Are Rules of Inference Superfluous? Wittgenstein vs. Frege and Russell

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In Tractatus 5.132 Wittgenstein argues that inferential justification depends solely on the understanding of the premises and conclusion, and is not mediated by any further act. On this basis he argues that Frege’s and Russell’s rules of inference are “senseless” and “superfluous”. This line of argument is puzzling, since it is unclear that there could be any viable account of inference according to which no such mediation takes place. I show that Wittgenstein’s rejection of rules of inference can be motivated by taking account of his holistic construal of the relation between inference and understanding.
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First archival date: 2021-04-03
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