Wittgenstein: Key Concepts
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Wittgenstein's complex and demanding work challenges much that is taken for granted in philosophical thinking as well as in the theorizing of art, theology, science and culture. Each essay in this collection explores a key concept involved in Wittgenstein's thinking, relating it to his understanding of philosophy, and outlining the arguments and explaining the implications of each concept. Concepts covered include grammar, meaning and meaning-blindness language-games and private language, family resemblances, psychologism, rule-following, teaching and learning, avowals, Moore's Paradox, aspect seeing, the meter-stick, and criteria. Students new to Wittgenstein and readers interested in developing their understanding of specific aspects of his philosophical work will find this book very welcome.
a standard comes from our imagining that in concentrating my mind on a sensation I am at the same time laying down a standard of application. If there is to be room for talk about a standard, there must be room for judging whether I am acting correctly or not, independently of my inclination to act in this way or that. Wittgenstein’s private-language discussion has a number of dimensions, and it has been read in a variety of ways. Here I wish to focus on one aspect of it. In the second remark
a mere sampling from the literature, compare some of the discussions in: Bambrough (1961), Wennerberg (1967), Simon (1969), Khatchadourian (1958), McCloskey (1964), and Griffin (1974). It should be noted that Bambrough’s paper really set the pace for discussions of family resemblance in the secondary literature. 3. One might try to use such a notion as the basis of an account of how our words mean what they do, for instance. Wittgenstein is trying to combat such a project as well. 4. This is
some neuroscience. Again, we come up against another common accusation levelled at Wittgenstein. He is taken to be anti-science, when he is actually anti-scientism – the thought that science can answer all possible questions. This is an important misconception to rebut. Wittgenstein, we might say, wants to relieve us of the bias that leads us to assume that “thinking” denotes a process of a particular sort, which serves as an explanation. He does not want to do this because he has some “kneejerk”
seeing the thing all along under some other aspect. It is tempting, in other words, to suppose that there is, that there must be, some continuous version to the seeing of aspects. For surely, we were seeing the object before the new aspect dawned; so it must have been under some 130 ASPECT PERCEPTION different aspect. This insistence will be further encouraged by the choice of the duck–rabbit, and other ambiguous and artificially encountered figures, as one’s paradigmatic examples of aspect
“When did it start and when did it begin?” “How long did it last?” “Was it going all the time, even when asleep?” These questions are not obviously in place if we say that someone knows or understands something, or that someone has a capacity, like the capacity to juggle, or to ride a bike. “The grammar of the word ‘knows’ is evidently closely related to that of ‘can’, ‘is able to’. But also closely related to that of ‘understands’” (PI §150). Learning to ride a bike is something that takes place