Was the Later Wittgenstein a Transcendental Idealist?

In P. Coates & D. D. Hutto (eds.), Current Issues in Idealism. Thoemmes Press (1996)
In his paper "Wittgenstein and Idealism" Professor Williams proposed a 'model' for reading Wittgenstein's later philosophy which he claimed exposed its transcendental idealist character. By this he roughly meant that Wittgenstein's later position was idealistic to the extent that it disallowed the possibility of there being any independent reality that was not contaminated by our view things. And he thought it was transcendental in the sense that 'our view of things' is not something that we can explain or can locate in the world. I argue that even if we accept Williams' interpretation of Wittgenstein it does not follow that the latter sponsored any form of transcendental idealism. I make this case in several stages and on two different platforms. Firstly, I give a brief description of the underlying basis of Williams' interpretation. Secondly, I defend the general thrust of it against a critique which issued from Malcolm. Finally, I argue that the views ascribed to Wittgenstein by Williams do not make him into a transcendental idealist. On the one hand, this case is made by showing that there is a non-trivial resemblance between Williams' Wittgenstein and Donald Davidson who is a self-styled realist. On the other hand, I set out exegetical reasons for thinking that if the continuity that Williams sees between the Tractatus and the later writings actually exists then it provides reason in itself not to regard Wittgenstein as an idealist.
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history Request removal from index Translate to english
Download options
PhilPapers Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy on self-archival     Papers currently archived: 16,707
External links
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.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles
José Medina (2003). Wittgenstein and Nonsense: Psychologism, Kantianism, and the Habitus. International Journal of Philosophical Studies 11 (3):293 – 318.
Lucy Allais (2003). Kant's Transcendental Idealism and Contemporary Anti-Realism. International Journal of Philosophical Studies 11 (4):369 – 392.

Monthly downloads

Added to index


Total downloads

580 ( #714 of 1,726,249 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

497 ( #175 of 1,726,249 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature

Start a new thread
There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.