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Wittgenstein's Thought in Transition

by Dale Jacquette

Publication Year: 1998

Wittgenstein's Thought in Transition offers a detailed exposition of Wittgenstein's philosophy as a continuous engagement with a single set of problems.

Published by: Purdue University Press

Series: History of Philosophy

Title Page, Copyright Page

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pp. xi-xiv

In 1922, Wittgenstein believed he had eliminated all philosophical problems. The explanation of meaning advanced in his Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus excludes traditional philosophical questions and answers as nonsensical. There was nothing more to do but withdraw in silence...

Acknowledgments [Includes A Note on Reading Wittgenstein]

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pp. xv-xix

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Introduction: Wittgenstein's Life and Times

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pp. 1-14

Ludwig Josef Johann Wittgenstein was born in Vienna, Austria, 26 April 1889, and died in Cambridge, England, where he had spent the greatest part of his philosophical career, on 29 April 1951.1 ...

Part One: The Early Philosophy

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1. Logical Atomism

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pp. 17-34

To understand Wittgenstein's early philosophy, we must begin with the problem of language. Wittgenstein's Tractatus seeks to explicate the conditions by which it is possible for language to have meaning. When language expresses an idea, typically in formulating a proposition to...

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2. The Picture Theory of Meaning

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pp. 35-60

Logical atomism explains meaning only if language and the world have the same logical structure. Wittgenstein's conviction that there must be an exact parallelism, isomorphism, mirroring, picturing, or representing of the world in language at some level of analysis between any logically...

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3. The General Form of Proposition

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pp. 61-91

Wittgenstein delimits the domain of what can be said in a language by establishing the general form of proposition (allgemeine Form des Satzes). As with other main parts of the Tractatus, Wittgenstein develops the general form of proposition progressively in a series of interconnected...

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4. Transcendence of the Metaphysical Subject

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pp. 92-109

The general form of proposition has unexpected consequences for psychology. Wittgenstein argues that the logic of propositions entails the extraworldly transcendence of propositional attitudes, psychological states, and the self, soul, or metaphysical subject. ...

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5. Ethics and Aesthetics as Important Nonsense

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pp. 110-133

As implications of the general form of proposition and the transcendence of the metaphysical subject, Wittgenstein offers three conclusions about moral and aesthetic value. Moral and aesthetic value like the metaphysical subject transcend the world of facts, ethics and aesthetics...

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6. Philosophical Pseudoproblems

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pp. 134-150

The picture theory of meaning avoids many classical philosophical problems. The Tractatus logic is not subject to standard self-referential paradoxes like the Liar or Russell's, because the picture theory forbids any sentence in a correct logical symbolism from saying anything about itself. ...

Part Two: Signs and Sources of Transition

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Text: Some Remarks on Logical Form

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pp. 153-159

[162] Every proposition has a content and a form. We get the picture of the pure form if we abstract from the meaning of the single words, or symbols (so far as they have independent meanings). That is to say, if we substitute variables for the constants of the proposition. ...

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Commentary: Critical Interpretation of Wittgenstein's 1929 Essay

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pp. 160-192

"Some Remarks on Logical Form" was written as a paper to be presented before the Annual Joint Session of the Aristotelian Society and Mind Association in Nottingham, England, 12-15 July 1929. At the meeting, Wittgenstein did not read the paper, but chose instead to speak...

Part Three: Philosophical Grammar in the Later Philosophy

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7. Naming

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pp. 195-204

In disowning "Some Remarks on Logical Form," Wittgenstein also disowns the Tractatus. Logical atomism, the picture theory of meaning, and general form of proposition cannot be sustained in light of the color incompatibility problem. The three interconnected interdependent...

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8. Language Games

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pp. 205-223

Language games are simplified fictional language use scenarios. Wittgenstein uses language games to investigate aspects of colloquial speech and writing, abstracted from the real world complexities in which they are embedded, in order to highlight features that would otherwise be indistinguishable. ...

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9. Critique of Logical Atomism

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pp. 224-235

The great mistake of the Tractatus is its assumption that names can only designate simple objects, that this is the one and only proper linguistic function of singular terms. Wittgenstein accordingly next turns his instrumentalist attack on the logical atomism of the early philosophy...

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10. Forms of Life and Family Resemblance

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pp. 236-253

Wittgenstein discovers that when we look to actual linguistic practice, we find an overwhelming array of different things we do with names and language games involving names and naming. Wittgenstein does not propose to catalog these phenomena in complete scientific detail; that...

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11. Rule-Following

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pp. 254-273

Games, including language games, are defined and played by following rules. Wittgenstein, having interpreted the problem of understanding meaning in language as involving families of language games with no essential properties but an overlapping and criss-crossing of features...

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12. The Private Language Argument

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pp. 274-300

The private language argument is strewn about a series of remarks in Wittgenstein's Philosophical Investigations. Wittgenstein denies advancing any philosophical theses, yet appears to argue for the substantive philosophical conclusion that a private sensation language is impossible.1 ...

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13. An Ancient City of Languages

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pp. 301-320

The most provocative insights in Wittgenstein's early and later thought are those concerning the nature of philosophy itself. What is philosophy? Is there anything for philosophy to do? Is there a proper method of philosophy, and if so, what is it? The Tractatus tried to answer these questions...

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Conclusion: Wittgenstein's Philosophical Legacy

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pp. 321-326

Wittgenstein stands at the crossroads of two major trends in contemporary philosophy. Although his place in both traditions has frequently been oversimplified, Wittgenstein's early philosophy remains among the most enduring paradigms of logical-philosophical analysis, and...

Works Cited

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pp. 327-338


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pp. 339-356

E-ISBN-13: 9781612490366
E-ISBN-10: 1612490360
Print-ISBN-13: 9781557531049
Print-ISBN-10: 1557531048

Page Count: 356
Publication Year: 1998

Series Title: History of Philosophy