José L. Zalabardo’s book provides a rich and stimulating interpretation of Wittgenstein’s central doctrines in the Tractatus about the nature of representation and the structure of reality. As is well known, the Tractatus raises peculiar difficulties for an attempt to spell out its “doctrines”, for Wittgenstein notoriously declares toward the end of the book that anyone who understands him will eventually recognize its statements as nonsensical. Zalabardo is well aware of the problems raised by and of the debates between traditional readers, who have tended to downplay the supposed nonsensicality of the Tractarian statements, and more recent “resolute” readers who have taken it seriously and attempted to develop an anti-theoretical, therapeutic reading of the Tractatus. Still, Zalabardo provides a more or less straightforward interpretation of “the Tractarian Account of Representation and Reality (TARR)”. He is able to do so because he divides what he calls “Wittgenstein’s programme” in the Tractatus into two stages and focuses on a reconstruction and evaluation of only the first stage.
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