Reforging Siegfried's Sword

This paper examines the significance of Anscombe’s decision to substitute the example of Excalibur for that of Nothung in section 39 of the PhilosophicalInvestigations. It argues that the substitution significantly alters the mythological background to Wittgenstein’s discussion of naming and its philosophical subliming, in which the Theatetus conception of identity, composition, and decomposition (as exemplified by objects and their possessors) is contrasted with that of Wagner’s Ring; for Arthurian legend conceives of these matters differently again. The broader purpose of the paper is to demonstrate that these mythological worlds are not dispensable ornaments to Wittgenstein’s philosophical explorations, but rather internal to his way of guiding and reorienting our reflections on proper names, personal identity, and selfhood
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DOI 10.5840/acpq201185449
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