logical atomism
The theory that the world consists of ultimate logical facts (i.e. atoms) that cannot be broken down any further.

For example, according to Bertrand Russell, words like "this" and "that" are used to denote particulars.

In contrast, ordinary names such as "Socrates" actually are definitive descriptions. In the analysis of "Plato talks with his pupils", "Plato" needs to be replaced with something like "the man who was the teacher of Aristotle".

Notes
1. 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 Wittgenstein, and his German counterpart Rudolf Carnap.

2. "The philosophy which I wish to advocate may be called logical atomism or absolute pluralism, because while maintaining that there are many things, it denies that there is a whole composed of those things."
(Bertrand Russell, Scientific Method in Philosophy, 16 (1914))

3. "The reason that I call my doctrine logical atomism is because the atoms that I wish to arrive at as the last residue in analysis are logical atoms and not physical atoms."
(Bertrand Russell, Monist 497, (1918))
Categories: analytic_philosophy logic



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