Logical Atomism


Logical Atomism

      theory, developed primarily by the British logician Bertrand Russell (Russell, Bertrand) and the Austrian-born philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein, proposing that language, like other phenomena, can be analyzed in terms of aggregates of fixed, irreducible units or elements. Logical Atomism supposes that a perfect one-to-one correspondence exists between an “atom” of language (an atomic proposition) and an atomic fact; thus, for each atomic fact there is a corresponding atomic proposition. An atomic proposition is one that asserts that a certain thing has a certain quality (e.g.: “This is red.”). An atomic fact is the simplest kind of fact and consists in the possession of a quality by some specific, individual thing. Therefore, on the assumption that language mirrors reality, it can be proposed that the world is composed of facts that are utterly simple and comprehensible.

      Through mathematical logic laid down in Principia Mathematica (1910–13; with Alfred North Whitehead), Russell sought to show that philosophical arguments could be solved in much the same way mathematical problems are solved. He rejected Hegel's monism, maintaining that it led to a denial of relations between things. For Russell, atomic propositions are the building blocks from which, using logical connectives, the more complex molecular propositions are constructed.

* * *


Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Logical atomism — is a philosophical belief that originated in the early 20th century with the development of analytic philosophy. Its principal exponents were the British philosopher Bertrand Russell, the early work of his Austrian born pupil and colleague Ludwig …   Wikipedia

  • logical atomism — noun (philosophy) The theory that all propositions can be analysed into simple elements • • • Main Entry: ↑logic …   Useful english dictionary

  • Logical atomism — the theory that all the objects in the universe are composed of very small, indestructible elements. (This is the case for the Western [i.e., Greek] theories of atomism. Buddhists also have well developed theories of atomism, and which involve… …   Mini philosophy glossary

  • logical atomism — The philosophy of the Tractatus Logico Philosophicus (1921) of Wittgenstein, and the paper ‘The Philosophy of Logical Atomism’ by Russell (1918). Both share the belief that there is a process of logical and philosophical analysis of language… …   Philosophy dictionary

  • logical atomism — noun The doctrine that the world consists of ultimate logical facts (or atoms ) that cannot be broken down any further. <! I have taken over this definition from Wikipedia, in which the definition is tagged as citation missing …   Wiktionary

  • logical atomism — noun Philosophy the theory that all propositions can be analysed into simple independent elements of meaning corresponding to elements making up facts about the world …   English new terms dictionary

  • Logical positivism — (also known as logical empiricism, scientific philosophy, and neo positivism) is a philosophy that combines empiricism the idea that observational evidence is indispensable for knowledge with a version of rationalism incorporating mathematical… …   Wikipedia

  • Logical truth — is one of the most fundamental concepts in logic, and there are different theories on its nature. A logical truth is a statement which is true and remains true under all reinterpretations of its components other than its logical constants. It is… …   Wikipedia

  • atomism — atomist, n. atomistic, atomistical, adj. atomistically, adv. /at euh miz euhm/, n. 1. Also called atomic theory. Philos. the theory that minute, discrete, finite, and indivisible elements are the ultimate constituents of all matter. 2. Psychol. a …   Universalium

  • Atomism — the theory that all the objects in the universe are composed of very small, indestructible elements. (This is the case for the Western [i.e., Greek] theories of atomism. Buddhists also have well developed theories of atomism, and which involve… …   Mini philosophy glossary


Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”

We are using cookies for the best presentation of our site. Continuing to use this site, you agree with this.