Wittgenstein, Kant and the critique of totality

Philosophy and Social Criticism 33 (6):691-715 (2007)
Abstract
In this paper, I explore Wittgenstein’s inheritance of one specific strand of Kant’s criticism, in the Critique of Pure Reason, of reason’s inherent pretensions to totality. This exploration reveals new critical possibilities in Wittgenstein’s own philosophical method, challenging existing interpretations of Wittgenstein’s political thought as “conservative” and exhibiting the closeness of its connection to another inheritor of Kant’s critique of totality, the Frankfurt school’s criticism of “identity thinking” and the reification of reason to which it leads. Additionally, it shows how Wittgenstein’s linguistic philosophy offers to challenge and undermine, in a historically novel way, the metaphysical assumptions underlying some of our most characteristic and ubiquitous social practices
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