Wittgenstein's Philosophical Investigations: An Introduction (Cambridge Introductions to Key Philosophical Texts)
David G. Stern
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David Stern examines Wittgenstein's Philosophical Investigations in this new introduction to a classic philosophical text, paying particular attention to the arguments of the Investigations as well as the way in which the work is written, especially the role of dialogue. While he concentrates on helping readers interpret the primary text, he also provides guidance to the unusually wide range of existing interpretations, and why they have inspired such a diversity of readings.
frequently are Russell, Frege, and Ramsey, and a search for ‘Plato or Socrates’ yields 111 hits. In the Philosophical Investigations, a book that only mentions a few other philosophers by name (Lewis Carroll, Frege, William James, Moore, Ramsey, Russell, Socrates, and the Wittgenstein of the Tractatus), Augustine’s is the name that occurs most frequently, and the Confessions is the most frequently cited text. Among the few books in his possession when Wittgenstein died were Latin and German
tangle of trains of thought. In other words: where does Wittgenstein’s argument lead us? What, ultimately, are we are to make of the trains of argument that we find in the Philosophical Investigations? These two leading themes – the argumentative structure of the book, and the significance of the place of dialogue in the book – are set out in more detail in chapter 1. The first two sections provide an elementary exposition of the argumentative structure of the Philosophical Investigations. That
correctness, an ordinary language philosopher’s instruction in the grammar of what we ordinarily say. Rather, it is a Pyrrhonian reminder that there can be no philosophical proof that the world will conform to our expectations. Wittgenstein’s way of proceeding is set out particularly clearly here; both §140 and §144 explicitly pause to ask what the effect of the argument just offered is supposed to be, and both provide an unusually insistent statement of the point of the exercise in question.
subsequent controversy in philosophy and the social sciences about how best to understand the place of rules, 17 18 19 See Fogelin 1984 (1976), Baker and Hacker 1984, McGinn 1984, and Blackburn 1984a, 1984b. See Winch 1990 (1958), Malcolm 1986, and Bloor 1983, 1997. For instance, Bloor’s first book on Wittgenstein, published in 1983, takes it for granted that he was a communitarian, and argues for a sociological construal of ‘community’ and ‘practice’; his second (1997) is an extended defence of
talking about super-privacy, rather than ordinary privacy, by putting ‘private’ in scare-quotes (§202, §256, §653). In the remarks that follow, Wittgenstein’s narrator raises problems for the very idea of such a language, a ‘language which describes my inner experiences and which only I myself can understand’ (§256), while his interlocutor takes on the role of the ‘private linguist’, the defender of the idea that there can be a private language in this specially introduced sense. 3 See