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532 JOURNAL OF THE HISTORY OF PHILOSOPHY 33:3 JULY 199 5 than a comment in a footnote that "this conclusion is suggested by a comparative analysis of the two texts" (26 l). Sluga's argument needs to be recast so that it includes what is philosophically unique and original about Heidegger's own interpretation of the concept of crisis. However, the more one does this, the less representative Heidegger may become of other German philosophers. FRANK EDLER Metropolitan Community College,Omaha John W. Cook. Wittgenstein's Metaphysics. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1994. Pp. xxiii + 35o. Cloth, $59.95. John Cook's scholarly work must come as a surprise to most Wittgenstein students since it takes a view so at odds with prevailing Wittgenstein interpretation. Not only does Cook maintain that Wittgenstein held to an empiricist phenomenalist metaphysics in the Tractatus, but that, except for some adjustments or "tinkerings," this continued to be his philosophy until the end of his life. "Iconoclastic" (Cook's term) is putting it mildly. Cook looks at Witttgenstein through the eyes of Locke, Berkeley, Hume and (surprisingly ) Wolfgang Kohler, all four of whom (along with Russell and Moore) are listed more often in the index than any other authors. (Kant's name does not appear at all.) He begins by itemizing seven so-called "myths" which he says have "dominated" Wittgenstein studies: (1) Wittgenstein's supposed lack of interest in epistemology; (2) his supposed lack of "definite ideas" about simple objects; (3) the "myth" that these "simple objects" cannot be sense data, while, according to Cook, this is exactly what they are; (4) the "myth" that "Wittgenstein's thinking underwent a fundamental change in the 193os while, on the contrary, Cook says, he remained committed to the ontology of the Tractat~s, to wit, phenomenalism; (5) a supposed similarity in later years to Moore, while in fact the similarity was to Berkeley; (6) the "myth" that he became "an ordinary language philosopher," while in fact, Cook says, he was "at odds with ordinary language"; and (7) "the myth that Wittgenstein was an original thinker, a philosopher without precedent" while "at bottom.., he was merely an empiricist." All of this is so sweeping and so out of left field that, just for that reason, it demands the closest examination. It should be read in conjunction with Newton Garver's This ComplicatedForm of Life (Chicago: Open Court, 1994) which presents the Kantian approach to Wittgenstein, and which is, I believe, more widely supported by Wittgenstein scholars. We do not find in Cook's book discussions of such key ideas of Wittgenstein's later philosophy as language-games,forms of life and natural history, which are just the concepts most thoroughly explored by Garver. Cook's reading is highly selective and because of that highly suspect. In order to defend the thesis of Wittgenstein as a life-long metaphysical phenomenalist Cook has to downplay Wittgenstein's devastating attack in the Philosophical Investigations on his own earlier views in the Tractatus, an attack far from "tinkering." BOOK REVIEWS 533 From Wittgenstein's own pages we get an entirely different impression of what the point of the Tractatu~ was. It was not so much to stick to "immediate experience" as to "complete logic" by finding in the nature of things the absolute simplicity and exactitude which logic as the essence of language seemed to require. Tractatu6 objects are "colorless" (T 2.o232), "fixed and existent" (T 2.o27 l) and make up the possibility of the world (T 2.o14). They may be the coordinates necessary to describe sensibilia in different kinds of "logical space," but they cannot be sensibilia themselves. Objects are the.form and contents of the world (T ~.o25) but the content cannot be expressed or put into words. Cook makes a strenuous attempt to assimilate Wittgenstein to the British empiricist tradition (which he says he himself does not accept), but in the course of doing this he scuttles, or twists out of shape what is most new and valuable in Wittgenstein. He reduces Wittgenstein from a giant to a pygmy. While iconoclasts should always be welcome, when they are engaged in closing off roads to the...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1538-4586
Print ISSN
0022-5053
Pages
pp. 532-533
Launched on MUSE
2008-01-01
Open Access
No
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