Review of J. Agassi, Ludwig Wittgenstein's Philosophical Investigations: An Attempt at a Critical Rationalist Appraisal. [Book Review]

Brendan Shea
Rochester Community And Technical College
The acrimony between Karl Popper and Ludwig Wittgenstein has become the stuff of philosophical legend (Edmonds and Eidinow 2002). In the mid-20th century, they offered sharply divergent ideas about the best path for philosophy going forward. While Popper remains a mainstay in introductory courses in the philosophy of science, his "critical rationalist" approach to philosophy has remained marginal with analytic philosophy, especially when compared to the overwhelming influence of Wittgenstein. To what extent does this difference in perceived stature track genuine differences in philosophical contributions? In this book, one of Popper's most eminent students, Joseph Agassi, attempts to provide an answer. He argues that Wittgenstein's contributions are much more modest than is sometimes claimed and that his influence on subsequent analytic philosophy has not always been benign. Agassi provides a unique and welcome perspective on these issues, and there's much of interest in the book, even though Agassi's interpretation of Wittgenstein may not convince those not already sympathetic to his point of view.
Keywords Karl Popper  Critical Rationalism  Wittgenstein  History of Analytic Philosophy  Rule-Following  Philosophical Investigations  History of Logic  Tractatus  Frege
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