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Philosophy Ludwig Wittgenstein: Later Works
by
Annalisa Coliva, Danièle Moyal-Sharrock

Introduction

The work of Ludwig Wittgenstein (1889–1951) continues to influence philosophers working in fields such as language, morality, religion, and culture. Biographers often separate his work into periods, and the early period is epitomized by the Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus. Wittgenstein’s later works are Philosophical Investigations, the various writings, Wittgenstein’s Lectures, Remarks on the Philosophy of Psychology, Remarks on Colour, and On Certainty. Philosophical Investigations in particular, published posthumously, serves as a critique of both traditional philosophy and of Wittgenstein’s earlier work in the Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus. This entry addresses these works both nominally and thematically.

Introductory Works

Of the introductions that give a general picture of Wittgenstein’s later works, Kenny 2006 and Pears 1971 are both penetrating and accessible and should be read first. Hacker 1989 is a masterpiece of exposition and clarification of the later corpus, with the exception of On Certainty. The focus of Fogelin 1995 on the later work usefully includes a discussion of Wittgenstein on skepticism, and Pears 1988 relates the later to the early work. While not as comprehensive, Hacker 1996 has the added virtue of situating some of the later work in 20th-century thought.

  • Fogelin, Robert J. Wittgenstein. 2d ed. London: Routledge, 1995.

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    Admired for its great clarity, this is a classic introduction to Wittgenstein’s work. The later philosophy is the object of part 2, with authoritative and critical emphasis on the private-language argument, rule following, and skepticism.

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  • Hacker, P. M. S. Insight and Illusion: Themes in the Philosophy of Wittgenstein. Corrected ed. Bristol, UK: Thoemmes, 1989.

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    This contains an outstanding account of the development and meaning of Wittgenstein’s later philosophy, whose goal is the insight and understanding gained from a perspicuous surview of our conceptual schemes. Rightly regarded as the best single-volume study of Wittgenstein’s philosophy. Not to be confused with the first edition of 1972.

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  • Hacker, P. M. S. Wittgenstein’s Place in Twentieth-Century Analytic Philosophy. Oxford: Blackwell, 1996.

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    In this sober evaluation of Wittgenstein’s legacy to philosophy, redefined as the pursuit not of knowledge but of understanding, a chapter is devoted to placing the Investigations in 20th-century analytic philosophy.

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  • Kenny, Anthony. Wittgenstein. Rev. ed. Oxford: Blackwell, 2006.

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    Revised from the 1973 edition, this is still one of the best introductions to Wittgenstein’s core philosophical concepts and concerns. An excellent new introduction ponders the increasingly questioned assumption of a no-theory Wittgenstein.

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  • Pears, David. Wittgenstein. London: Fontana/Collins, 1971.

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    This is a perspicuous rendering of Wittgenstein’s philosophical passage from the Tractatus to the Investigations, with crystal-clear exposition of the main motivations, tasks, and methods of both periods.

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  • Pears, David. The False Prison: A Study of the Development of Wittgenstein’s Philosophy. Vol. 2. Oxford: Clarendon, 1988.

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    Based on the premise that a full understanding of Wittgenstein’s later thought can hardly be achieved in isolation from his earlier thought, this second volume of Pears’s masterful study focuses on the later Wittgenstein’s treatment of the ego, the private-language argument, and rule following, with particular attention to his “phenomenalism.”

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General Overviews

Of the plethora of readings and interpretations of the later Wittgenstein, some have made a distinctive and influential mark on the study of his philosophy and have generated an abundant secondary literature. Cavell 1999, it might be said, reads Wittgenstein with an analytic mind and a Continental spirit, giving existential depth to the philosopher’s thought. Diamond 1991 too has an in-depth approach to Wittgenstein, and though the author’s style is difficult and her interest more focused on the Tractatus, she provides a radically therapeutic perspective from which to view the later work as well. Malcolm 1995, Hacker 1989, and Pears 2006 are of a more analytic ilk, all shedding light on Wittgenstein’s elucidations of philosophical problems—Pears 2006 more critically than the others. Rhees 2006 and Winch 1987, by eminent representatives of what might be called the Swansea school of Wittgenstein scholarship, have a more sociologically based reading of Wittgenstein. Wright 2001 has the features of a more traditional philosopher, engaged particularly in epistemology, which makes Crispin Wright a real contender in that field.

  • Cavell, Stanley. The Claim of Reason: Wittgenstein, Skepticism, Morality, and Tragedy. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1999.

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    Viewing philosophy not as a set of problems but as a set of texts, Cavell delves into Wittgenstein’s writings with philosophical and literary acuity and gives us a more profound acquaintance with Wittgenstein, though too little is made of the philosopher’s (dis)solution of some problems, such as skepticism.

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  • Diamond, Cora. The Realistic Spirit: Wittgenstein, Philosophy, and the Mind. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1991.

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    The term “realistic” is redefined as referring to human life and activity and to Wittgenstein’s nonmetaphysical approach to philosophy: there are no metaphysical facts that make our way of speaking right or wrong. An influential work; Diamond’s interpretation of Wittgenstein’s conception of nonsense (see especially the chapter “Throwing Away the Ladder”) is largely responsible for the “new Wittgenstein” or radically therapeutic reading of Wittgenstein’s philosophy.

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  • Hacker, P. M. S. Insight and Illusion: Themes in the Philosophy of Wittgenstein. Corrected ed. Bristol, UK: Thoemmes, 1989.

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    This book, described in Introductory Works, deserves mention here as offering a condensed yet accessible rendering of one of the classical readings of Wittgenstein’s later philosophy.

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  • Malcolm, N. Wittgensteinian Themes: Essays, 1978–1989. Edited by Georg Henrik von Wright. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1995.

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    This volume illuminates basic issues in Wittgenstein’s philosophy of language and mind, such as his noncognitivism or “primitivism” and the importance of action. It includes Malcolm’s seminal essay “Wittgenstein: The Relation of Language to Instinctive Behavior” and his responses to Bernard Williams (“Wittgenstein and Idealism”), Rush Rhees (“Language Game [2]”), and Gordon Baker and P. M. S. Hacker (“Wittgenstein on Language and Rules”).

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  • Pears, David. Paradox and Platitude in Wittgenstein’s Philosophy. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2006.

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    This book covers the same ground as Pears’s earlier works on Wittgenstein but with the familiarity and expertise of someone who has traveled longer and deeper with the philosopher. Questions and objections are put to Wittgenstein’s philosophy in five interrelated themes: the pictorial character of language, linguistic regularity, the private language argument, logical necessity, and ego.

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  • Rhees, Rush. Wittgenstein and the Possibility of Discourse. Edited by D. Z. Phillips. Cambridge, UK: Blackwell, 2006.

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    Rhees’s main themes can be found here: his critique of Wittgenstein’s analogy of language and games, his opposition to the idea of language as the mastery of a technique and as rooted in instinct, and his own insistence on the centrality of “conversation” for the possibility of discourse.

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  • Winch, Peter. Trying to Make Sense. Oxford: Blackwell, 1987.

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    Contains some of Winch’s best essays on Wittgenstein (for example, “Im Anfang war die Tat” and “Eine Einstellung zur Seele”—both written in English), articulating themes such as the idea that our immediate responses to other human beings are not based on any theory we have about them and the importance of certain primitive reactions in concept formation.

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  • Wright, Crispin. Rails to Infinity: Essays on Themes from Wittgenstein’s Philosophical Investigations. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2001.

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    This collection of Crispin Wright’s essays on the Investigations is devoted mostly to rule following, privacy, and self-knowledge. Wright presents various interpretations of Wittgenstein’s construal of rules, finding none that settles the problem of objectivity to his satisfaction.

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Textbooks

Some useful textbooks cover Wittgenstein’s later works. McGinn 1997 makes the Investigations available to new readers of Wittgenstein, while Harré and Tissaw 2005 is more geared to psychologists. Glock 1996 addresses all.

  • Glock, Hans-Johann. A Wittgenstein Dictionary. Oxford: Blackwell, 1996.

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    Its concise clarification of key topics and technical terms makes this an indispensable research tool, though perhaps in need of an update.

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  • Harré, Rom, and Michael A. Tissaw. Wittgenstein and Psychology: A Practical Guide. Aldershot, UK: Ashgate, 2005.

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    Wittgenstein’s analysis of the “grammar” of psychological concepts. Shows how Wittgenstein’s philosophical psychology impinges on the actual practice of psychology and on its development as a science in its attempts to gain an understanding of human thinking, feeling, acting, and perceiving. Learning summaries, self tests, and further readings are provided.

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  • McGinn, M. Wittgenstein and the “Philosophical Investigations.” London: Routledge, 1997.

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    An excellent introduction to the Investigations, with clear, insightful explanations of its key topics. References for further readings are usefully provided at the end of each chapter.

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Anthologies

Anthologies on Wittgenstein have been steadily emerging, though not many concerned precisely with the later work. Exceptions are Kahane, et al. 2007 and Moyal-Sharrock 2004. Sluga and Stern 1996 and Glock and Hyman 2009 are of some interest, while Canfield 1986, a wide-ranging collection, is a treasure of Wittgenstein scholarship.

  • Canfield, John V., ed. The Philosophy of Wittgenstein. New York: Garland, 1986.

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    This is a collection of important articles on Wittgenstein’s philosophy, reprinted in thematic volumes. It is still very much worth consulting on any topic of Wittgenstein’s philosophy.

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  • Glock, Hans-Johann, and John Hyman, eds. Wittgenstein and Analytic Philosophy: Essays for P. M. S. Hacker. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009.

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    Not the superlative collection one might have expected but some excellent chapters by John Cottingham (on religion), Anthony Kenny (on cognitive scientism), and David Wiggins (on knowing how to and knowing that).

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  • Kahane, Guy, Edward Kanterian, and Oskari Kuusela, eds. Wittgenstein and His Interpreters: Essays in Memory of Gordon Baker. Malden, MA: Blackwell, 2007.

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    Some outstanding articles in this homage to Baker on the later Wittgenstein, particularly by Hans-Johann Glock, David G. Stern, and Ray Monk. Of special interest is Peter Hacker’s essay “Gordon Baker’s Late Interpretation of Wittgenstein.” A fine collection.

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  • Moyal-Sharrock, Danièle, ed. The Third Wittgenstein: The Post-“Investigations” Works. Aldershot, UK: Ashgate, 2004.

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    This anthology aims to correct the traditional bipartite conception of Wittgenstein’s work and establish the existence of a distinct and important post-Investigations Wittgenstein, a third Wittgenstein, whose masterpiece is On Certainty.

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  • Sluga, Hans, and David G. Stern, eds. The Cambridge Companion to Wittgenstein. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1996.

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    An uneven collection of essays, covering some important topics, including grammar, normativity, and linguistic idealism.

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Philosophical Investigations

Not many works on the Investigations can vie with Baker and Hacker 2005, Baker and Hacker 2009, Hacker 1993, and Hacker 2000. They comprise a four-volume analytical commentary (Analytical Commentary on Wittgenstein’s Philosophical Investigations), which is a monument to Wittgenstein scholarship, providing an authoritative and penetrating interpretation of the text, in language of exemplary clarity. Each volume consists of two parts: essays and exegesis. A second edition of the first two volumes is now available. Stern 2004 is an excellent general study of that work, but the Investigations is often best analyzed through thematic as well as topic-centered studies of Wittgenstein’s philosophy. Such works are listed under Wittgenstein’s Philosophy of Language, Wittgenstein’s Philosophy of Psychology, and Wittgenstein and Social Theory.

  • Baker, G. P., and P. M. S. Hacker. An Analytical Commentary on the Philosophical Investigations. Vol. 1, Wittgenstein: Understanding and Meaning. 2 Parts. 2d ed. Malden, MA: Blackwell, 2005.

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    This first volume covers the first 184 passages of the Philosophical Investigations. The topics in part 1 include the Augustinian conception of language, explanation, description, ostensive definition, meaning and use, family resemblance, philosophy, truth, understanding, and ability. Part 2 is an exegesis of sections 1–184 and includes a history of the composition of the book and an overview of its structure.

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  • Baker, G. P., and P. M. S. Hacker. An Analytical Commentary on the Philosophical Investigations. Vol. 2, Wittgenstein: Rules, Grammar, and Necessity. 2d ed. Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell, 2009.

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    This is an analytical commentary on Wittgenstein’s complex and controversial remarks on rule following (sections 185–242). These are elucidated along with the concept of a rule and Wittgenstein’s use of “rule.” His use of the terms “grammar,” “technique,” and “practice” and their relation to rules are also clarified. The last section delineates the Wittgensteinian link between grammar and necessity. It is worth noting that this revised edition includes a new essay on communitarian and individualist conceptions of rule following.

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  • Hacker, P. M. S. An Analytical Commentary on the Philosophical Investigations. Vol. 3, Wittgenstein: Meaning and Mind. 2 Parts. Oxford: Blackwell, 1993.

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    This volume covers sections 243–427. Part 1 consists of thirteen essays on some of the key themes of the Philosophical Investigations: the private-language arguments, avowals and descriptions, ostensive definition, behaviorism, mind and brain, the inner and the outer, thinking, imagination, the self, consciousness, and criteria.

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  • Hacker, P. M. S. An Analytical Commentary on the Philosophical Investigations. Vol. 4, Wittgenstein: Mind and Will. 2 Parts. Rev. ed. Oxford: Blackwell, 2000.

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    The final volume of the commentary covers sections 428–693 and engages topics that both follow from the last two volumes, such as the link between language and reality, the immanence of meaning, and the bounds of sense, and that look forward to the philosophy of psychology, such as mental states and processes, memory, recognition, intentionality, and the will.

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  • Stern, David G. Wittgenstein’s “Philosophical Investigations”: An Introduction. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2004.

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    While emphasizing the importance of method and style in Wittgenstein’s philosophy, this book does not take the radical therapeutic path but rather acknowledges and beautifully clarifies various interpretations of the Investigations.

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Wittgenstein’s Philosophy of Language

The Philosophical Investigations are celebrated for having brought to philosophical attention difficulties of language and meaning. Kripke 1982 was key in signaling the importance of the passages on rule following and private language, viewing the “skeptical paradox” as the central problem of the Investigations. His solution to the paradox—that language is essentially communal—is hotly contested by Baker and Hacker 1984, which is in turn countered in Malcolm 1995. Canfield 1996 denies that any solution is advanced by Wittgenstein to what the author holds, in his antitheoretical reading, are not real claims. Verheggen 2007 protests against the antitheoretical stance and defends the communal view, while Kusch 2006 defends Kripke 1982. The classic strands of the development of the private-language argument are summarized in Nielsen 2008, but for a “resolute” reading see Mulhall 2007. Travis 2001 offers some new interpretations of the Investigations on language.

  • Baker, G. P., and P. M. S. Hacker. Scepticism, Rules, and Language. Oxford: Blackwell, 1984.

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    A virulent critique of Kripke 1982, accusing Saul A. Kripke of taxing Wittgenstein with “communal interpretationalism.” On the authors’ view, Wittgenstein was entirely comfortable with the idea of private rule following.

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  • Canfield, John V. “The Community View.” Philosophical Review 105 (1996): 469–488.

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    Wittgenstein’s no-theory approach allows the compatibility of the claims that language is essentially communal and that a lifelong Robinson Crusoe can speak or follow rules. It is argued that an example-driven approach, rather than a theoretically informed one, enables us to hold both views consistently.

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  • Kripke, Saul A. Wittgenstein on Rules and Private Language: An Elementary Exposition. Oxford: Blackwell, 1982.

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    The rule-following sections in the Investigations are read as posing a “skeptical paradox” that undermines the possibility of objectively following rules and therefore the possibility of meaning something by a word. Wittgenstein’s “skeptical solution” to this problem is shown to depend on community agreement and checkability.

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  • Kusch, Martin. A Sceptical Guide to Meaning and Rules: Defending Kripke’s Wittgenstein. Chesham, UK: Acumen, 2006.

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    Many critiques of Kripke 1982 are based on misunderstandings of his reasoning and can be ironed out by a more refined reading, for example, if the skepticism that Saul A. Kripke attributes to Wittgenstein is understood as constitutive or ontological, not epistemological. It is argued that Kripke is right to call Wittgenstein a skeptic (of sorts) and correct in his communitarian interpretation of the rule-following argument.

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  • Malcolm, Norman. “Wittgenstein on Language and Rules.” In Wittgensteinian Themes: Essays, 1978–1989. By Norman Malcolm, 145–171. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1995.

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    Compellingly argues, against Baker and Hacker 1984, that Wittgenstein must be understood as eliminating the possibility of a forever-solitary rule follower. Wittgenstein sees language as embedded in shared ways of acting, not in the behavior of a single individual. Following a rule is a custom, an institution; it is essentially social. On that view, a lifelong Robinson Crusoe could not follow rules or invent a language.

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  • Mulhall, Stephen. Wittgenstein’s Private Language: Grammar, Nonsense, and Imagination in “Philosophical Investigations,” Sections 243–315. Oxford: Clarendon, 2007.

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    Mulhall reads the sections on private language not as constituting an argument but as simply intimating that the idea of a philosophically substantial private language is nonsense.

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  • Nielsen, Keld Stehr. The Evolution of the Private Language Argument. Aldershot, UK: Ashgate, 2008.

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    This book traces the development of the private-language argument and its contribution to our understanding of Philosophical Investigations. Nielsen’s own interpretation emphasizes use and criteria over communal agreement.

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  • Travis, Charles. The Uses of Sense: Wittgenstein’s Philosophy of Language. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2001.

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    This reading of Philosophical Investigations focuses on the themes of representation, truth, and objectivity and offers a novel interpretation of its ideas about language, revisiting the notions of language games and family resemblance. Two arguments are made against the possibility of private language, both of which might be detected in Wittgenstein. In asking how the notion of language games sheds light on the way words represent, the idea of language games as objects of comparison is explored.

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  • Verheggen, Claudine. “The Community View Revisited.” Metaphilosophy 38 (2007): 612–631.

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    It is argued, contra Canfield 1996 and the Wittgensteinian antitheoretical movement, that Wittgenstein did claim that language is essentially communal. In any case, one cannot detheorize the views that language is essentially communal and that it can be acquired by a lifelong Robinson Crusoe and still hope to say anything illuminating about the nature of language.

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Linguistic Idealism

Attempts have been made to read Kantian idealism into the later Wittgenstein, the most celebrated being Williams 1981, to which Malcolm 1995 is a noteworthy response. Conciliatory readings of transcendentalism in the later Wittgenstein are Lear 1986 and Pihlström 2004. The most penetrating study of the question is Dilman 2002.

  • Dilman, İlham. Wittgenstein’s Copernican Revolution: The Question of Linguistic Idealism. Basingstoke, UK: Palgrave, 2002.

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    Though sometimes lacking in clarity, this book is worth the trouble. It argues that the charge of linguistic idealism laid against Wittgenstein is founded on a conflation of two senses of “reality”: a formal and an empirical sense. While there is an empirical reality that exists independently of what we say about it, language is the source of the system we find in nature. Our conception of reality is formed largely in learning to speak, but it does not follow that here nature has nothing to say.

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  • Lear, Jonathan. “Transcendental Anthropology.” In Subject, Thought, and Context. Edited by Philip Pettit and John McDowell, 267–298. Oxford: Clarendon, 1986.

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    Argues that there is room in the later Wittgenstein for a transcendental anthropology: a reflection on our ordinary activities that yields nonempirical insights into them.

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  • Malcolm, Norman. “Wittgenstein and Idealism.” In Wittgensteinian Themes: Essays, 1978–1989. By Norman Malcolm, 87–108. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1995.

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    Contra Williams 1981, Malcolm claims that there is no tendency toward any form of idealism to be found in Wittgenstein’s later philosophy. Rather, Wittgenstein makes clear that there is no “objective” basis of comparison outside of all human conceptual frameworks and world pictures from which we can evaluate different concepts but only different grammars rooted in different instinctive reactions and different forms of life.

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  • Pihlström, Sami. “Recent Reinterpretations of the Transcendental.” Inquiry 47 (2004): 289–314.

    DOI: 10.1080/00201740410006384Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This excellent paper shows how transcendental inquiries can be rearticulated in a pragmatist context. Taking Kantianism as the historical source of transcendental philosophy, Pihlström argues that Wittgensteinianism is a kind of “linguistified Kantianism” and that pragmatism is a kind of naturalized synthesis of these.

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  • Williams, Bernard. “Wittgenstein and Idealism.” In Moral Luck: Philosophical Papers, 1973–1980. By Bernard Williams, 144–163. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1981.

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    On the grounds that the later Wittgenstein views language as not justified by or corresponding to the world, thus making it independent of the world, Williams attributes to the later Wittgenstein the transcendental idealism of the earlier.

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Wittgenstein’s Philosophy of Psychology

Not enough books have been devoted to Wittgenstein’s philosophy of psychology. Of those that have, Budd 1989, ter Hark 1990, and Johnston 1993 continue to be the best. Anthologies (Moyal-Sharrock 2007, Racine and Müller 2009) do their share in enabling unexplored concepts to surface from the writings and remarks and in fleshing out the impact of Wittgenstein’s thought on psychology, but new in-depth studies are long overdue. Bouveresse 1996 and Cioffi 1998 clarify Wittgenstein’s views on Freud. Some useful, far-reaching points are made in Hertzberg 1992 and ter Hark 2000 on psychological concepts and the notion of the primitive.

  • Bouveresse, Jacques. Wittgenstein Reads Freud: The Myth of the Unconscious. Translated by Carol Cosman. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1996.

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    Though Wittgenstein did not view psychoanalysis as a science proper, he admired and respected the cultural task Freud took on as constituting new meaningful ways of discussing human concerns. It is argued that, for Wittgenstein, the theory of the unconscious offers new forms of thinking and speaking or, rather, a new mythology.

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  • Budd, Malcolm. Wittgenstein’s Philosophy of Psychology. London: Routledge, 1989.

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    This book clearly and concisely introduces a variety of topics from Wittgenstein’s philosophy of psychology, such as the language of sensation, proprioception, aspect perception, experience of meaning, and the heterogeneity of the psychological.

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  • Cioffi, Frank. Wittgenstein on Freud and Frazer. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 1998.

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    This collection includes some of Cioffi’s best essays on the unsuitability of empirical explanation to clarify some phenomena (“When Do Empirical Methods Bypass ‘the Problems Which Trouble Us’?”) and on Wittgenstein’s criticism of Freud (“Wittgenstein on Freud’s ‘Abominable Mess’”).

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  • Hertzberg, Lars. “Primitive Reactions—Logic or Anthropology?” In The Wittgenstein Legacy. Edited by Peter A. French, Theodore E. Uehling Jr., and Howard K. Wettstein, 24–39. Midwest Studies in Philosophy 17. Notre Dame, IN: Notre Dame University Press, 1992.

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    An important paper distinguishing various senses of the notion of the primitive in Wittgenstein’s later writings, in particular between a logical sense and an anthropological sense. Also argues that the use of some words like “pain,” “happiness,” and “love” is not dependent on criteria but grounded in primitive reactions.

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  • Johnston, Paul. Wittgenstein: Rethinking the Inner. London: Routledge, 1993.

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    A penetrating introduction to Wittgenstein’s philosophy of psychology through the lens of one of his hallmark achievements: the problematizing of the concept of the inner. Light is shed on the fact that emphasis on outward criteria does not involve a denial of the inner.

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  • Moyal-Sharrock, Danièle, ed. Perspicuous Presentations: Essays on Wittgenstein’s Philosophy of Psychology. Basingstoke, UK: Palgrave Macmillan, 2007.

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    This anthology focuses on Wittgenstein’s contribution to the philosophy of psychology. Topics include Wittgenstein’s social philosophy of mind, “secondary sense,” “patterns of life,” the unconscious, fear, grammar, thinking, “experiencing meaning,” subjectivity, psychological certainty, and perspicuous presentations.

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  • Racine, Timothy P., and Ulrich Müller, eds. “Special Issue: Mind, Meaning, and Language: Wittgenstein’s Relevance for Psychology.” New Ideas in Psychology 27.2 (2009).

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    Philosophers and psychologists examine the importance of Wittgenstein’s thought for psychology and its application in psychological theory and method. Chapter topics include language acquisition, autism, memory, emotion, gestures, rule following, and folk psychology.

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  • ter Hark, Michel. Beyond the Inner and the Outer: Wittgenstein’s Philosophy of Psychology. Dordrecht, The Netherlands: Kluwer, 1990.

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    Excellent overview and clarification of Wittgenstein’s philosophy of psychology—both its concepts and its approach—with a thematic emphasis on the embedment of the meaning of concepts in language games, forms of life, and the primacy of action.

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  • ter Hark, Michel. “Uncertainty, Vagueness, and Psychological Indeterminacy.” Synthese 124 (2000): 192–220.

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    Wittgenstein sees indeterminacy as a constitutive feature of psychological concepts and not as an epistemic shortcoming in the available evidence.

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Wittgenstein and Social Theory

Some excellent works on Wittgenstein’s view of the social basis of meaning and language acquisition are available. While Malcolm 1986 and Bloor 1997 stress the role of community agreement and training in rule following, Williams 1999 and Medina 2002 also describe the process of enculturation. Pleasants 1996 corrects the misguided view in social theory that tacit beliefs govern rule-following behavior, and Medina 2004 elucidates the noncognitive nature of Wittgenstein’s naturalism.

  • Bloor, David. Wittgenstein, Rules, and Institutions. London: Routledge, 1997.

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    This is the first full-fledged sociological reading of Wittgenstein on rules and rule following, fleshing out his views of a rule as a social institution and meaning as a social phenomenon.

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  • Malcolm, Norman. “Following a Rule.” In Nothing Is Hidden: Wittgenstein’s Criticism of His Early Thought. By Norman Malcolm, 154–181. Oxford: Blackwell, 1986.

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    Malcolm clears up misunderstandings of rule skepticism and the private-language argument and stresses the role of community agreement and training in rule following and language acquisition.

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  • Medina, José. The Unity of Wittgenstein’s Philosophy: Necessity, Intelligibility, and Normativity. Albany: State University of New York Press, 2002.

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    The book’s title overemphasizes its concern with the thematic and methodological unity of Wittgenstein’s philosophy. The real interest of this book lies in its description of the process of enculturation at the basis of concept formation and its discussion of Wittgenstein’s “pragmatic contextualism,” a practice-based view of normativity that does not succumb to relativism.

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  • Medina, José. “Wittgenstein’s Social Naturalism: The Idea of Second Nature after the Philosophical Investigations.” In The Third Wittgenstein: The Post-”Investigations” Works. Edited by Danièle Moyal-Sharrock, 79–92. Aldershot, UK: Ashgate, 2004.

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    Can Wittgenstein be considered a naturalist and, if so, in what sense? Although a naturalistic strand is noted in part 1 of the Investigations, post-1946 remarks are shown to signal a new development: a sociogenetic view of normativity developed around the notion of second nature, which regards the normative aspects of our behavior as primitive.

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  • Pleasants, Nigel. “Nothing is Concealed: De-centring Tacit Knowledge and Rules from Social Theory.” Journal for the Theory of Social Behaviour 26 (1996): 233–255.

    DOI: 10.1111/j.1468-5914.1996.tb00289.xSave Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This paper debunks the notion of tacit knowledge and lays to rest the misguided view, prevalent in social theory, that tacit knowledge is the central component of Wittgenstein’s account of rule-following behavior. This view betrays the presence of a cognitive interpretation of Wittgenstein and the absence of a normative account of rules.

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  • Williams, Meredith. Wittgenstein, Mind, and Meaning: Toward a Social Conception of Mind. London: Routledge, 1999.

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    This book argues against cognitivist conceptions of meaning and mind and debunks attempts to explain meaning by postulating rules and relations that are then “explained” in naturalistic terms isolated from social practices, ways of acting, or contexts of use. It upholds the social ground of normativity, along with the necessity of training and skilled techniques, for meaning or concept acquisition.

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Remarks On Colour

In the last eighteen months of his life, Wittgenstein spent most of his time writing on the topics of certainty and color. His remarks on color were inspired by a reading of Goethe’s Theory of Color, but where Goethe aims for a phenomenological analysis of our experience of color Wittgenstein claims there is no such thing as phenomenology (Remarks on Colour 1.53) and that he is not interested in establishing a theory of colors but rather in the logic of color concepts (Remarks on Colour 1:22). In Remarks on Colour, Wittgenstein ponders the apparently hybrid nature of color propositions: they seem to arise from experience and yet appear to be necessarily true. The critique in Westphal 1987 has prompted much commentary on Remarks on Colour, the gist of which has been to determine whether Wittgenstein sees color propositions as essentially grammatical or as both grammatical and empirical and, if the latter, to understand what is the connection here between grammar and reality. While Vendler 1995 sees color propositions as empirical propositions converted into grammatical ones, Horner 2000, McGinn 1991, and Bouveresse 2004 maintain their intrinsic grammaticality, though Bouveresse 2004 adds that this does not preclude a connection between these grammatical propositions and reality.

  • Bouveresse, Jacques. “Wittgenstein’s Answer to ‘What Is Colour?’” In The Third Wittgenstein: The Post-”Investigations” Works. Edited by Danièle Moyal-Sharrock, 177–192. Aldershot, UK: Ashgate, 2004.

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    In Remarks on Colour, Wittgenstein eliminates the possibility that the case of color propositions forces us to envisage the existence of a branch of phenomenology between logic and empirical science and attributes to them the status of grammatical rules. But he never denied that the truth of a color proposition largely depends on the way things are in the empirical world.

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  • Horner, Elaine. “‘There Cannot Be a Transparent White’: A Defence of Wittgenstein’s Account of the Puzzle Propositions.” Philosophical Investigations 23 (2000): 218–241.

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    Argues that even if we grant that Jonathan Westphal could demonstrate that the logic of color concepts is reducible to the logical relationships between real essences, Wittgenstein’s account shows that color propositions are both necessary and a priori; we can know their truth without knowing anything about the physical properties of colors.

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  • McGinn, Marie. “Wittgenstein’s Remarks on Colour.” Philosophy 66 (1991): 435–453.

    DOI: 10.1017/S0031819100065104Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Wittgenstein aims to achieve clarity about the way we actually use color language and believes that it is by achieving this clarity, and not by means of a scientific theory of color, that we will resolve the questions about color that puzzle us most deeply. Peter Hacker is seen as misrepresenting Wittgenstein’s view of colors as objective or intrinsic properties of physical objects while asserting that the question of the nature of color is a conceptual one.

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  • Vendler, Zeno. “Goethe, Wittgenstein, and the Essence of Color.” Monist 78 (1995): 391–410.

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    Wittgenstein’s answer to the question of the nature of color propositions is understood as the “conversion” of an observation into a rule that will then pertain to the definition of colors. Others’ disagreement will result in their having a slightly different concept, but this will not spoil the language game at large. By and large people agree about colors; without such an agreement in judgments the game could not get off the ground.

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  • Westphal, Jonathan. Colour: Some Philosophical Problems from Wittgenstein. Oxford: Blackwell, 1987.

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    Claims that the phenomenological laws expressed by color propositions are expressions not of our perceptual or grammatical concepts but of the nature of color. Truths expressed in real definitions are empirical truths that have logical consequences. Although color propositions are necessarily true, they are not known a priori, and this is where scientific explanation comes in. Wittgenstein’s distinction between logic and science is misguided: science can explain grammar: “Grammar flows from essence, and essence is revealed by science.” Revised in 1991 as Colour: A Philosophical Introduction (Oxford: Blackwell).

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On Certainty

On Certainty is Wittgenstein’s last work and arguably his third masterpiece, together with the Tractatus and the Philosophical Investigations. Written during the last eighteen months of his life, On Certainty presents several innovative aspects. In particular, the extension of the notion of a rule to apparently empirical propositions, such as “There are physical objects,” “The earth has existed for a very long time,” “My name is N. N.,” “Here is one hand,” and “Nobody has ever been on the Moon” (On Certainty 341, 343). These so-called hinge propositions are also said to form a structured “system” (On Certainty 134), in which some propositions can contingently play the role of both a norm and a genuine empirical proposition, depending on the context of their use, such as “Here is one hand,” “My name is N. N.”; some are subject to revision across time, such as “Nobody has ever been on the Moon,” while some others are much more fixed and their revision difficult or even impossible to be imagined, such as “The earth has existed for a very long time,” “There are physical objects,” and the like. They are collectively said to form the “scaffolding” (On Certainty 211) of all of our thinking and acting, our “world picture” (On Certainty 93–97), and to be akin to a “mythology” (On Certainty 95, 97). The kind of relation we have to them is deemed nonepistemic: they are said to be neither true nor false (On Certainty 196–206), neither justified nor unjustified (On Certainty 110, 130, 166), neither rational nor irrational (On Certainty 559), neither known nor unknown (On Certainty 121), and for this very reason also beyond doubt (On Certainty 121), contrary to what skepticism would have us believe. Yet it is quite difficult to determine exactly what our relationship to them really is, both according to Wittgenstein and in general, as it is equally difficult to understand whether Wittgenstein put them at the service of a new form of foundationalism or not and what kind of import he thought they had against skepticism. All these aspects are therefore and unsurprisingly the object of widespread debate among scholars. The different readings of On Certainty can be usefully divided into four groups, namely, the framework and transcendental readings, the naturalist ones, the epistemic ones, and the therapeutic ones.

Anthologies

A collection of papers on On Certainty is Moyal-Sharrock and Brenner 2005. It is usefully divided into four sections: the framework, transcendental, epistemic, and therapeutic readings, respectively. The volume also contains a valuable introduction by the editors that explores the details of these interpretations and their interconnections.

  • Moyal-Sharrock, Danièle, and William H. Brenner, eds. Readings of Wittgenstein’s On Certainty. Basingstoke, UK: Palgrave Macmillan, 2005.

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    An anthology on On Certainty that offers a wide range of interpretations of Wittgenstein’s third masterpiece and is usefully prefaced by an introduction that sets out the interconnections among the framework, the transcendental, the epistemic, and the therapeutic readings of On Certainty.

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The Framework and Transcendental Readings and the Problem of Foundationalism

The framework reading argues that, for Wittgenstein, hinges constitute the framework within which thought, language, and action are possible as well as disputes over their nature. Scholars, such as the authors of Wright 1985, McGinn 1989, Stroll 1994, Coliva 2010, Moyal-Sharrock 2004, and Kober 2005, agree that hinges are not empirical propositions but rather rules. It is claimed that hinges play the role of rules not so much of language but of evidential significance and that their role can change according to different contextual factors. These two aspects together make them unlikely to serve the purpose of a foundationalist project, which depends usually on granting some factual propositions a special and immutable epistemic status. The scholars disagree, however, on whether they are merely grammatical rules (McGinn 1989, Stroll 1994) or can (also) be norms of evidential significance (Wright 1985, Coliva 2010, Moyal-Sharrock 2004, Kober 2005). Moyal-Sharrock 2004, however, developing one line of thought already present in Stroll 1994, goes so far as to argue that hinges lack propositional content altogether and are merely heuristic formulations of certainties that, as such, are nonpropositional and manifest only in action. The transcendental reading, argued for in particular in Brenner 2005, has it that hinges are the conditions of possibility of thought and action, and Brenner 2005 also explores the similarities and differences of Wittgenstein’s and Kant’s forms of transcendentalism. The main change has to do with Wittgenstein’s grammatical conception of the limits of thought and language and with his idea that we share a form of life rather than universal and transcendental categories. The framework reading also typically engages with the issue of whether Wittgenstein was or was not an epistemic foundationalist: Stroll 1994 and Moyal-Sharrock 2004 think so, while Wright 1985, McGinn 1989, Coliva 2010, and Williams 2005 do not.

  • Brenner, William H. “Wittgenstein’s ‘Kantian Solution.’” In Readings of Wittgenstein’s “On Certainty.” Edited by Danièle Moyal-Sharrock and William H. Brenner, 122–141. Basingstoke, UK: Palgrave Macmillan, 2005.

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    Argues that while Wittgenstein in On Certainty pursued a broadly Kantian project of determining the conditions of possibility of thought and language, he also reinterpreted the notion of transcendentalism in a grammatical fashion and the idea of universal categories of subjects’ experience in terms of a universal form of life. By so doing he managed to make those Kantian notions clearer and ontologically acceptable.

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  • Coliva, Annalisa. Moore and Wittgenstein: Scepticism, Certainty, and Common Sense. Basingstoke, UK: Palgrave Macmillan, 2010.

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    Explores G. E. Moore’s and Wittgenstein’s epistemological works and connects the historical discussion with contemporary epistemology and philosophy of language.

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  • Kober, Michael. “‘In the Beginning Was the Deed’: Wittgenstein on Knowledge and Religion.” In Readings of Wittgenstein’s “On Certainty.” Edited by Danièle Moyal-Sharrock and William H. Brenner, 225–250. Basingstoke, UK: Palgrave Macmillan, 2005.

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    Argues that hinges are presuppositions that need to be accepted if one is to participate in our epistemic practices. They are rules but also certain as they cannot be doubted qua hinges. If they are so doubted, it means that contextually they are no longer hinges but empirical propositions. As hinges they define standards of rationality as they are determined within our form of life. In parallel with Wittgenstein’s view of religion, they are said to constitute our “epistemic stance.”

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  • McGinn, Marie. Sense and Certainty: A Dissolution of Scepticism. Oxford: Blackwell, 1989.

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    Discusses the structure of the skeptical problem and of various attempts at solution beside Wittgenstein’s, such as G. E. Moore’s, John Langshaw Austin’s, and Stanley Cavell’s. It argues that the best strategy is to be found in Wittgenstein’s On Certainty and that it consists in redefining the role of hinges from that of empirical propositions with respect to which we bear an epistemic relationship to that of rules for the correct employment of language, which thus also have to be accepted by the skeptic.

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  • Moyal-Sharrock, Danièle. Understanding Wittgenstein’s “On Certainty.” Basingstoke, UK: Palgrave Macmillan, 2004.

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    Focuses on the apparent incoherence of Wittgenstein’s characterization of hinges as rules and on his claim that our certainty with respect to them is of an instinctive, animal nature. The solution proposed consists in seeing certainties as devoid of propositional content and as such as occurring only in practice and action.

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  • Stroll, Avrum. Moore and Wittgenstein on Certainty. New York: Oxford University Press, 1994.

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    Contains a reconstruction of G. E. Moore’s position that fails to appreciate the complexity and subtlety of Moore’s views. It claims that Wittgenstein distinguished between propositional knowledge and “nonpropositional,” animal certainty that is primarily shown in our ways of acting. Wittgenstein is thus taken to be a foundationalist of sorts, according to whom the foundations are either relative, as in “I have two hands” or “My name is N. N.,” or absolute, in the case of “The earth has existed for a very long time” or “There are physical objects.”

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  • Williams, Michael. “Why Wittgenstein Isn’t a Foundationalist.” In Readings of Wittgenstein’s “On Certainty.” Edited by Danièle Moyal-Sharrock and William H. Brenner, 47–58. Basingstoke, UK: Palgrave Macmillan, 2005.

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    Forcefully argues that although Wittgenstein used a lot of foundational images in On Certainty, he cannot be considered a real foundationalist, for foundationalism is more than simply a structural thesis and requires meeting further conditions that, argues Williams, are not actually met by Wittgenstein’s hinge propositions.

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  • Wright, Crispin. “Facts and Certainty.” Proceedings of the British Academy 71 (1985): 429–472.

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    Argues that On Certainty provides a way out of skepticism as well as out of the traditional dilemma between foundationalism and coherentism by claiming that hinges have a normative rather than a descriptive nature. They are deemed to play the role of rules of evidential significance (rather than of meaning), which are not the object of knowledge but of certainty.

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The Naturalist Reading

Naturalist readings of On Certainty stress the role of our upbringing within a community that shares a language and a form of life as a key factor in determining the nature and role of the so-called “hinge”—propositions and their antiskeptical potential. They also share the view that while foundational images abound in On Certainty, there is nothing recognizable as classical epistemic foundationalism in it. Conway 1989, however, thinks that in On Certainty a new form of foundationalism is in fact presented, where at the foundations of our language games lie forms of life. Interpreters differ widely with respect to the issue of the propositional nature of hinges and their ineffability. While Strawson 1985 takes them to be rules of grammar, Wolgast 1987 thinks of them as ultimately empirical propositions simply exempt from actual use; and while the former shows no concern with their being spoken, the latter claims that, as soon as they are, they lose their status of certainties to become subject to our usual epistemic procedures, which open them up to doubt.

  • Conway, Gertrude D. Wittgenstein on Foundations. Atlantic Highlands, NJ: Humanities Press, 1989.

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    Argues that Wittgenstein is a foundationalist of sorts, because at the basis of the possibility of knowledge lies a form of life. An attempt is made at clarifying this latter notion, though in the end it remains quite vague. It is also unclear to what extent Wittgenstein’s views make room for the intelligibility of other, radically different forms of life with the ensuing threat of (epistemic) relativism.

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  • Strawson, P. F. “Skepticism, Naturalism, and Transcendental Arguments.” In Skepticism and Naturalism: Some Varieties. By P. F. Strawson, 1–30. London: Methuen, 1985.

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    Argues that in On Certainty Wittgenstein puts forward a naturalist conception of hinges, which somehow parallels David Hume’s. The main point of difference is that while Hume appeals to nature, Wittgenstein appeals to the role of our upbringing within a community that shares a language and a form of life. By virtue of that upbringing, we cannot help accepting hinges while lacking reasons and grounds in their favor. It also claims that, for Wittgenstein, skepticism cannot be rebutted by argument but simply recognized as idle and unreal.

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  • Wolgast, Elizabeth. “Whether Certainty Is a Form of Life.” Philosophical Quarterly 37 (1987): 151–165.

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    Argues that certainties belong to our form of life and show themselves in our behavior in the fact that indeed we do not doubt them. However, as soon as they are spoken they lose their status of certainties and become questionable again. This essay then contentiously argues that the best way to look at them, if we want to take them as propositions, is to consider them as endowed with meaning but lacking a use, just like objects on display or exhibit; that is, as mere curiosities coming from our past whose apparently foundational role is utter mythology.

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The Epistemic Reading

The epistemic reading, initiated by Morawetz 1978, elaborates on the idea that hinges may after all play an epistemic role. Scholars, however, disagree on how this role can be fulfilled. Morawetz takes it—contentiously—to depend on Wittgenstein’s somewhat implicit adherence to externalism: while he criticizes the possibility of claiming knowledge with respect to hinges, he never denied that we do know them. Williams 2004 is broadly in agreement with such an interpretation but further argues that hinges are only contextually determined. Wright 2004, in contrast, controversially argues that the epistemic role of hinges is fulfilled once it is recognized that one strand of On Certainty speaks in favor of the idea that we may have nonevidential and unacquired warrants for them, which the author calls “entitlements.”

  • Morawetz, Thomas. Wittgenstein and Knowledge: The Importance of “On Certainty.” Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press, 1978.

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    Focuses on Wittgenstein’s view that where there is no possibility of evidence backing one up or contradicting one, the matter cannot be something one can claim to know. Yet this work contentiously argues that, for Wittgenstein, this does not compromise the fact that one knows. Accordingly in On Certainty Wittgenstein argues in favor of there being ineffable knowledge that shows itself in action.

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  • Pritchard, D. H. “Wittgenstein’s On Certainty and Contemporary Anti-scepticism.” In Readings of Wittgenstein’s “On Certainty.” Edited by Danièle Moyal-Sharrock and William H. Brenner, 189–224. Basingstoke, UK: Palgrave Macmillan, 2005.

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    A thorough examination of Crispin Wright’s idea that hinges are nonevidentially warranted (Wright 2004) and Michael Williams’s inferential contextualist reading of them (Williams 2004). Both views are equally criticized for failing to account properly for On Certainty and to respond to the skeptical challenge.

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  • Williams, Michael. “Wittgenstein, Truth, and Certainty.” In Wittgenstein’s Lasting Significance. Edited by Max Kölbel and Bernhard Weiss, 249–284. London and New York: Routledge, 2004.

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    Criticizes the framework reading for its interpretation of Wittgenstein’s alleged argument against skepticism. According to Williams, Wittgenstein’s argument depends on his rejection of the epistemic priority of judgments about sense data over ones about physical objects and thus of “epistemic realism,” namely, the view that the structure of justifications is already there and immutable. Williams further argues that in On Certainty Wittgenstein adhered to a deflationary conception of truth

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  • Wright, Crispin. “Wittgensteinian Certainties.” In Wittgenstein and Scepticism. Edited by Dennis McManus, 22–55. London and New York: Routledge, 2004.

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    Changes the interpretation provided in Wright 1985 (cited under The Framework and Transcendental Readings and the Problem of Foundationalism), by arguing that the most promising antiskeptical trend in On Certainty does not involve seeing hinges as being normative in nature but rather as contingent empirical propositions that we take on trust by having unearned, nonevidential warrants—called “entitlements”—to them. Such entitlements, however, do not speak to the truth of the hinges. Yet they give us a rational warrant to act on our trust in them.

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The Therapeutic Reading

The therapeutic reading—championed by Conant 1998, Minar 2005, and Crary 2005—maintains that no strong theoretical commitment was ever undertaken by Wittgenstein with respect to the nature and role of hinges and that the main point of On Certainty is to show that G. E. Moore and a skeptic either mean something perfectly ordinary by claiming or denying knowledge of empirical propositions, respectively, which, however, has no philosophical relevance, or they have altogether failed to say something meaningful at all.

  • Conant, James. “Wittgenstein on Meaning and Use.” Philosophical Investigations 21 (1998): 222–250.

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    In contrast with the pragmatic conception of the notion of nonsense, attributed to Marie McGinn in McGinn 1989 (cited under The Framework and Transcendental Readings and the Problem of Foundationalism), this article argues that in On Certainty Wittgenstein’s main contention is that either G. E. Moore and a skeptic mean something ordinary by their respective claims to knowledge and expressions of doubt, which, however, is of no philosophical significance, or their claims lack meaning altogether.

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  • Crary, Alice. “Wittgenstein and Ethics: A Discussion with Reference to On Certainty.” In Readings of Wittgenstein’s “On Certainty.” Edited by Danièle Moyal-Sharrock and William H. Brenner, 275–301. Basingstoke, UK: Palgrave Macmillan, 2005.

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    Argues that Wittgenstein did not advance any theory of hinge propositions. Rather, he held, on the negative side, that G. E. Moore’s claim to know them was in fact devoid of any meaning and for this reason nonsensical. Moreover, on the positive side Wittgenstein held that, as a result of our familiarity with making judgments and by dint of our linguistic sensibility, we recognize hinges as standing fast.

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  • Minar, Edward. “On Wittgenstein’s Response to Scepticism: The Opening of On Certainty.” In Readings of Wittgenstein’s “On Certainty.” Edited by Danièle Moyal-Sharrock and William H. Brenner, 253–274. Basingstoke, UK: Palgrave Macmillan, 2005.

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    Argues that Wittgenstein’s aim was not to provide a theoretical characterization of hinges that would also respond to skepticism. In fact both the rule-like and the naturalist interpretation of hinges are found wanting in this respect. Rather, Wittgenstein’s point was to show that the skeptical doubt is much less intelligible than we might first suppose.

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Theory or Therapy?

The nature and scope of Wittgenstein’s therapeutic method have been the object of much discussion, indeed creating a rift among Wittgensteinians. In Crary and Read 2000 Wittgenstein’s method of philosophizing is presented as radically therapeutic, allowing for no substantive claims of any kind but rather aimed at ridding us of these. Baker 2004 applies this view to the later Wittgenstein. While still testifying to the importance of Wittgenstein’s therapeutic method, papers in Ammereller and Fischer 2004 do so less radically and even question its validity, as does Hutto 2006.

  • Ammereller, Erich, and Eugen Fischer, eds. Wittgenstein at Work: Method in the “Philosophical Investigations.” London: Routledge, 2004.

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    Dedicated to the memory of Gordon Baker, this volume presents itself as a methodological companion to Wittgenstein’s later work. Part 2, particularly essays by Oswald Hanfling, Hans-Johann Glock, and Anthony Kenny (reprinted as the introduction to Kenny 2006Kenny 2006, cited under Introductory Works), offers some new thoughts on Wittgenstein’s later “descriptive-therapeutic” method. The rest could have done with some bolder rethinking.

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  • Baker, Gordon. Wittgenstein’s Method: Neglected Aspects; Essays on Wittgenstein. Edited by Katherine J. Morris. Malden, MA: Blackwell, 2004.

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    This collection of essays representing what has come to be known as “later Baker” (Gordon Baker’s later, radically “therapeutic” reading of Wittgenstein) views Wittgenstein’s later writings through the lens of the analogy with psychoanalysis as aimed not at constructive philosophizing but at personal relief from philosophical disquiet. Baker draws his (not very compelling) evidence for this interpretation from his “méthode de lire” for Wittgenstein.

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  • Crary, Alice, and Rupert Read, eds. The New Wittgenstein. London: Routledge, 2000.

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    A controversial collection aiming to show that Wittgenstein’s primary aim in philosophy—both early and late—is uniquely therapeutic; that is, he seeks not to advance theories but only to help us work ourselves out of philosophical confusions. Many of the contributors have since watered down their claims, and interest in the volume has subsequently waned.

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  • Hutto, Daniel D. Wittgenstein and the End of Philosophy: Neither Theory nor Therapy. Basingstoke, UK: Palgrave Macmillan, 2006.

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    Challenges the idea that Wittgenstein’s philosophy presents us with a simple methodological choice: advance theories or procure therapy. Philosophy is neither progressive nor wholly negative and deflationary. A third way is sought along the lines of Wittgenstein’s claim that philosophy clarifies our understanding of important philosophical matters.

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LAST MODIFIED: 05/10/2010

DOI: 10.1093/OBO/9780195396577-0127

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