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Wittgenstein´s Tractatus


Admission requirements

Admission to one of the following programmes is required:

  • MA Philosophy 60 EC: specialisation History and Philosophy of the Sciences

  • MA Philosophy 120 EC: specialisation Philosophy of Natural Sciences

  • MA Philosophy 120 EC: specialisation Philosophy of Psychology


Wittgenstein’s Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus is one of the most influential philosophical works in the 20th century. Its overall structure and general doctrine are relatively easy to grasp, but its details can be frustratingly difficult. The course aims at a thorough, and reasonably close reading of the work, tracing its background in the great works of Frege and the writings of Bertrand Russell, as well as in Schopenhauer, Tolstoy and Hertz.
Readings, and sometimes other assignments are given each week.

Course objectives

Students who successfully complete the course will have a good understanding of :

  • the main tenets of the Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus, and its background in the works of Frege and Russell.

Students who successfully complete the course will be able to:

  • elucidate the main logical doctrines of the Tractatus and relate them to issues in metaphysics and epistemology

  • present their ideas orally (in a class presentation and discussion) and in writing (in an essay).


See: MA Philosophy 60 EC
See: MA Philosophy 120 EC

Mode of instruction

  • Seminars

Class attendance is required.

Course Load

Total course load 10 EC x 28 hours = 280 hours

  • Attending classes (13 x 3 hours): 39 hours

  • Study of texts (13 × 7 hours): 91 hours

  • Solving/preparing assignments (13 × 5 hours): 65 hours

  • Formulation of topic and search for literature etc.: 35 hours

  • Writing final paper: 50 hours

Assessment method

  • Active engagement with weekly assignments

  • Presentation of some sections of the TLP

  • Final paper on some aspect of the TLP or its relation to other parts of philosophy (100%)


Final paper: 100% of the final grade
Active engagement with weekly assignments and the presentation are mandatory requirements for being admitted to submit the final paper.


The resit consists of one examination for all parts at once, consisting of a the final paper. The mark for the resit replaces all previously earned marks. No separate resits will be offered for mid-term tests (presentation, assignments).
Active engagement with weekly assignments and the presentation are prerequisites for taking the resit.
Students who have obtained a satisfactory grade for the first examination(s) cannot take the resit.

Exam review

How and when an exam review will take place will be disclosed together with the publication of the exam results at the latest. If a student requests a review within 30 days after publication of the exam results, an exam review will have to be organized.


Blackboard will be used:

  • as a message board for assignments

  • for the posting of texts and references.

Reading list

  • Required readings will be made available through Blackboard.


Enrolment through uSis is mandatory.
General information about uSis is available on the website

Students are strongly advised to register in uSis through the activity number which can be found in the timetables for courses and exams.

Registration Studeren à la carte and Contractonderwijs

Not applicable.


Prof.dr. B.G. Sundholm


Not applicable.