Philosophical Investigations

Ludwig Wittgenstein, Mar 15, 2015
Commentary by Stephen Downes

If you've never read Philosophical Investigations you owe it to yourself to do so. This is not an easy book; it doesn't have a neat narrative and structure (though Wittgenstein's students tried to create one when assembling the notes from which it is comprised). Take your time with it, read only a few pages a day. Pause to think of the implications of passages like this one: "The more narrowly we examine actual language, the sharper becomes the conflict between it and our requirement... Philosophy is a battle against the bewitchment of our intelligence by means of language." (paras 107, 109) Or this: "A main source of our failure to understand is that we do not command a clear view of the use of our words.—Our grammar is lacking in this sort of perspicuity. A perspicuous representation produces just that understanding which consists in 'seeing connexions'." (para 122)

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