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date: 20 March 2019

Abstract and Keywords

Ludwig Wittgenstein intended the Tractatus to reshape our understanding of what philosophy was and what it could accomplish. In the decades after its publication, it was widely admired and deeply influential, but almost totally misunderstood, or so argued Elizabeth Anscombe, in An Introduction to Wittgenstein’s ‘Tractatus’. She wanted her book to inaugurate a radical change in how the Tractatus was read and understood. This chapter looks at her critique of older readings and at her own approach to the Tractatus. I argue that her presentation of the picture theory points us to fundamental connections between Wittgenstein’s thought and that of Gottlob Frege, and that it exemplifies the kind of philosophical activity to which the Tractatus was meant to lead. Working through her arguments and following out ideas implicit in her practice can help us to grasp how Wittgenstein’s book was meant to revolutionize philosophy.

Keywords: Ludwig Wittgenstein, Tractatus, Elizabeth Anscombe, picture theory, Gottlob Frege, philosophy

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