Wittgenstein on philosophical problems : from one fundamental problem to particular problems -- The Tractatus on philosophical problems -- Wittgenstein's later conception of philosophical problems -- Examples of philosophical problems as based on misunderstandings -- Tendencies and inclinations of thinking : philosophy as therapy -- Wittgenstein's notion of peace in philosophy : the contrast with the Tractatus -- Two conceptions of clarification -- The Tractatus's conception of philosophy as logical analysis -- Wittgenstein's later critique of the Tractatus's notion of logical (...) analysis -- Clarification in Wittgenstein's later philosophy -- From metaphysics and philosophical theses to grammar : Wittgenstein's turn -- Philosophical theses, metaphysical philosophy, and the Tractatus -- Metaphysics and conceptual investigation : the problem with metaphysics -- Conceptual investigation and the problem of dogmatism -- Wittgenstein's turn -- The turn and the role of rules -- Rules as objects of comparison -- Rules, metaphysical projection, and the logic of language -- Grammar, meaning, and language -- Grammar, use, and meaning : the problem of the status of Wittgenstein's remarks -- Wittgenstein's formulation of his conception of meaning -- The concept of language : comparisons with instruments and games -- Wittgenstein's development and the advantages of his mature view -- Examples as centers of variation and the conception of language as a family -- Avoiding dogmatism about meaning -- Wittgenstein's methodological shift and analyses in terms of necessary conditions -- The concepts of essence and necessity -- Constructivist readings and the arbitrariness/nonarbitrariness of grammar -- Problems with constructivism -- The methodological dimension of Wittgenstein's conception of essence -- The nontemporality of grammatical statements -- Explanations of necessity in terms of factual regularities -- Wittgenstein's account of essence and necessity -- Beyond theses about the source of necessity -- Philosophical hierarchies and the status of clarificatory statements -- Philosophical hierarchies and Wittgenstein's "leading principle" -- The concept of perspicuous presentation -- The (alleged) necessity of accepting philosophical statements -- The concept of agreement and the problem of injustice -- The criteria of the correctness of grammatical remarks -- Multidimensional descriptions and the new use of old dogmatic claims -- Wittgenstein's conception of philosophy, everyday language, and ethics -- Metaphysics disguised as methodology -- The historicity of philosophy -- Philosophy and the everyday. (shrink)
Oskari Kuusela explores Wittgenstein's account of logic in the context of the history of analytic philosophy. He presents Wittgenstein as developing the logical-philosophical approaches of his contemporaries and credits him with resolving the long-standing dispute between the ideal language and ordinary language schools of analytic philosophy.
This volume draws connections between Wittgenstein's philosophy and the work of Saul Kripke, especially his Naming and Necessity. Saul Kripke is regarded as one of the foremost representatives of contemporary analytic philosophy. His most important contributions include the strict distinction between metaphysical and epistemological questions, the introduction of the notions of contingent a priori truth and necessary a posteriori truth, and original accounts of names, descriptions, identity, necessity, and realism. The chapters in this book elucidate the relevant connections between Kripke’s (...) work and Wittgenstein, specifically concerning the standard meter, contingent apriori, and rule-following. The contributions shed light on how Kripke’s philosophical outlook was influenced by Wittgenstein, and how mainstream analytic philosophy and Wittgensteinian philosophy can fruitfully engage with one another. (shrink)
This article discusses the relation between the early Wittgenstein’s and Carnap’s philosophies of logic, arguing that Carnap’s position in The Logical Syntax of Language is in certain respects much closer to the Tractatus than has been recognized. In Carnapian terms, the Tractatus’ goal is to introduce, by means of quasi-syntactical sentences, syntactical principles and concepts to be used in philosophical clarification in the formal mode. A distinction between the material and formal mode is therefore already part of the Tractatus’ view, (...) and its method for introducing syntactical concepts and principles should be entirely acceptable for Carnap by his own criteria. Moreover, despite the Tractatus’ rejection of syntactical statements, there is an important correspondence between Wittgenstein’s saying-showing distinction and Carnap’s object-language-syntax-language distinction: both constitute a distinction between logico-syntactical determinations concerning language and language as determined or described by those determinations. Wittgenstein’s distinction therefore constitutes a precursor of the object-language syntax-language distinction which the latter in a certain sense affirms, rather than simply contradicting it. The saying-showing distinction agrees with Carnap’s position also in marking logic as something that isn’t true/false about either language or reality, which is a conception that underlies Carnap’s principle of tolerance. (shrink)
In this chapter I discuss Wittgenstein’s early and later views on ethics in the light of the development of his views on logic and philosophical method, maintaining that these developments are motivated by his aspiration to discover a method that enables one to do justice to the complexity of though and language use, and the richness of phenomena. I begin by discussing certain continuous features of Wittgenstein’s views on ethics and philosophy, in particular his conception that philosophy can only offer (...) reminders and clarifications, not give a foundation for language, thought or ethics. The first section thus introduces Wittgenstein’s notions of the personal character and groundlessness of ethics whose different reincarnations are taken up in the sections that follow. In the second section I seek to elucidate Wittgenstein’s early account of the possibility and nature of ethics, conceived in abstract and general terms as the problem of the relation of the will to reality, and his account of a happy or good life. This is followed by a discussion of his later rejection of the early account with its key assumptions, and its replacement with a different account that, in accordance with Wittgenstein’s new methodology, treats the problem of the relation of the will to reality as a particular aspect of ethics, rather than as constituting its underlying essence. In the final section will be concerned with the interpretation of Wittgenstein’s explanation of the nature or grammar of ethical justification, connected with the notions of personality and groundlessness. I argue that although Wittgenstein does regard ethical justifications as inconclusive, neither this nor the personal character and groundlessness of ethics implies relativism, as do not certain other remarks and reported discussions, contrary to what they might at first sight suggest. (shrink)
This chapter discusses Edward Harcourt’s recent criticism of Cora Diamond’s account of Wittgensteinian moral philosophy, and the view she associates with Wittgenstein that ethics has no specific subject matter. I argue that Harcourt has misconstrued Diamond’s account, and that his own proposal for what a Wittgensteinian moral philosophy would be like is not consistent with what Wittgenstein says about morality. In particular, Wittgenstein’s suggestion in his later philosophy that goodness is not a quality or property of actions in addition to (...) their other properties lends further support to Diamond’s account of ethics as devoid of subject matter that could be identified in terms of distinctively moral concepts. Through my discussion of this issue I hope to clarify and reinforce the challenge that Diamond’s account poses for traditional moral philosophy which sees as its goal the development of an abstract theory of moral goodness the purpose of which is to account for all instances of goodness in an ethical sense. (shrink)
This paper discusses the problem of the unity of moral good, concerning the kind of unity that moral good or the concept thereof constitutes. In particular, I am concerned with how Wittgenstein’s identification of various complex modes of conceptual unity, and his introduction of a methodology of clarification for dealing with such complex concepts, can help with the problem of unity, as it rises from the moral philosophical tradition. Relating to this I also address the disputed question, whether Wittgenstein regards (...) good as a family-resemblance concept, and make an attempt to characterize family-resemblance concepts generally by way of their similarities and differences from certain other complex modes of conceptual unity. I argue that whilst Wittgenstein does regard good as a family-resemblance concept, in the Philosophical Investigations he seeks to make a more general methodological point. I conclude with a suggestion of how Wittgenstein’s methodological points can help us to put into a broader perspective famous criticisms of the moral philosophical tradition by Michael Stocker and Bernard Williams, and how Wittgenstein's methods more generally can help to address the problem of the unity of good. This illustrates one way in which Wittgensteinian methods can help resolve disputes in moral philosophy, where the main approaches, Aristotelian, Kantian and utilitarian theories, seem to be locked in a stalemate. As I argue, this situation has to do with their assumptions about the unity of moral good. The response isn’t to reject those theories, however, but to re-interpret them in a way consistent with the Wittgensteinian methodology. (shrink)
This paper develops an account of Wittgenstein’s method of language-games as a method of logic that exhibits important continuities with Russell’s and the early Wittgenstein’s conceptions of logic and logical analysis as the method of philosophy. On the proposed interpretation, the method of language-games is a method for isolating and modeling aspects of the uses of linguistic expressions embedded in human activities that enables one to make perspicuous complex uses of expressions by gradually building up the complexity of clarificatory models. (...) Wittgenstein’s introduction of the language-game method constitutes an attempt to overcome certain limitations of calculus-based logical methods, and to respond in this way to problems with Russell’s and his own early philosophy of logic. The method is nevertheless compatible with the employment of calculus-based methods in logic and philosophy, and makes no exclusive claim to being the correct method. (shrink)
Comprising specially commissioned essays from some of the most significant contributors to the field, this volume provides a uniquely authoritative and thorough survey of the main lines of Wittgenstein scholarship over the past 50 years, tracing the history and current trends as well as anticipating the future shape of work on Wittgenstein. The first collection of its kind, this volume presents a range of perspectives on the different approaches to the philosophy of Wittgenstein Written by leading experts from America, Britain, (...) and Europe Provides a much needed overview of the complex landscape of Wittgenstein exegesis and Wittgensteinian approaches to philosophy Assesses the current state, aims, and future of Wittgenstein scholarship An essential guide for both students and scholars. (shrink)
“Tell me," Wittgenstein once asked a friend, "why do people always say, it was natural for man to assume that the sun went round the earth rather than that the earth was rotating?" His friend replied, "Well, obviously because it just looks as though the Sun is going round the Earth." Wittgenstein replied, "Well, what would it have looked like if it had looked as though the Earth was rotating?” What would it have looked like if we looked at all (...) sciences from the viewpoint of Wittgenstein’s philosophy? Wittgenstein is undoubtedly one of the most influential philosophers of the twentieth century. His complex body of work has been analysed by numerous scholars, from mathematicians and physicists, to philosophers, linguists, and beyond. This volume brings together some of his central perspectives as applied to the modern sciences and studies the influence they may have on the thought processes underlying science and on the world view it engenders. The contributions stem from leading scholars in philosophy, mathematics, physics, economics, psychology and human sciences; all of them have written in an accessible style that demands little specialist knowledge, whilst clearly portraying and discussing the deep issues at hand. (shrink)
Since the middle of the 20th century Ludwig Wittgenstein has been an exceptionally influential and controversial figure wherever philosophy is studied. This is the most comprehensive volume ever published on Wittgenstein: thirty-five leading scholars explore the whole range of his thought, offering critical engagement and original interpretation.
This paper discusses Gordon Baker’s interpretation of the later Wittgenstein, in particular his interpretation of the notion of Wittgensteinian philosophical conceptions and the notions of non-exclusivity, local incompatibility, non-additivity and global pluralism which Baker uses to characterize Wittgensteinian conceptions. On the basis of this discussion, and a critique of certain features of Baker’s interpretation of Wittgensteinian conceptions, I introduce the notion of a multidimensional logical description of language use, explaining how this notion, which Baker’s interpretation excludes, constitutes and important element (...) of the later Wittgenstein’s philosophical method of clarification and perspicuous representation. I conclude by explaining how Baker’s problematic notions of local incompatibility and non-additivity, if they are seen in the light of Wittgenstein’s criticisms of certain views of the completeness of philosophical or logical accounts, nevertheless point in the right direction. (shrink)
This paper outlines a solution to what can be called “the problem of domination by reason”, “conceptual domination” or “clarificatorory injustice”, connected with how a philosopher may appear to be in a position to legitimately coerce, by means of arguments, an interlocutor who shares with her a concept or a conceptual system to accept a philosophical characterization of a concept or whatever the concept concerns. The proposed solution is based on a particular interpretation of what Wittgenstein means by agreement in (...) his later philosophy, when he says that philosophy only states what anyone grants to it. Wittgenstein’s view and the proposed solution are characterized by their continued recognition of the value of logic and reason, truth and knowledge, as opposed to attempting to solve the problem by embracing relativism and questioning the value of the logic, reason, truth and knowledge. Relevant kind of disagreements licence no relativistic conclusions, because problems relating to them can be solved without going this far. Keywords: domination, relativism, Wittgenstein, method, agreement. (shrink)
Transcendental arguments have been described as undogmatic or non-dogmatic arguments. This paper examines this contention critically and addresses the question of what is required from an argument for which the characterization is valid. I shall argue that although transcendental arguments do in certain respects meet what one should require from non-dogmatic arguments, they - or more specifically, what I shall call 'general transcendental arguments' - involve an assumption about conceptual unity that constitutes a reason for not attributing to them the (...) status of non-dogmatic arguments. As a solution to this problem I distinguish general transcendental arguments from what I shall call 'specific transcendental arguments' and seek to explain how by limiting the use of transcendental arguments to the latter type it would be possible to avoid dogmatism. This methodological adjustment also opens up a possibility of re-interpreting transcendental arguments from the past in a novel non-dogmatic fashion. (shrink)
The paper discusses Wittgenstein's conception of philosophy as devoid of theses. Although already the _Tractatus aims to abandon philosophical theses, it relapses to such theses. In his later work Wittgenstein develops a novel conception of the status of philosophical statements. Rather than to state what his object of investigation, e.g., the use of a word, must be, the philosopher is to employ rules, examples etc., as 'objects of comparison'. A philosophical statement does not describe a necessity in reality. The modality (...) expressed by the statement is a characteristic of the philosopher's mode of presentation. The aim of Wittgenstein's shift is to avoid dogmatism. (shrink)
Wittgenstein compares philosophical explanations with explanations in aesthetics and ethics. According to him, the similarity between aesthetics and philosophy ‘reaches very far’, and as I aim to show, the comparison can be used to elucidate certain characteristic features of Wittgenstein’s philosophical approach. In particular, it can explain how his approach differs from metaphysical philosophy as well as clarifying the sense in which there are no theses or theories in philosophy, as Wittgenstein conceives it. In the last section of the essay, (...) I examine certain consequences of Wittgenstein’s view, including the lack of conclusive arguments in philosophy. Rather than implying that philosophy falls short of its rational aspirations, I argue, Wittgenstein’s explanation of why there are no conclusive arguments in philosophy can help us to see in the right light the lack of agreement in philosophy, as well as explaining why this is not a defect. (shrink)
Introduction to our edited volume on Wittgensteinian ethics with papers by Oskari Kuusela, Edward Harcourt, Anne-Marie Christensen, Sabina Lovibond, Alexander Miller, Benjamin De Mesel, Cora Diamond, Lars Hertzberg, Jeremy Johnson, Craig Taylor, Alice Crary, Lynette Reid.
This article proposes an interpretation of Wittgenstein’s so-called picture theory of propositions that forgoes the attribution of unsayable truths or theses to the Tractatus. Consequently, the interpretation avoids describing the Tractatus as entangled in a paradox of nonsensical theses. Rather, I argue, the proper expression for Wittgenstein’s logical insights is a logical symbolism into whose structure they are encoded. This also applies to his account of propositions as pictures. Its purpose is to clarify the principles governing a correct logical language (...) that makes perspicuous how symbols symbolize, and is expressive of what Wittgenstein calls ‘the correct logical conception’. (shrink)
The paper elucidates Wittgenstein's later conception of philosophy as devoid of theories or theses, comprehending this as an articulation of a strategy for avoiding dogmatism in philosophy. More specifically, it clarifies Wittgenstein's conception by using what he says about the concepts of meaning and language as an example and by developing an interpretation that purports to make plain that what Wittgenstein says about these issues does not constitute a philosophical thesis. Adopting Wittgenstein's approach, we can, arguably, have a richer view (...) of meaning and language than a commitment to philosophical theses allows for. I conclude with remarks on the method of analysis in terms of necessary conditions. (shrink)
In this paper I discuss the role of the nonsensical ‘statements’ of Wittgenstein’s Tractatus and the aims of the book, a topic which has in recent years been the subject of, at times heated, controversy among Wittgenstein’s readers.1 In this debate the so-called ineffability interpretation argues that the role of nonsense in the Tractatus is to make us grasp ineffable truths which ‘strictly speaking’ cannot be said or thought2. By contrast, the interpretation known as the resolute reading emphasises the incomprehensibility (...) of the notion of ineffable truths. According to the latter, nonsense in the Tractatus serves a therapeutic purpose: that of curing us from attempts to put forward nonsensical philosophical doctrines3. By employing a method of juxtaposition I.. (shrink)
In this article, I distinguish Wittgenstein's conception of the dissolution of philosophical problems from that of Carnap. I argue that the conception of dissolution assumed by the therapeutic interpretations of the Tractatus is more similar to Carnap's than to Wittgenstein's for whom dissolution involves spelling out an alternative in the context of which relevant problems do not arise. To clarify this I outline a non‐therapeutic resolute reading of the Tractatus that explains how Wittgenstein thought to be able to make a (...) positive contribution to logic and the philosophy thereof without putting forward any (ineffable) theses. This explains why there is no paradox in the Tractatus. (shrink)
Edited collection on Wittgensteinian ethics. With contributions by Oskari Kuusela, Edward Harcourt, Anne-Marie Christensen, Sabina Lovibond, Alexander Miller, Benjamin De Mesel, Cora Diamond, Lars Hertzberg, Jeremy Johnson, Craig Taylor, Alice Crary, Lynette Reid.
This volume of new essays explores the relationship between the thought of Wittgenstein and the key figures of phenomenology: Husserl, Heidegger, Levinas, Merleau-Ponty and Sartre. It is the first book to provide an overview of how Wittgenstein’s philosophy in its different phases, including his own so-called phenomenological phase, relates to the variety of phenomenological approaches developed in continental Europe. In so doing, the volume seeks to throw light on both sides of the comparison, and to clarify more broadly the relations (...) between analytic and phenomenological philosophy. However, rather than treating the interpretation of either phenomenological philosophy or Wittgenstein as an already settled issue, several chapters in the volume examine and question received views regarding them, and develop alternatives to such views. "Wittgenstein and Phenomenology" will be of interest to scholars working in philosophical methodology and meta-philosophy, the philosophy of mind, philosophy of language and logic, and ethics. (shrink)
This Element outlines Wittgenstein's early and later philosophies of logic, and explains Wittgenstein's views regarding the methodological significance of logic for philosophy. Wittgenstein's early philosophy of logic is presented as a further development of Frege's and Russell's accounts of logic, and Wittgenstein later philosophy as a response to problems with his early views, including confusions about idealization and abstraction in logic. The later Wittgenstein's novel logical methods, such as the method of language-games, are outlined, and the new kind of logical (...) naturalism developed in his later philosophy described. I conclude by discussing the later Wittgenstein on names. (shrink)
A main theme of this chapter is Ludwig Wittgenstein’s critical reception of Socrates in the 1930s, during which time Wittgenstein was developing a new philosophical methodology that he described as being antithetical to that of Socrates and best explained by way of this contrast. In particular, Wittgenstein is critical of an unexamined assumption relating to conceptual unity that seems to inform Socrates’ philosophical engagements, according to which one can always define a concept, or cases that fall under it, with reference (...) to a feature or features common to all relevant cases. However, when accounting for Wittgenstein’s reception of Socrates, one needs to explain why the kind ofcritical remarks composed in the 1930s do not reoccur in Wittgenstein’s writings after this period, and why none of these critical remarks make it into his mature main work, the Philosophical Investigations. What made Wittgenstein change his mind about how to explain or introduce his later philosophy? My explanation is twofold: (i) Wittgenstein came to find his 1930s remarks on Socrates misleading for reasons connected with his rejection of philosophical theses and questions relating to the justification of philosophical methodology. (ii) Ultimately he came to recognize a possibility of reinterpreting Socrates’ method/s of employing definitions as consistent with his own methodology. Thus, rather than as an antithesis to Socratic philosophy, Wittgenstein’s later philosophy is better seen as giving it a new twist. Following this lead, I identify five important uses for definitions whose philosophical significance does not rest of the assumption of simple conceptual unity. Four of these are evidently present in Plato’s Socratic dialogues. (shrink)
Wittgenstein’s rejection of philosophical theories doesn’t mean that he, or whoever adopts his method, couldn’t have any positive views about the objects of philosophical investigation. It merely means not presenting those views in a dogmatic manner, as theses that all relevant cases must fit. Wittgenstein’s approach allows one not to take sides in philosophical disputes and to take on board whatever might be correct in the traditional theories.
This chapter discusses the methodological and epistemological significance of so-called intuitions in philosophy; that is, whether intuitions can be understood as evidence for or against philosophical claims or, if not, whether they might have some other kind of methodological significance. A closely connected issue which the chapter addresses, is whether our comprehension of logical, conceptual, or metaphysical possibilities and necessities can be explained by reference to intuitions or the capacity of intuition or, if not, how our capacity to understand such (...) modalities should be explained. In response to the accounts of Ernest Sosa and George Bealer, the author distinguishes three senses in which one might talk about intuition or intuitions. On this basis, it is argued that intuitions in the first and second senses cannot do the philosophical work with which Sosa and Bealer task intuitions, whilst the philosophical significance of intuitions in the third sense is radically different from what Sosa and Bealer suggest, namely, consisting not in their evidential status—pace Sosa and Bealer—but in the fact that their scrutiny may reveal something important about how a given philosophical issue has arisen for us, in the first place. (shrink)
Wittgenstein writes in the preface to the Philosophical Investigations: ‘I should not like my writing to spare other people the trouble of thinking. But if possible, to stimulate someone to thoughts of his own.’ In the following I argue that this indicates something essential about Wittgenstein’s approach. In order to remain true to his conception of philosophy without theses, he could not, for example, aim to instruct his reader about about grammar or put forward prescriptions about grammar, logic or language (...) use. Thus, there is an essential connection between the aim of stimulating the reader to thoughts of their own, and philosophizing without theses. In order to clarify this I will discuss both Wittgenstein’s early and later account of philosophy without theses, his later rejection of philosophical foundations and the hierarchical organization of philosophy, such as assumed in his early philosophy, the notion of agreement in Wittgenstein’s later philosophy, and certain remarks from the Nachlass on the composition of his book, eventually published as the Philosophical Investigations. (shrink)