Graduate studies at Western
Philosophical Quarterly 52 (208):289-302 (2002)
|Abstract||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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