Ludwig Wittgenstein is one of the most important, influential, and often-cited philosophers of the twentieth century, yet he remains one of its most elusive and least accessible. The essays in this volume address central themes in Wittgenstein's writings on the philosophy of mind, language, logic, and mathematics. They chart the development of his work and clarify the connections between its different stages. The contributors illuminate the character of the whole body of work by keeping a tight focus on some key (...) topics: the style of the philosophy, the conception of grammar contained in it, rule-following, convention, logical necessity, the self, and what Wittgenstein called, in a famous phrase, 'forms of life'. (shrink)
Wittgenstein's remarks about family resemblance in the Philosophical Investigations should not be construed as implying a comprehensive theory of universals. They possess, rather, a defensive function in his exposition. The remarks allow one, nevertheless, to draw certain general conclusions about how Wittgenstein thought about concepts. Reflection on the notion of family resemblance reveals that kinship and similarity considerations intersect in it in a problematic fashion.
Rethinking politics in a new vocabulary, Hans Sluga challenges the firmly held assumption that there exists a single common good which politics is meant to realize. He argues that politics is not a natural but a historical phenomenon, and not a single thing but a multiplicity of political forms and values only loosely related. He contrasts two traditions in political philosophy: a 'normative theorizing' that extends from Plato to John Rawls and a newer 'diagnostic practice' that emerged with Marx and (...) Nietzsche and has found its three most prominent twentieth-century practitioners in Carl Schmitt, Hannah Arendt, and Michel Foucault. He then examines the sources of diagnostic political thinking, analyzes its achievements, and offers a critical assessment of its limitations. His important book will be of interest to a wide range of upper-level students and scholars in political philosophy, political theory, and the history of ideas. (shrink)
This essay traces the roots of Wittgenstein’s Pyrrhonism to Mauthner, and argues that Wittgenstein’s later views moved even closer to those of Mauthner, although Wittgenstein never became as thoroughgoing a Pyrrhonian as Mauthner had been. It is argued that Mauthner’s neo-Pyrrhonian view of language was “responsible for the linguistic turn in Wittgenstein’s thinking and thereby indirectly also for the whole linguistic turn in 20th-century analytic philosophy”.
Michael Dummett, following an established line of reasoning, has interpreted Frege as a realist. But his claim that Frege was arguing against a dominant idealism is untenable. While there are passages in Frege's writings that seem to support a realistic interpretation, others are irreconcilable with it. The issue can be resolved only by examining the historical context. Frege's thought is, in fact, related to the philosophy of Hermann Lotze. Frege is best regarded as a transcendental idealist in the Lotze-Kant tradition. (...) His contextual principle is a linguistic version of Kant's principle of the transcendental unity of judgment. By ignoring the historical context Dummett has been led to misinterpret the precise role of the contextual principle in Frege's thought. (shrink)
_Wittgenstein_ presents a concise, comprehensive, and systematic treatment of Ludwig Wittgenstein's thought from his early work, _Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus,_ to the posthumous publication of _On Certainty_, notes written just prior to his death. A substantial scholarly addition to our understanding of one of the most original and influential thinkers of the twentieth century, by renowned Wittgenstein scholar, Hans Sluga Proposes an original new interpretation of Wittgenstein's work Written to also be accessible to readers unfamiliar with Wittgenstein's thought Includes discussion of the (...) social and political background and contemporary relevance of Wittgenstein's thoughts. (shrink)
Foucault’s political thinking is focused on the concept of power relations. Under the influence of Nietzsche he proposes two different accounts of how power is related to human action. Nietzsche had argued, on the basis of a reading of Kant’s antinomies of pure reason, for two different accounts of that relationship. On the one hand, he had sought to understand action as a phenomenon of the will to power; on the other, he had also spoken of the will to power (...) as an aspect of human agency. On Nietzsche’s views, we need to assert both positions even though they are for us irreconcilable. In his writings on power and action Foucault finds himself driven into adopting a similarly dual view. While he speaks of action in the nineteen seventies as subsidiary to power relations, he reverses himself in the nineteen eighties by treating power as a feature of human action. Just like Nietzsche, he offers us no way of reconciling these two distinct accounts. (shrink)
Frege subscribed neither to a correspondence theory of truth nor, as is now frequently argued, to a simple redundancy theory of truth. He did not believe, in other words, that the word "true" can be dropped from the language without loss. He argues, instead, that in a perfect language we would not require the term "true" but that we are far from possessing such a language. A perfect language would be one that is fully adequate in the sense that it (...) would allow us to state truths and truth-connections without ambiguities and contradictions. Ordinary language and the calculi we can construct on its basis are, on the other hand, always imperfect. In seeing these imperfections, Frege takes up an important line of late nineteenth century philosophical thinking which can be illustrated also by Nietzsche's reflections on language. Frege and Nietzsche draw, however, diametrically opposed conclusions from the thought that our language proves imperfect. (shrink)
Following a suggestion made by Wittgenstein writing is treated as a manifestation of and model for thinking. An analysis of Wittgenstein's own writing as well as that of Plato, Kant, and Nietzsche reveals it as work carried out in multiple episodes of addition, deletion, and (re-)organization. Reflective writing of this kind is, in fact, a process of equilibration between local and global ideas which in philosophical work typically generates problems of coherence and closure. Non-reflective, immediate writing is not primary in (...) philosophy, but characteristically presupposes a process of reflective rehearsal. The classical conception of thinking as an apprehension of thoughts derives from the mistaken idea of the primacy of immediate writing. (shrink)
We can pinpoint almost to the day the moment at which Hannah Arendt became a political theorist, and we can name with precision the experiences that made her one. Born in 1906, she had led a substantially apolitical life until Hitler gained power and she fled Germany in 1933. In Paris, she became an activist, busy in Jewish refugee affairs but with little time for abstract reflection. The end of the war and her book on The Origins of Totalitarianism marked (...) a new but still only transitional phase in her life. The work is best understood as a piece of…. (shrink)
What is the role assigned to the author in Foucault's theory of discourse? An analysis of that theory reveals that Foucault speaks in it of the author only as a function of the discourse. But, it is objected, that ignores the causal role of the author in producing a discourse. Foucault's later concern with the self is seen as going beyond his earlier statements about the nature of the human subject. But while his work as a whole offers important insights (...) into the question of the author and the subject, he does not succeed in giving us a worked?out doctrine. (shrink)
Following a suggestion made by Wittgenstein writing is treated as a manifestation of and model for thinking. An analysis of Wittgenstein's own writing as well as that of Plato, Kant, and Nietzsche reveals it as work carried out in multiple episodes of addition, deletion, and organization. Reflective writing of this kind is, in fact, a process of equilibration between local and global ideas which in philosophical work typically generates problems of coherence and closure. Non-reflective, immediate writing is not primary in (...) philosophy, but characteristically presupposes a process of reflective rehearsal. The classical conception of thinking as an apprehension of thoughts derives from the mistaken idea of the primacy of immediate writing. (shrink)
Wayne Martin’s Theories of Judgment marks a significant advance in the philosophical analysis of judgment. He understands that the domain of judgment is so large that it allows only a selective treatment. We can expand Martin’s insight by acknowledging that this domain is, in fact, hypercomplex and therefore unsurveyable in Wittgenstein’s sense. Martin’s treatment of judgments can, however, be extended in a number of directions. Of particular importance is it to understand the linguistic aspect of theoretical judgments, the challenges to (...) the synthetic conception of judgment constituted not only by existential, but also by impersonal and negative judgments, and the exploration of the links between the notions of judgment and truth. (shrink)
By delineating in this way the historical context of the Vienna Circle, by tracing its origins in the rise of a scientific philosophizing that began in Austria with Bolzano and extended through Brentano and Mach, by exploring the antecedents of the Vienna Circle in the first two decades of this century, by showing, in particular, how the Vienna Circle interacted with a number of other intellectual groups in Vienna , how it was engaged in a continuous struggle with the largely (...) conservative and reactionary academic environment, and how it concerned itself with popular education , Stadler succeeds in showing that the Vienna Circle was indeed a central element in the culture of its time. One certainly takes from his book a deepened grasp of the intellectual, social, and political environment in which the Vienna Circle operated. But Stadler’s account also makes clear why the Circle eventually dissolved. For the constant battering by ideological and political enemies eventually made it impossible for its members to survive at the University and in Austria as a whole. Even before the “Anschluss” in 1938 the hostile climate had forced some members of the Circle to emigrate. The result, ratified, by Hitler’s march to Vienna was the complete dispersion but, at the same time, also the internationalization of the Vienna Circle. (shrink)