Clear as Mud


Authors
Abstract
In both the Tractatus and the Investigations, Wittgenstein claimed that the aim of philosophy is to achieve clarity: to see clearly the logic or grammar of our language. However, his view of clarity underwent an important change, one of many changes that led Wittgenstein to write, in the preface to the Investigations, that his new ideas “could be seen in the right light only by contrast with and against the background of my old way of thinking.” I argue that certain “grave mistakes” of the Tractatus were due to an idealised conception of clarity, and that a revised understanding of clarity is one of the main achievements of the Investigations. In the Tractatus Wittgenstein wrongly assumed that when we see language clearly, what we see will be determinate, exact, and complete. In the Investigations he realised that when we see language clearly we cannot specify in advance whether what we see will be determinate or vague, exact or inexact, complete or incomplete. I characterise this insight as a truism: when we see clearly, what we see might not be clear. Wittgenstein wants the Tractatus to serve as a warning to the reader of the Investigations; his own past mistakes are instructive and this is why we should read the Investigations against the background of his old way of thinking.
Keywords Ludwig Wittgenstein  Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus  Philosophical Investigations  clarity  logic  grammar  language
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.5840/jpr_2006_5
Options
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

Our Archive


Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 40,796
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

Analytics

Added to PP index
2010-03-13

Total views
48 ( #163,617 of 2,244,032 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
5 ( #398,873 of 2,244,032 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Downloads

My notes

Sign in to use this feature