In Chapter 2, we saw that Wittgenstein’s first target in the Investigations is Frege’s idea, by which Wittgenstein meant the universality of assertoric content-the proposition. The proposition is assigned just those properties that result from conflating a sentence fragment (that the ball is red) and a sentence (the ball is red). The proposition has constituent structure without actually having syntactic structure. It points to states of affairs without asserting them (as that would take us back to assertions). Yet it constitutes the sense that determines the referent of a sentence of natural language. “A proposition-that’s something very queer!” (PI §93). Identifying the confusions and mistakes is only the first step in the full

diagnostic argument. There is still much that has to be done to show that the introduction of the proposition is indeed a mistake rather than a profound discovery. But at this stage what might be said is that the objections to ostensive definition vindicate the context principle, the thesis that the assertoric sentence is the smallest unit of semantic meaning and with it the idea of logical form. In short, troubles for the attempt to ground meaning on reference might be seen to support the primacy of assertoric form. Fregean systematicity does, in this sense, give use precedence over reference. How, then, do Wittgenstein’s arguments against the primacy of assertoric form, shallow naming, and the causal associations achieved through training in a practice come together to defeat the Fregean picture and to insinuate an alternative?

Wittgenstein asks in PI §89,