI.8.1 Wittgenstein and The Rule-Following Paradox: A Rational Reconstruction

XI.8.2 Kripkenstein and The Rule-Following Paradox: A Rational Reconstruction

XII. Wittgenstein and the Investigations 3: §§242–315

XII.1 What is a Private Language?

XII.2 The Private Language Argument: A Rational Reconstruction

XII.3 Is Wittgenstein a Behaviorist? No.

XII.4 Wittgenstein on Meanings, Sensations, and Human Mindedness: A Rational Reconstruction

XIII. Wittgenstein and the Investigations 4: §§316–693 & 174e-232e

XIII.1 Linguistic Phenomenology

XIII.2 Two Kinds of Seeing

XIII.3 Experiencing the Meaning of a Word

XIII.4 The Critique of Logical Analysis, and Logic-As-Grammar

XIV. Coda: Wittgenstein and Kantianism

XIV.1 World-Conformity 1: Kant, Transcendental Idealism, and Empirical Realism

XIV.2 World-Conformity 2: Wittgenstein, Transcendental Solipsism, and Pure Realism

XIV.3 World-Conformity 3: To Forms of Life

XIV.4 The Critique of Self-Alienated Philosophy 1: Kant’s Critical Metaphilosophy

XIV.5 The Critique of Self-Alienated Philosophy 2: Wittgensteinian Analysis as Critique

XV. From Quine to Kripke and Analytic Metaphysics: The Adventures of the Analytic-Synthetic Distinction

XV.1 Two Urban Legends of Post-Empiricism

XV.2 A Very Brief History of The Analytic-Synthetic Distinction

XV.3 Why the Analytic-Synthetic Distinction Really Matters

XV.4 Quine’s Critique of the Analytic-Synthetic Distinction, and a Meta-Critique

XV.5 Three Dogmas of Post-Quineanism

XVI. Analytic Philosophy and The Ash-Heap of History

XVI.1 Husserl’s Crisis and Our Crisis

XVI.2 Why Hasn’t Post-Classical Analytic Philosophy Produced Any Important Ideas in the Last Thirty-Five Years?

XVI.3 On Irad Kimhi’s Thinking and Being, Or, It’s The End Of Analytic Philosophy As We Know It (And I Feel Fine)

XVI.4 Thinking Inside and Outside the Fly-Bottle: The New Poverty of Philosophy and Its Second Copernican Revolution


But you can also read or download a .pdf version of the complete book HERE.


VI.7 Naming Objects or Things, and Picturing Atomic Facts

Atomic propositions are linguistic sequences of names of objects, occurring in a certain fixed order, as used by a talking and thinking subject.

Names are the simple or undecomposable atoms of propositions, just as objects or thing are the simple or undecomposable bits of reality.

Considered apart from its use, the linguistic sequence of names of objects or things is a propositional “sign,” and the propositional sign is itself a fact in the world.

Each name has its meaning by directly picking out an object, and the proposition “pictures” the world by having each of its names correlated one-to-one with an object, and also by exemplifying an isomorphism relation — i.e., a sameness-of-structure relation — between the configuration of names in the propositional sign, and a corresponding configuration of the objects picked out by the names.

Picturing is thus an isomorphism between a linguistic fact (the propositional sign) and another fact in the world.

In this way, each atomic proposition is a itself linguistic model or diagram of a positive or negative atomic fact.

E.g., the true propositional symbol

Frege is taller than Wittgenstein

linguistically models the real-world relation of relative height between Frege and Wittgenstein.

What the proposition and the fact share in common — i.e., the same structure — is called the form of representation.

One crucial thing to note here is that the atomic propositional symbol

Frege is taller than Wittgenstein

which can be formally symbolized as, e.g.,


and which pictures the positive atomic fact that Frege is taller than Witt, contains not just two but three names:

(i) ‘T2xy’,

(ii) ‘f’, and

(iii) ‘w’.

In other words, strange as it may seem, ‘T2xy’ names an object or thing!

More precisely, ‘T2xy’, or (in English), ‘x is taller than y’, names a dyadic relation.

More generally, the class of Tractarian objects includes individuals, properties (aka one-place universals), and n-adic relations (aka many-place universals), and every meaningful expression in the atomic proposition, whether a proper name or a predicate, is a Tractarian name.


Frege is a philosopher

which can be formally symbolized as


contains two names, namely, ‘P1x’ or ‘x is a philosopher’, a name that refers to the property (one-place universal) of being a philosopher, and ‘f’ or ‘Frege’, a name that refers to Frege.

This in turn allows me to construct a highly simplified, “toy” model of Wittgenstein’s Tractarian theory of picturing in atomic propositions, that I’ll call the-balls-&-hooks-&-hangers model.

It’s, as it were, a system of Tractarian Christmas tree ornaments; but anyhow, here it is.

Think of individual Tractarian objects or things as decorative balls connected to hangers by means of hooks.

The decorative pattern on each ball indicates its internal qualities, i.e., its individual essence or nature.

For each ball there must be one hook, and hooks occur only on hangers.

But hangers are also Tractarian objects or things.

And each hanger can have either one hook or more than one hook.

Now think of a 1-hook hanger as a property/1-place universal, and think of a many-hook hanger as an n-adic relation/many-place universal.

Then to each of the n names in a proposition there are n-1 balls, each of which (in my Tractarian toy model) is an individual object or thing named by that name.

And for each 1-place predicate or relational predicate in one of these propositions, we have in (in my Tractarian toy model) a n-1 hooked hanger which is either a property/1- place universal or else an n-adic relation/many-placed universal, named by that predicate.

Consider, e.g.,

Frege gives the beer bottle to Russell.

This propositional symbol is formally symbolized as ‘G3fbr’.

Here, the three individual names are ‘f’ or (in English) ‘Frege’, ‘b’ or (in English) ‘the beer bottle’ — i.e., a definite description — and ‘r’ or (in English) ‘Russell’; and the fourth name of the triadic relation/3-place universal is ‘G3xyz’ or (in English) ‘x gives y to z’.

Another example:

Frege is taller than Wittgenstein.

This propositional symbol is formally symbolized as ‘T2fw’.

Here, the two individual names are ‘f’ or (in English) ‘Frege’ and ‘w’ or (in English) ‘Wittgenstein’; and the third name of the dyadic relation/2-place universal is ‘T2xy’, or (in English) ‘x is taller than y’.

Finally, for the lower bound, or bottom level, case of facts, i.e., facts constructed out of an individual and a property/1-place universal, the last example:

Frege is a philosopher.

This sentence is formally symbolized as ‘P1f’.

Here, the individual name is ‘f’ or (in English) ‘Frege’; and the name of the property/1-place universal is ‘P1x’ or (in English) ‘x is a philosopher’.

One important point clearly made by this Tractarian toy model is that Tractarian objects or things are not homogeneous in ontological character.

Some are them (i.e., the decorative balls) what Frege would have called saturated entities, i.e., essentially complete individual objects or things, aka particulars, whereas others (i.e., the hangers) are what Frege would have called unsaturated entities, i.e., essentially incomplete non-individual objects or things, aka universals.

In the third example, e.g., they’re one-place Fregean concepts, that is, one-place functions from objects to truth-values, i.e., properties/one-place universals.

Frege postulated a radical ontological difference between individual objects and functions, and this got him into unresolvable paradoxical difficulties.

E.g., for Frege, the concept horse is not a concept!

And that’s because ‘the concept horse’ is a meaningful name (a definite description, to be precise) and therefore must pick out an essentially complete individual (saturated) object or thing, but concepts are functions, hence they’re essentially incomplete non-individual (unsaturated) objects or things.

But Wittgenstein gets around this problem by allowing in not only essentially complete (saturated) individual objects or things (balls), but also essentially incomplete (unsaturated) non-individual objects or things (hangers), as bona fide Tractarian objects or things.

The other especially important point is that it’s now quite easy to see how atomic propositions picture facts, and don’t merely sequentially name objects or things, that is, they don’t merely make lists of objects or things.

In other words, atomic propositions represent not only objects or things, but also represent specifically how objects of one type go together with other objects of another type in order to form structured atomic facts: so, as it were, they also represent specifically how the system of hooks works.

This requires, in effect, that the user of language must always project in a certain way from the several names making up the propositional sign onto the configuration of objects.

Otherwise it would be impossible to explain why

Frege is taller than Wittgenstein

is a propositional sign, whereas

Frege Russell Wittgenstein

isn’t a propositional sign. To grasp precisely how the propositional sign is to be projected onto the correlated objects or things by the user of the sentence, is to grasp the sense of that proposition.


Mr Nemo, W, X, Y, & Z, Saturday 4 July 2020

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