Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository


Doctor of Philosophy




Kathleen Okruhlik


This dissertation investigates the origin, intellectual development and use of a semantic variant of the idea of logical space found implicitly in Kant and explicitly in early Wittgenstein and van Fraassen. It elucidates the idea of logical space as the idea of images or pictures representative of reality organized into a logico-mathematical structure circumscribing a form of all possible worlds. Its main claim is that application of these images or pictures to reality is through a certain conception of self.

The first chapter presents a novel interpretation of Kant’s semantic theory of schemata in the Critique of Pure Reason, showing that a structure of the imagination induced by the transcendental self informs an implicit idea of logical space. The second chapter offers an intellectual history of the idea through developments in the organization of images introduced by Helmholtz and Hertz. The third chapter reveals early Wittgenstein’s idea of logical space to be his notion of the self, demonstrating how this serves to unify propositions of the Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus concerning solipsism, realism, ethics, aesthetics and mysticism with those pertaining to the picture theory of meaning. The fourth chapter provides a historical overview of the development of van Fraassen’s empiricism in relation to his adaptation of logical space, and evaluates his recent proposal in Scientific Representation: Paradoxes of Perspective that the problem of coordination in the semantic view of theories is dissolved through self-location in logical space. After identifying a number of problems this proposal creates for his empiricism, a brief suggestion is made about how van Fraassen might improve upon his conception of logical space, and how an empiricist view of scientific representation might be understood as a result.