Analytic Philosophy

Truth-Functional Logic and Logical Atomism

What was logical atomism?

The main claim of logical atomists was that the world is made up of logical facts. These logical facts are like atoms because they can’t be divided into smaller facts. Single logical facts can be combined by truth-functional logic into molecular facts.

To apply the theory of logical atomism to more complex statements, such as the claims of science, the method of logical construction was posited. In logical construction, any “S’ represents a logical construction of “Ps” if statements about S can be reduced to atomic statements about Ps. For example, a salad is a logical construction of its ingredients, and perceptions of ordinary objects are logical constructions of sense data. Bertrand Russell (1872–1970) and Ludwig Wittgenstein (1889–1951) were the main proponents of this perspective.


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