IV—Wittgenstein, Anscombe and the Need for Metaphysical Thinking

Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 122 (2):71-95 (2022)
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Metaphysicians are in the business of making and defending modal claims—claims about how things must, or could or could not be. Wittgenstein’s opposition to necessity claims, along with his various negative remarks about ‘metaphysical’ uses of language, makes it seem almost a truism that Wittgenstein was opposed to metaphysics. In this paper I want to make a case for rejecting that apparent truism. My thesis is that it is illuminating to characterize what Wittgenstein and Anscombe are doing in their philosophical writing as metaphysics without manufactured necessities. Doing so helps to articulate a sharper, more interesting, critique of contemporary metaphysical practices than therapeutic or linguistic framings of Wittgenstein’s method make possible. It also allows us to place Anscombe in the context of a tradition of British metaphysics that emerged in the 1940s in an attempt to reverse the devastating impact on ethics of the new ‘analytical’ philosophy.



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Rachael Wiseman
University of Liverpool

References found in this work

Philosophical investigations.Ludwig Wittgenstein & G. E. M. Anscombe - 1953 - Revue Philosophique de la France Et de l'Etranger 161:124-124.
Tractatus logico-philosophicus.Ludwig Wittgenstein - 1922 - Filosoficky Casopis 52:336-341.
Wittgenstein on rules and private language.Saul A. Kripke - 1982 - Revue Philosophique de la France Et de l'Etranger 173 (4):496-499.
Intention.G. E. M. Anscombe - 1957 - Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 57:321-332.

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