This paper looks at statements I am in a position to make ‘straight off’: observational judgements, perceptual and memory statements, statements about my posture, my intentions, and so on. These kinds of statement pose a problem: what is the nature of my entitlement to them? I focus on observational judgements and on two contrasting approaches to them. The first, which I reject, provides an account of my warrant for them; the second, which I defend, disconnects my entitlement from possession of (...) a justification. I consider what light the second approach sheds on the other kinds of statements I am in a position to make straight off. (shrink)
Since the middle of the 20th century Ludwig Wittgenstein has been an exceptionally influential and controversial figure wherever philosophy is studied. This is the most comprehensive volume ever published on Wittgenstein: thirty-five leading scholars explore the whole range of his thought, offering critical engagement and original interpretation, and tracing his philosophical development. Topics discussed include logic and mathematics, language and mind, epistemology, philosophical methodology, religion, ethics, and aesthetics. Wittgenstein's relation to other founders of analytic philosophy such as Gottlob Frege, Bertrand (...) Russell, and G. E. Moore is explored. This Handbook is the place to look for a full understanding of Wittgenstein's special importance to modern philosophy. (shrink)
Abstract: Interpretations of the Tractatus divide into what might be called a metaphysical and an anti-metaphysical approach to the work. The central issue between the two interpretative approaches has generally been characterised in terms of the question whether the Tractatus is committed to the idea of ‘things’ that cannot be said in language, and thus to the idea of a distinctive kind of nonsense: nonsense that is an attempt to say what can only be shown. In this paper, I look (...) at this dispute from a different perspective, by focusing on the treatment of the concept of internal relations. By reference to the work of Peter Hacker, Hidé Ishiguro and Cora Diamond, I show how this concept is understood quite differently in each of the two interpretative traditions. I focus particularly on how Wittgenstein's idea of the ‘internal relation of depicting that holds between language and the world’ (Tractatus 4.014) might be understood within the two interpretative approaches. I offer some reasons in support of the anti-metaphysical treatment of the concept. (shrink)
The primary concern of Stephen Mulhall's book is to investigate an interpretation of Wittgenstein's remarks on private language, associated paradigmatically with Norman Malcolm. On this reading, the grammar of our ordinary concepts of language, reference, meaning, rule, etc. is held to prohibit or exclude the idea of a private language. The attempt to give expression to the idea is held to result in a violation of the grammar of these concepts, which connects them essentially with the idea of public criteria (...) that are accepted as establishing that a word has been correctly used. Something that philosophers have been inclined to regard as a possibility is shown to be excluded: the attempt to describe it results in .. (shrink)
Discussion of Wittgenstein's Tractatus is currently dominated by two opposing interpretations of the work: a metaphysical or realist reading and the 'resolute' reading of Diamond and Conant. Marie McGinn's principal aim in this book is to develop an alternative interpretative line, which rejects the idea, central to the metaphysical reading, that Wittgenstein sets out to ground the logic of our language in features of an independently constituted reality, but which allows that he aims to provide positive philosophical insights into how (...) language functions. McGinn takes as a guiding principle the idea that we should see Wittgenstein's early work as an attempt to eschew philosophical theory and to allow language itself to reveal how it functions. By this account, the aim of the work is to elucidate what language itself makes clear, namely, what is essential to its capacity to express thoughts that are true or false. However, the early Wittgenstein undertakes this descriptive project in the grip of a set of preconceptions concerning the essence of language that determine both how he conceives the problem and the approach he takes to the task of clarification. Nevertheless, the Tractatus contains philosophical insights, achieved despite his early preconceptions, that form the foundation of his later philosophy. -/- The anti-metaphysical interpretation that is presented includes a novel reading of the problematic opening sections of the Tractatus, in which the apparently metaphysical status of Wittgenstein's remarks is shown to be an illusion. The book includes a discussion of the philosophical background to the Tractatus, a comprehensive interpretation of Wittgenstein's early views of logic and language, and an interpretation of the remarks on solipsism. The final chapter is a discussion of the relation between the early and the later philosophy that articulates the fundamental shift in Wittgenstein's approach to the task of understanding how language functions and reveal the still more fundamental continuity in his conception of his philosophical task. (shrink)
Wittgenstein is the most influential twentieth-century philosopher in the English-speaking world. In The Philosophical Investigations , his most important work, he introduces the famous "private language argument" which changed the whole philosophical view of language. Wittgenstein and the Philosophical Investigations introduces and assesses Wittgenstein's life and its connection with his thought, the text of The Philosophical Investigations , and the importance of Wittgenstein's work to contemporary philosophy.