Wittgenstein, Contextualism, and Nonsense: A Reply to Hans-Johann Glock

Journal of Philosophical Research 33:101-125 (2008)
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Abstract

What nonsense might be, and what Wittgenstein thought that nonsense might be, are two of the central questions in the current debate between those—such as Cora Diamond, James Conant and Michael Kremer—who favour a “resolute” approach to Wittgenstein’s work, and those—such as P. M. S. Hacker and Hans-Johann Glock—who instead favour a more “traditional” approach. What answer we give to these questions will determine the nature and force of his criticisms of traditional philosophy, and so the very shape Wittgenstein’s work has for us, as well as, to some extent, what the lesson of the Tractatus might be. My aim in this paper is to provide a detailed defence of the austere view of nonsense, that lies at the heart of the resolute approach, against a range of influentialcriticisms developed by Hans-Johann Glock and which focus on Wittgenstein’s contextualism. In so doing, I hope also to shed some light on the kind of view the austere view is, as well as how it might relate to certain other crucial aspects of Wittgenstein’s thought.

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Edmund Dain
Providence College

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