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Philosophy Research Archives

Volume 5, 1979

Steven F. Savitt
Pages 539-553

Wittgenstein’s Early Philosophy of Mathematics

Wittgenstein's remarks in his Tractatus on mathematics are quite obscure. Benacerraf and Putnam wrote, "In his Tractatus Loqico-Philosophicus, Wittgenstein maintained, following Russell and Frege, that mathematics was reducible to logic." On the other hand, Max Black claims, "Wittgenstein does not regard mathematics as reducible to logic, in the manner of Whitehead and Russell." I offer a detailed commentary upon Wittgenstein's remarks, concluding that his views most likely do not follow those of Frege and Russell. I reject a criticism of Wittgenstein presented by Black but find severe shortcomings in the view I take Wittgenstein to be presenting.

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