Wittgenstein has most often been treated as a thinker whose ideas can be discussed independently of any intellectual tradition. The thrust of this work, by a leading exponent of Wittgenstein's thought, is to insist upon - and to demonstrate in detail - the mutual relevance of Wittgenstein's work and the tradition of Western philosophy. Far from overthrowing or stepping outside that tradition, Wittgenstein builds on it, draws from it, and contributes brilliantly to the fruition of certain elements in it. In (...) This Complicated Form of Life, Garver analyzes from several angles Wittgenstein's relationship to Kant, and to what Finch has called Wittgenstein's completion of Kant's revolt against the Cartesian hegemony of epistemology in philosophy. But with respect to the givenness of "this complicated form of life", Wittgenstein appears closer to Aristotle than to Kant. Seeing Wittgenstein within the Western philosophical tradition requires a fresh look at Wittgenstein as well as at the tradition. Among the themes of this work: that the principal metaphysical claim of the Tractatus is that the world is the totality of facts; that grammar is the key to Wittgenstein's later work because philosophy is a form of grammar; and that a certain sort of transcendentality pervades Wittgenstein's thought. (shrink)
Kant’s distinction between analytic and synthetic judgments is best known through his metaphoric definition of an analytic judgment as one in which “the predicate B belongs to the subject A, as something which is contained in this subject A”. Although this is the most famous formulation of Kant’s distinction, what strikes a student most forcefully about Kant’s discussion of analyticity is the variety of different ways in which he explains the idea. One can identify passages which seem to make analyticity (...) depend upon containment, identity, contradiction, our way of knowing the judgment in question, our way of thinking the judgment in question, the function or role of the judgment in question. In addition to these six prima facie different conceptions of analyticity, there is also a question whether Kant intends his distinction to range over all judgments or only over subject-predicate judgments; if we apply these two alternatives to the six conceptions of analyticity, we have a total of twelve theories of analyticity contained in or suggested by Kant’s discussion. This is a bewildering situation indeed, and it is no wonder that subsequent discussions of analyticity have often lacked the decisiveness that one might wish for in matters of logic. (shrink)
Could we imagine a language in which a person could express his inner sensations or experiences for his private use? the author explicates wittgenstein's views, Giving one, An expose of certain considerations which lend plausibility to the notion of a private language, And two, A reduction "ad absurdum" of the notion of a private language or private understanding. The utility of a sign and its intelligibility in the common language go hand in hand; a sign which is supposed to be (...) simply "associated" with a sensation cannot have a use. Hence, Any sign which has a use cannot be simply associated with a sensation. (staff). (shrink)
1. Grammar is a matter of structures, so regarding grammar as the basis of philosophy, as both Derrida and the later Wittgenstein have done, is bound to smack of “structuralism.” As a doctrine, however, structuralism has been more prominent in literary criticism and in social science than in philosophy. Derrida, in particular, first flourished in an intellectual climate dominated by structuralism, and in spite of his denials was often thought to be a structuralist. Although neither Wittgenstein nor Derrida can be (...) considered strictly a structuralist, both refer frequently to structural linguistic phenomena. So a discussion of the merits and shortcomings of structuralism might prove a useful introduction to Wittgenstein and Derrida, as well as to certain problems about philosophy and literary theory. (shrink)
In previous essays (1973, 1975, 1977) I have praised Derrida's contributions to philosophical dialogue and also insisted on their limitations. The considerations raised in this present essay do not lead me to a position that is less ambivalent. Philosophy is a particular language-game. Like any other, it has its constitutive rules; or, perhaps better: its practice has certain distinctive features by means of which we recognize philosophizing and distinguish it from other linguistic activities. None of this can be set down (...) in the form of necessary and sufficient conditions, and there always will be large areas of controversy about the paradigms themselves. Nonetheless there are philosophers, and they generally acknowledge Plato, Aristotle, Leibniz, Hume, and even some of their colleagues as also being philosophers. This acknowledgement holds even where there is philosophical disagreement - as must inevitably be the case, in view of the dialogical character of philosophical discourse. Derrida occasionally enters into the dialogue, as do many others - poets, novelists, critics, diplomats, attorneys, cooks, barbers, and babysitters. These occasional contributions to philosophical dialogue differ in focus, in style, and in lack of self-referentiality from the works which constitute the main corpus of philosophy. Some might wish to say, as if the matter were paradoxical, that such contributions are both philosophical and not philosophical, or that they are neither philosophy nor not-philosophy. That might be as good a thing to say as anything. The practice of philosophy is complex and has many levels. Those who are acknowledged as its finest practitioners have a focus, a style, and a respect for where questions begin and end. Derrida does not share these qualities, and does not care to share them. That is no reason to ignore his work, but it is sufficient to explain why philosophers do not recognize it as a contribution to the central corpus of philosophy. (shrink)
Analytic philosophy generally follows Frege in insisting that concepts be defined so as to eliminate vagueness. In practice, however, context often provides the clarit y that definitions fail to supply. Wittgenstein’s later work stressed context (use) rather than definition, at least for philosophical (as opposed to scientific) discourse. In this Wittgenstein’s development was opposite to Frege’s.Richard Robinson notes the looseness in original language learning, and that precision is often nevertheless achieved, especially in sciences. Hence Robinson’s paradox: the inevitability of vagueness (...) at the roots of precision. Analytic explanations contrast with contextual ones. We can sometimes explain meaning analytically, but we must sometimes use contextual explanations. Vagueness cannot be eliminated, and wholesale analysis is a chimerical ideal in philosophy. We need, as Wittgenstein came to see, a broader, more general, conception of cIarity, within which analytic (Iogical) clarity is only one special case. (shrink)
How does our understanding of what it means to be rational affect our interpretation of the world around us? ... Essayists discuss the nature and extent of rationality - its content, focus, and the intrinsic guidelines for using the term "rational" when describing persons or actions. The distinguished contributors to this collection include Max Black, Steven J. Brams, James H. Bunn, Christopher Cherniak, Murray Clarke, Marjorie Clay, Paul Diesing, Antony Flew, John T. Kearns, D. Mark Kilgour, Hilary Kornblith, Charles H. (...) Lambros, Duncan MacIntosh, Alistair MacLeod, Robert G. Meyers, Erwin Segal, Zeno G. Swijtink, Brice R. Wachterhauser, and Paul Weirich. (shrink)
Three very different things present themselves under the title “politics,” even when we restrict the domain of politics to civic concerns. One is the highly partisan activity that begins with the distinction between friends and enemies and culminates in wars or elections. Another is legislation, litigation, and diplomacy, often making use of conciliatory negotiation with adversaries (no longer “enemies” but honorable fellows). The third is civic action aimed at limiting, circumventing, or constraining the role of the first two. I call (...) the first kind “zero-sum politics,” the second “integrative politics,” and the third “anti-politics,” anti-politics having affinities with what Pettit calls anti-power. My aim is to distinguish the three by sketching their salient differences. The important point, as Wittgenstein said, is that these language-games are played. Clarity about their differences can enhance both our understanding of public affairs and the quality of public discourse. (shrink)
The principal goal of this collection of stimulating essays is clarity about Wittgenstein's work in general and about his conception of clarity in particular. This in-depth, clearly presented study by an internationally recognised scholar of Wittgenstein will be of great interest to philosophers and students of 20th-century thought.
Newton Garver - Assembling Reminders: Studies in the Genesis of Wittgenstein's Concept of Philosophy - Journal of the History of Philosophy 45:4 Journal of the History of Philosophy 45.4 671-672 Muse Search Journals This Journal Contents Reviewed by Newton Garver University at Buffalo Alan Janik. Assembling Reminders: Studies in the Genesis of Wittgenstein's Concept of Philosophy. Stockholm: Santérus Academic Press, 2006. Pp. 246. Paper, $40.00. Janik's book is a wonderful achievement, filling an obvious and long-neglected gap in Wittgenstein scholarship. The (...) plan of the book is simple and straightforward. Citing the well-known passage in Culture and Value where Wittgenstein identifies ten persons from whom he has taken seminal ideas for his work of clarification, Janik clarifies how each contributed to the development of.. (shrink)
In reading the Tractatus, one gets the impression that Wittgenstein, having resolved to his satisfaction the problems about language, logic, science, and mathematics, sets these painstakingly articulated findings in a disproportionately skimpy setting. There is a perfunctory ontology at the beginning, which is highly original as well as austere and perplexing; and at the end he hurries even more than usual through ethics, aesthetics and religion—as if the silence was already coming upon him, prematurely. The Notebooks 1914–1916 help a good (...) deal in understanding this skimpy setting. They give little direct indication of the ontological overture, apart from their frequent reiteration that there must be simples of some sort if the sense of expressions is to be determinate, but they give a fuller treatment to the other topics. This is particularly true of the latter half of 1916, when this parcel of topics seems to have become uppermost in Wittgenstein’s mind. Though it is exceedingly difficult to know what to make of what are in effect discarded notes, some of the entries are just too interesting to ignore. I wish to consider what light they throw on his thought at roughly the Tractatus period, and in particular on the ontology that apparently springs up full grown at the beginning of the Tractatus. (shrink)
Wittgenstein’s achievement in the history of philosophy consists in turning philosophy away from logical analysis toward contextual explication, and even more in undermining the dominance of epistemology in mainstream philosophy. However, since a majority of academic philosophers continue to work in ways that Wittgenstein disdained, it is unclear how much he affected the discipline.
Es ist willkürlich, unnötig und irreführend, zu vermuten, daß Wittgensteins Gebrauch des Wortes 'Lebensform' in den PU stillschweigend auf wesentliche menschliche Unterschiede (d.h., zwischen Individuen, zwischen Gruppen, oder zwischen Ländern) hinweist oder sie impliziert. Wir finden Lebensformen durch die Naturgeschichte, indem Wittgenstein oft zwischen unserer komplizierten Lebensform und der der Hunde, der der Löwen, u.s.w., unterscheidet. Die Fähigkeit, eine Sprache zu beherrschen, bestimmt die menschliche Lebensform und unterscheidet sie von den anderen.
Looking at Derrida and Wittgenstein's place in the history of philosophy, Garver and Lee assert that while Derrida is playful and witty, this method often obscures his ideas; conversely, Wittgenstein is considered the better philosopher because of his use of naturalism to resolve the problems of Kant's version of critical philosophy. The authors explore structuralism and metaphors as linguistic devices central to the theories and criticism of both Derrida and Wittgenstein. Using the themes found in Derrida's texts as a structure (...) for their discussion, the authors incorporate Wittgenstein for contrast or corroboration. (shrink)