Genia Schönbaumsfeld
University of Southampton
_ Source: _Volume 6, Issue 2-3, pp 165 - 181 Wittgenstein’s notion of ‘hinge propositions’—those propositions that stand fast for us and around which all empirical enquiry turns—remains controversial and elusive, and none of the recent attempts to make sense of it strike me as entirely satisfactory. The literature on this topic tends to divide into two camps: either a ‘quasi-epistemic’ reading is offered that seeks to downplay the radical nature of Wittgenstein’s proposal by assimilating his thought to more mainstream epistemological views, or a non-epistemic, ‘quasi-pragmatic’ conception is adopted that goes too far in the opposite direction by, for example, equating ‘hinge propositions’ with a type of ‘animal’ certainty. Neither interpretative strategy, I will argue, is promising for the reason that ‘hinges’ are best not conceived as certainties at all. Rather, what Wittgenstein says in respect to them is that doubt is “logically” excluded, and where there can be no doubt, I contend, there is no such thing as knowledge or certainty either.
Keywords Wittgenstein   grammatical proposition   certainty   hinge propositions   doubt   groundlessness   pragmatism   radical scepticism   knowledge
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DOI 10.1163/22105700-00603006
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Unnatural Doubts.Christopher Hookway - 1993 - Philosophical Quarterly 43 (172):389.
The Illusion of Doubt.Genia Schönbaumsfeld - 2016 - Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press UK.
Unnatural Doubts.Michael Williams - 1994 - Noûs 28 (4):533-547.

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