Wittgenstein on Metaphysical/Everyday Use

Philosophical Quarterly 52 (208):289-302 (2002)
Wittgenstein remarked 'What we do is to bring words back from their metaphysical to their everyday use' (PI §116). On this basis, his 'later philosophy' is generally regarded as a version of 'ordinary language philosophy'. He is taken to criticize philosophers for making ('metaphysical') statements which deviate in different ways from the everyday use of some of their component expressions. I marshal textual evidence for another reading of this remark, and show that he used 'metaphysical' in a traditional way, namely, to describe philosophical attempts to delineate the essence of things by establishing necessities and impossibilities. On his conception, 'everyday' simply means 'non-metaphysical' (in this precise sense). Comparisons of philosophical utterances with non-philosophical uses of words are meant to call attention to this crucial distinction
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    G. E. M. Anscombe (1975). The First Person. In Samuel D. Guttenplan (ed.), Mind and Language. Oxford University Press. 45–65.

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