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Faculty of Philosophy


Prof  M. D. Potter

12 lectures, Michaelmas Term 2018, weeks 1 to 6, Thursdays at 2pm in LB11 and Wednesdays at 10am in LB10


Aim of the course

This course is aimed principally at those studying the Tractatus as a set text for the Part II Wittgenstein paper, but graduate students and students from other Faculties are also welcome to attend.


Although the Tractatus is in large part a response to the inadequacies Wittgenstein saw in the work of Kant, Frege and Russell, it also constitutes in its own right an account of logic and metaphysics of extraordinary elegance and sophistication. The book also offers a way of thinking about ethics and religion. Wittgenstein himself for a time believed that the book solved all the major problems of philosophy. The aim of this course is to get clear, at least in outline, about what the account offered in the Tractatus was and how Wittgenstein arrived at it.


  1. The picture theory
  2. Judgment
  3. Propositions
  4. Sense and the concept-script
  5. Objects and identity
  6. Solipsism
  7. The metaphysical subject
  8. Logic and arithmetic
  9. Science
  10. Ethics
  11. The mystical
  12. Later work

Lecture notes

For anyone who misses a lecture approximately the same material is covered in a book draft available as a PDF here (together with material on the Russellian background here).

Reading list here