In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:

BOOK REVIEWS 573 ent titles to alternative pages and keyed his summaries of books and articles to Margaret McGrath's Etienne Gilson: A Bibliography (Toronto, 1982). This is a distinct help to those who want to learn more from one of our century's greatest scholars and philosophers. DESMOND J. FITZGERALD University of San Francisco Alice Ambrose and Morris Lazerowitz. Essays in the Unknown Wittgenstein. Buffalo: Prometheus Books, 1984. Pp. ~33, $29.95. If the authors knew more about fly bottles, they would have written a better book. These sixteen essays, the most interesting of which concern philosophy of mathematics , develop different aspects of a historical thesis about Wittgenstein's philosophical development, and a philosophical thesis about the implications of his thought. The historical thesis turns around a strong claim that Wittgenstein's philosophizing after the Notebooks i914-1916 divides into three phases: the original, but conventional, Tractarian period of logical positivist (sic) struggle against metaphysics and ethical emotivism, a radically innovative middle period (a932-a935) in which Wittgenstein penned The Blue and Brown Books as well as The Yellow Book (in part dictated to Ambrose), and the later period (1935--1951), which represents a critique of the Tractatus and for Ambrose and Lazerowitz a partial return to traditional philosophizing . One of the most intriguing aspects of the book is the underdeveloped and restrained Freudian speculations about the tensions in Wittgenstein's personality as they mirror the tensions between tradition and innovation in his later thought. The philosophical thesis is the "metaphilosophicar' claim that there cannot be such a thing as philosophy. It rests upon assuming that Wittgenstein's dictum that philosophical problems are not empirical implies that philosophical propositions are not empirical. All of this is dubious. First off, it rests upon a grotesque misunderstanding of Wittgenstein's early philosophy , which, while compatible with emotivism and the assault upon metaphysics, was an effort to show that these "higher" types of puzzlements could not be put into words. Secondly, Wittgenstein himself suggests no such split in his later development in the Preface to the PhilosophicalInvestigations, where he simply says that his thoughts there are the results of his thinking from 1929 to t945. It is crucial for Ambrose and Lazerowitz to ignore this because in Wittgenstein's reflections on philosophy there he explicitly rejects the idea that he is doing metaphilosophy (I: 121). Only by establishing three, rather than the conventional two, periods in Wittgenstein's development can they defend the quaint thesis that he "never developed his insights, and... scattered them.., thinly in his later writings" (9). From the perspective of the last twenty years of Wittgenstein scholarship or that of the later Wittgenstein's actualit~in contemporary intellectual life, it is hard to see such a view as anything but absurd-which is not to say that there are no problems with regard to his development, only that this conjecture is wholly inadequate to explain it. 574 JOURNAL OF THE HISTORY OF PHILOSOPHY 24:4 OCTOBER 1986 It is not very different with the "metaphilosophy" thesis. If philosophical problems are not empirical problems, this by no means precludes that they are problems ---and nobody, as the authors, to their own puzzlement, admit, took those problems more seriously than Wittgenstein. It was not enough for Wittgenstein to insist that there was, for example, no 'mind'. That would have been too easy for him. He, rather, wanted to put his, and our, questioning to rest by showing us what it was about language that tempted us to think about mind as substance in the first place. This he characterized, not as confusion, but as "deep disquietude" (I: l 11). Wittgenstein , we forget at our peril, was concerned with philosophizing against philosophy, but no less against the philosopher in us. Thus, it is not accidental that he chose to discuss the plight of the philosopher in terms of the analogy--and he took his great contribution to philosophy to be his analogies---of a fly caught in a fly bottle. What is important about this analogy is not simply that the fly is captive in the bottle but that the bottle is so constructed to entice the fly into it (like...


Additional Information

Print ISSN
pp. 573-574
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.