Notes by RBJ on

Introduction to Wittgenstein's Tractatus

by Bertrand Russell

PreliminariesOn the nature of this commentary.
Lecture IThe Rejection of Metaphysics
Section 1Verifiability

On the nature of this commentary

Russell's introduction to the Tractatus is perhaps unusual in the extent to which it presents an almost complete account of what he then thought were the key ideas in the Tractatus. Russell was aware that readers would find it hard to understand what Wittgenstein was trying to say, and that some parts would be impossible to understand by the majority readers who, unlike Russell, had no prior acquaintance with Wittgenstein's ideas.

Russell's introduction is therefore an independent account of the ideas presented in the Tractatus.

These notes comment upon the ideas as presented by Russell, in the context of the year 2000 (i.e. with the benefit of almost a century of further development in mathematical logic). I make no attempt to evaluate whether Russell's introduction is accurate in what it says about the Tractatus. Russell's introduction is intended to be read before reading the Tractatus. This commentary is intended to be read after reading the introduction.

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