Conceptual History and the Philosophy of the Later Wittgenstein: A Critique of Quentin Skinners Contextualist Method
David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
Journal of the Philosophy of History 5 (1):54-83 (2011)
Although first published in 1969, the methodological views advanced in Quentin Skinner's “Meaning and Understanding in the History of Ideas” remain relevant today. In his article Skinner suggests that it would be inappropriate to even attempt to write the history of any idea or concept. In support of this view, Skinner advances two arguments, one derived from the philosophy of the later Wittgenstein and the other from that of J. L. Austin. In this paper I focus on the first of these arguments. I claim that the conclusion which Skinner draws from this particular argument does not necessarily follow and that an alternative assessment of the methodological significance of Wittgenstein's philosophy for historians of ideas is possible. On this alternative view, far from ruling out conceptual history, an appeal to the view of meaning set out in Wittgenstein's Philosophical Investigations leads to a quite different conclusion, namely that the writing of such a history is arguably a necessary precondition for the elucidation of the meaning of a number of the core concepts in the canon of the history of political thought. Skinner's views have changed somewhat since 1969. Indeed, from the mid 1970s onwards he came to relax the strict opposition to the idea of conceptual history to which he was then committed. The paper concludes by noting that this evolution in Skinner's thinking has made him much more sympathetic than anybody reading “Meaning and Understanding in the History of Ideas” would have imagined to the research project of the Begriffgeschichte School of conceptual history
|Keywords||History of Ideas Natural Law Begriffsgeschichte School Quentin Skinner Conceptual History Wittgenstein|
|Categories||categorize this paper)|
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
|Through your library|
References found in this work BETA
No references found.
Citations of this work BETA
No citations found.
Similar books and articles
Carl Knight (2012). Unit-Ideas Unleashed: A Reinterpretation and Reassessment of Lovejovian Methodology in the History of Ideas. Journal of the Philosophy of History 6 (2):195-217.
Martinich (2009). Four Senses of 'Meaning' in the History of Ideas: Quentin Skinner's Theory of Historical Interpretation. Journal of the Philosophy of History 3 (3):225-245.
Kenneth B. McIntyre (2008). Historicity as Methodology or Hermeneutics: Collingwood's Influence on Skinner and Gadamer. Journal of the Philosophy of History 2 (2):138-166.
Bryan Garsten (2007). Kari Palonen, Quentin Skinner: History, Politics, Rhetoric:Quentin Skinner: History, Politics, Rhetoric. Ethics 117 (3):566-571.
Roy A. Moxley (1997). Skinner: From Essentialist to Selectionist Meaning. Behavior and Philosophy 25 (2):95 - 119.
Adrian Haddock (2002). Rewriting the Past: Retrospective Description and its Consequences. Philosophy of the Social Sciences 32 (1):3-24.
Quentin Skinner (1996). Reason and Rhetoric in the Philosophy of Hobbes. Cambridge University Press.
Nathan Tarcov (1982). Quentin Skinner's Method and Machiavelli's Prince:The Foundations of Modern Political Thought. Vol. 1: The Renaissance. Quentin Skinner; The Foundations of Modern Political Thought. Vol. 2: The Age of Reformation. Quentin Skinner. [REVIEW] Ethics 92 (4):692-.
K. R. Minogue (1981). Method in Intellectual History: Quentin Skinner's Foundations. Philosophy 56 (218):533 - 552.
Robert Alun Jones & Douglas A. Kibbee (1993). Durkheim, Language, and History: A Pragmatist Perspective. Sociological Theory 11 (2):152-170.
Melissa Lane (2012). Doing Our Own Thinking for Ourselves: On Quentin Skinner's Genealogical Turn. Journal of the History of Ideas 73 (1):71-82.
David G. Stern (1995). Wittgenstein on Mind and Language. Oxford University Press.
Quentin Skinner (2012). On the Liberty of the Ancients and the Moderns: A Reply to My Critics. Journal of the History of Ideas 73 (1):127-146.
Added to index2011-03-19
Total downloads37 ( #55,389 of 1,679,474 )
Recent downloads (6 months)3 ( #78,501 of 1,679,474 )
How can I increase my downloads?