Philosophical Studies (Dublin) 18:100-100 (1969)

In approaching the subject of this symposium we have both worked from an assumption about the future of philosophia perennis. This is that a better general assessment of Ludwig Wittgenstein’s philosophy of language in his Philosophical Investigations is likely to lead to better work in the crucial areas of metaphysics and epistemology. We shall not argue for this assumption here. But we begin by stating it to make clear why we shall attempt some particular assessments of a few passages early in the Investigations and of a few famous remarks offered about them by Wittgenstein’s close disciple and critical commentator, Rush Rhees. For we are flirting with at least two further assumptions. A stronger and riskier one is that the strengths and weaknesses of the Investigations’ initial discussions may well have had a profound effect on the wisdom of the work as a whole. A weaker one is that if we can find sources of error as well as inspiration in some of Wittgenstein’s beginning remarks and in some of his dedicated followers’ comments, then other philosophers will be less intimidated by his philosophical and literary genius or by the obvious talents of many who are called Wittgensteinians. Thus we hope that our particular investigations can contribute to a more effective general assessment of his philosophy of language and so stimulate further hopes among those who believe—as we do—that the most central problems of philosophy can gradually be solved but never be dissolved.
Keywords Catholic Tradition  History of Philosophy
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ISBN(s) 0554-0739
DOI philstudies196918079
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