- Wittgenstein's Pragmatism? Some Notes on Cheryl Misak's Reading
- Transactions of the Charles S. Peirce Society: A Quarterly Journal in American Philosophy
- Indiana University Press
- Volume 54, Number 3, Summer 2018
- pp. 368-377
- View Citation
- Additional Information
In this commentary, I focus on Misak's reading of the later Wittgenstein and on how she places his philosophy within her wider interpretation of the history of pragmatism. According to this interpretation, pragmatism has two strands: the "truth-oriented" strand (Peirce and Ramsey), whose chief interest lies in inquiry and how it produces reliable and stable belief; and the "truth-denying" strand (James, Schiller and Rorty), which emphasizes the social construction of beliefs and norms. In spite of Ramsey's influence, according to Misak, Wittgenstein ended up embracing the latter approach. By examining some aspects of Wittgenstein's conception of philosophy, including his aversion to theory, his descriptive attitude, and his alleged quietism, I argue that there are good reasons for Misak to loosen her concern a little, at least insofar as it depends on interpreting Wittgenstein's anti-theoretical stance as implying the impossibility of evaluating forms of life.