Wittgenstein: A Guide for the Perplexed (Guides for the Perplexed)

Wittgenstein: A Guide for the Perplexed (Guides for the Perplexed)

Mark Addis

Language: English

Pages: 176

ISBN: 0826484964

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

Continuum's Guides for the Perplexed are clear, concise and accessible introductions to thinkers, writers and subjects that students and readers can find especially challenging. Concentrating specifically on what it is that makes the subject difficult to fathom, these books explain and explore key themes and ideas, guiding the reader towards a thorough understanding of demanding material. Ludwig Wittgenstein is one of the most influential twentieth century philosophers with his ideas occupying a central place in the history and study of modern philosophy. Students will inevitably encounter his major contributions to the philosophies of language, mind, logic and mathematics. However, there is no escaping the extent of the challenge posed by Wittgenstein whose complex ideas are often enigmatically expressed.
Wittgenstein: A Guide for the Perplexed is an authoritative, comprehensive and lucid commentary on the philosophy of this eminent modern thinker. It offers sound guidance to reading Wittgenstein and a valuable methodology for interpreting his works. The illuminating text covers the entirety of Wittgenstein's thought, examining the relationship between the early, middle and late periods of his philosophy. Detailed attention is paid to Wittgenstein's great works the Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus and Philosophical Investigations, as well as to other published writings. Valuably, the guide also covers ground not commonly explored in studies of Wittgenstein, including his contributions to aesthetics and philosophy of religion. This is the most thorough and fully engaged account of Wittgenstein available - an invaluable resource for students and anyone interested in philosophy and modern intellectual history.















an indeterminate sense indicated that a proposition had been fully analysed, there is still the difficulty that it is not clear what is meant by an indeterminate sense in a proposition. The failure to supply an adequate explanation of how to recognize when a proposition was fully analysed had the consequence that a satisfactory account of how an object could be identified as such could not be produced. Every proposition had a unique final analysis which revealed it to be a truth-function of

physics. These are not acceptable explanations but they could be if the usual practices of explaining the word changed. Wittgenstein contended that community consensus about acceptable practices of explanation is sufficient to distinguish correct from incorrect explanations. It was central to his conception of explanations of meaning that all forms 102 PHILOSOPHY OF LANGUAGE AND MATHEMATICS of explanation of meaning are adequate. Wittgenstein stressed that diverse explanations of the same word

and asked how in experiential terms the meaning of a phrase about the number of a series of spheres being infinite is 111 WITTGENSTEIN: A GUIDE FOR THE PERPLEXED to be understood. Infinity is not characterized as something which has been encountered in experience but rather as a series with a beginning which continues forever. Wittgenstein commented that if the concept of an infinite number of spheres is construed along the lines of an experiment in which there could be an increasing number of

statements. On this view, for example, apparent metaphysical assertions or denials about the existence of God are in effect grammatical propositions about the use of the term 'God'. For an atheist this term has no legitimate employment and as such is equivalent to a refusal to operate within the boundaries of religious language games. A postulation that religious discourse is some kind of nonsense does not provide any information about reality of a supernatural or any other kind. It follows from

didn't use it at all. The attitude to the last judgement displayed here accords with the tone of a considerable number of his other remarks about religious belief. The implication of his comments seems to be that of equating religious beliefs with employing religious concepts, and possessing the associated attitudes and feelings which their use implies. Arguably this comes out most clearly in his well-known comment that 'It strikes me that a religious belief could only be something like a

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