Picture Theory of Language: An Emphasis on its Epistemological Requirements

Document Type : Original Research


Faculty member of Payame Noor University, Yazd, Iran


During his philosophical activity, Wittgenstein, offered two absolutely different theories about language and its nature and structure. Of the main contrarity in his philosophy is the one which is evident in his two eminent books, Tractatus LogicoPhilosophicus and philosophical investigations, both on language analysis. It could be considered as contrarity between picture theory of language and use theory of language. Wittgenstein, accepting logical atomism, formal language approach (affected by Russell), dividing propositions to analytic and synthetic (affected by Hume), considering analytic propositions as meaningless, accepting elementary and compound propositions in language world and elementary and compound facts in external world, in his first philosophical phase, explained picture theory of language in Tractatus. Wittgenstein's main problems in Tractatus are nature of language, nature of thought and reality. The crux of the Tractatus is that language presents a logical picture of the world. Language has a common nature and its function is merely presenting a picture of facts and can not touch beyond reality. Concepts such as metaphysics, problem of life, morality, aesthetics, and religion are all beyond the language and mystical. Grasping these issues entails getting intuitionally related to them.


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