What Does it Mean to "Throw Away the Ladder"?





Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus, end of philosophy, throwing away the ladder, naturalism, Wittgenstein;


In this paper, I will demonstrate via reductio ad absurdum that a resolute reading of Wittgenstein’s Tractatus should reconsider their equation of “throwing away the ladder” with the “end of philosophy.” To do this, I will show that an inconsistency arises in Wittgenstein’s view regarding the relationship of philosophy and science since he associates “the correct method of philosophy” with the propositions of science at the end of the aforementioned text. Due to this, I will maintain that it is reasonable to posit that the sharp distinction that Wittgenstein makes between philosophy and science in the Tractatus is merely illusory. An interesting consequence of this is that if this interpretation holds then this provides sufficient grounds to maintain that what some scholars refer to as “the end of philosophy” may actually be the beginning of “Wittgenstein’s naturalism.”

Author Biography

Pamela Ann Boongaling, University of the Philippines, Diliman, Quezon Philippines

Department of Philosophy College of Social Sciences and Philosophy University of the Philippines Diliman, Quezon City, Philippines


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