Wittgenstein and What Can Only Be True


  • Cora Diamond University of Virginia


Wittgenstein Ludwig, truth, Anscombe Elizabeth, Tractatus logico-philosophicus, proposition, Satz,


In her Introduction to Wittgenstein’s Tractatus, Elizabeth Anscombe took it to be a fault of the Tractatus that it excluded the statement “‘Someone’ is not the name of someone”, which she took to be obviously true. It is not a bipolar proposition, and its negation, she said, peters out into nothingness. I examine the question whether she is right that the Tractatus excludes such propositions, and I consider her example in relation to other propositions which, arguably at least, have no intelligible negation. In considering the particular case of Frege’s response to Benno Kerry about the concept ‘horse’, I try to develop an account of the place in Wittgenstein’s philosophy for certain sorts of proposition which do not have an intelligible negation.

Author Biography

Cora Diamond, University of Virginia

Cora Diamond is University Professor and Kenan Professor of Philosophy emerita at the University of Virginia. She is the author of The Realistic Spirit: Wittgenstein, Philosophy, and the Mind and the editor of Wittgenstein’s Lectures on the Foundations of Mathematics, Cambridge, 1939.


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