Seminar Series in Analytic Philosophy, Session 9

Peter Sullivan

University of Stirling

Anscombe’s ‘Retractation’:
A Reconsideration of Ramsey and the Tractatus

29 November 2019, 16:00

Faculdade de Letras de Lisboa

Sala Mattos Romão (Departamento de Filosofia)

Abstract: In 1965 Elizabeth Anscombe published a short paper in Analysis, ‘Retractation’, in which she reviewed and revised important aspects of the interpretation of Wittgenstein’s Tractatus advanced in her pioneering and insightful study of the work, An Introduction to Wittgenstein’s Tractatus (1959). These aspects of her interpretation were developed in the book largely through criticism of the ideas of Frank Ramsey, most fully expressed in his 1925 paper ‘Universals’. They involved, she came subsequently to think, a wrong estimation of the force of Ramsey’s arguments, and consequent misreading of related themes in the Tractatus. Summing up her reconsideration of these issues she said in the 1965 paper, “I now think Ramsey was righter than I ever realized”. In my talk I will argue that she was right about this, but that even in her revised view Anscombe still under-estimates Ramsey, that Ramsey was “righter” than she even then realized – and that understanding just why this is so sheds a broad light on Wittgenstein’s intentions in the Tractatus.

Free Attendance

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