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Contemporary Philosophy


Review Essays of Academic, Professional & Technical Books in the Humanities & Sciences


Doubt, Ethics and Religion: Wittgenstein and the Counter-Enlightenment by Luigi Perissonotto and Vicente Vidarte (Ontos)

Reviewed by Brian R. Clack, University of San Diego For Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews

This is a collection of eight papers exploring Wittgenstein's work in relation to some crucial thinkers who (the editors tell us) were key to the counter-enlightenment. In their introduction, the editors contend that Wittgenstein is best seen not simply as one more philosopher in the analytic tradition but as "an extremely original thinker, highly personal in his philosophical and writing styles", and that one of his overarching concerns is his "(quite pessimistic) diagnosis . . . of the western civilization" (p. 7). Whether the papers collected in this volume actually do address these issues well enough is arguable, but some significant lines of enquiry are nonetheless opened up.

The majority of the contributions relate to Wittgenstein's thought on religious belief: both Jean-Pierre Cometti and Isabel Cabrera address the question of the religious character of Wittgenstein's thinking (Cometti focusing on the connections between Wittgenstein and the pragmatist tradition in philosophy), Joaquín Jareño Alarcón considers Wittgenstein's attitude to the question concerning the existence of God (and the evidence typically marshaled to argue for it), Vicente Sanfélix compares Wittgenstein's thought on religion with that of Hume, and Joan Llinares undertakes a comparison of Wittgenstein with Tolstoy and Nietzsche. Concerning matters beyond the purely religious, Luigi Perissinotto addresses the question of doubt in On Certainty, highlighting how Wittgenstein's approach to epistemology stands in marked contrast to the thought of Kant and Descartes (among others). Lastly, two (deeply interesting) papers consider connections between Wittgenstein and Schopenhauer: Julián Marrades Millet reflects upon the influence of Schopenhauer on Wittgenstein's early thought, while Chon Tejedor challenges (successfully, it would seem) a prevalent Schopenhauerian reading of the ethical content of the Tractatus.

It is good to see close attention being paid to Wittgenstein's relation to broader cultural matters, though one might reasonably feel that this collection misses the opportunity really to probe some of the most salient issues. Consider, first of all, the account generally provided here of Wittgenstein's view of religious belief. Too frequently, the contributors fall back on the outdated idea that Wittgenstein believes religion constitutes a distinct language-game. Alarcón, for example, writes:

There is no logical derivation to undoubtedly demonstrate God's existence. This is the condition of the use of the religious language game as we know it. This is how we play the game. The existence of God is assumed as a special certainty of the language game in which it is being used. (pp. 49-50)

This way of presenting things seems outmoded now, since one generally accepted result of the many critical discussions concerning Wittgenstein's view of religion is that he didn't think of religion as a language-game at all. He certainly never explicitly characterizes religious belief in those terms, and the examples he does provide of language-games are of much smaller phenomena (giving orders, reporting an event, acting in a play, telling a joke, etc.). Considering religion in these terms, moreover, would seem to open up Wittgenstein's view to the tired charge of fideism, and this is something, again, which current discussions seem to have left behind. The true application to religion of Wittgenstein's thoughts concerning language-games is simply that language is always embedded in an activity of some kind, and that the meaning of religious expressions can only be understood by attention to religious practice: "Practice gives the words their sense", Wittgenstein famously writes.

The criticism to be made here, therefore, is that some contributors to this volume fall back too readily on simplistic interpretations of Wittgenstein's view of religion. Something similar is true of the contributors' explication of that most vital of Wittgenstein's writings on religion: the Remarks on Frazer's Golden Bough. The view taken of this text by a number of contributors to Doubt, Ethics and Religion is a familiar (yet nonetheless erroneous) one, namely that Wittgenstein advances an expressivist understanding of religious belief and ritual. Cabrera, for example, writes that (for Wittgenstein) religious statements "express and evoke attitudes and feelings" (p. 130); the function of religious language is:

to express attitudes, to motivate practices, to reflect vital commitments. Anyone who interprets religion as a theory is making a serious error, because seen through I scientific eyes, religion is an erroneous and even an irrational conception . . . For Wittgenstein, it is in this that Frazer's great insensitivity lies. (p. 131)

This is not an isolated interpretation, for Sanfélix also voices such a view: "religious beliefs do not come into contradiction with each other and this is due to their expressive nature, their quality of symbolic crystallization, of allegorical manifestation of certain experiences" (p. 35).

Notwithstanding its ubiquity in discussions of Wittgenstein, the problem with such an interpretation is simply that it is false. To depict Wittgenstein as an expressivist runs counter to the overall aims of his later philosophy, while the picture of belief and ritual emerging from the Remarks on Frazer is not straightforwardly expressivist at all. A word should be said about both of these points. Firstly, to say that Wittgenstein thinks religious statements do not state facts but rather express attitudes makes him sound too much like a logical positivist. The positivists, remember, had stripped religious utterance of any cognitive status, but had provided one route of escape for religion: consistent with the merely emotive meaning of moral terms, religious statements might have some kind of emotive, poetic, or expressive status. R. B. Braithwaite famously adopted an approach of this character, of course. In Wittgenstein's later philosophy, however, such neat distinctions as "descriptive"/"non-descriptive", "cognitive"/"non-cognitive", and "factual"/ "expressive" are unhelpful, for there is no clear-cut sense of the descriptive from which the expressive can be distinguished. After all, description, he said, may denote "a great variety of thing" (Remarks on the Philosophy of Psychology, volume 1, §981).

When one turns to the Remarks on Frazer, moreover, one encounters something other than an expressivist theory of religion. True, there appear to be comments which suggest that rituals have a fundamentally expressive character (burning in effigy is akin to kissing the picture of a loved one; rain dances are a celebration of the coming of the rainy season; etc.), but the overall picture is rather mixed, Wittgenstein at times appearing to endorse both an instrumental conception of ritual and a non-expressive view of religious belief. Hence:

Eating and drinking have their dangers, not only for savages but also for us; nothing more natural than wanting to protect oneself against these. (Remarks on Frazer's Golden Bough).

People at one time thought it useful to kill a man, sacrifice him to the god of fertility, in order to produce good crops. (Lectures: Cambridge 1932-1935)

In the face of such a mixed picture, it may be well to avoid drawing a conclusion about any positive theory of religious belief arising from the Remarks on Frazer, and instead to see Wittgenstein's words as functioning in a largely negative light: in other words, as a criticism of (certain aspects) of Frazer's theory of ritual. And one of the things that Wittgenstein seems to be most critical of in this context is relevant to the theme of a collection of papers purporting to be concerned with Wittgenstein's "pessimistic diagnosis of western civilization".

What Wittgenstein (at least in part) seems to discern in Frazer is a figure fully representative of the modern age, intent upon understanding everything in terms of the dominant fad of our culture: scientific progress. For Frazer, magic and religion are primitive (and mistaken) attempts at scientific thought, and they become redundant as the forward march of historical progress brings about scientific liberation from ignorance. Wittgenstein rejects both the view that magic is (as Frazer called it) "the bastard sister of science" and the contention of The Golden Bough that history presents us with the story of the social and intellectual progressive improvement of humanity. And the great influence lying behind Wittgenstein's rejection of the progressive view of history was Oswald Spengler, author of The Decline of the West. In contradistinction to a conception of history as linear and advancing, Spengler saw instead history as the drama of a number of mighty cultures, each of which arises, ripens, decays, and dies. Western culture, for Spengler (and for Wittgenstein), has reached the stage of decline and has wilted into materialism and triviality. A great deal of Wittgenstein's thought -- from his account of the nature of religion to his elaboration of an appropriate philosophical method -- can be understood from this Spenglerian perspective (see my An Introduction to Wittgenstein's Philosophy of Religion and William James DeAngelis' Wittgenstein: A Cultural Point of View for two attempts to do precisely this).

In conclusion, then, it is laudable for a book such as Doubt, Ethics and Religion to seek to place Wittgenstein in the broader context of western culture (and not merely to see him as an analytic philosopher struggling with the abstract problems of philosophy), but for this to be done really effectively a lot more attention should have been given to what is tantalizingly hinted at in the editors' introduction: Wittgenstein's cultural pessimism. This can truly be explored only by reference to the influence of Spengler on Wittgenstein, and yet not one reference to Spengler is to be found within this book. This is a pity, though there may well be enough interesting pieces in this collection to make it a worthwhile read nonetheless.


Wittgenstein and the Possibility of Discourse by Rush Rhees, Dewi Z. Phillips (Blackwell Publishing) Four years after the publication of Ludwig Wittgenstein's Philosophical Investigations, Rush Rhees, one of Wittgenstein's literary executors and closest friends, began writing reflections on the masterpiece he had helped to edit. In this collection of his previously unpublished writings, Rhees offers an original critique of Wittgenstein's analogy between language and games. The volume constitutes a major contribution not only to Wittgenstein scholarship, but also to philosophical debates about the possibility of discourse, and to why conversation is central to that possibility.For the second edition, D.Z. Phillips has inserted as a preface Rhees' article, 'The Fundamental Problems of Philosophy', first published in 1994. This paper gives a clear picture of Rhees' view of the distinctive nature of philosophical questions and of the character shown in a deep pursuit of them. Secondly, Phillips has included as an additional appendix, some of Rhees' reflections on Wittgenstein, his teacher. The book's index has also been enhanced.

Tractatus Logico Philosophicus by Ludwig Wittgenstein, translated by David Francis Pears, Brian McGuinness (Routledge Classics: Routledge) Ostensively one of the most influential works of philosophy in the twentieth century, Wittgenstein’s Tractatus Logico Philosophicus continues to astound and invite readers toward first order thinking. Even if read within the historic context of Wittgenstein’s later so-called repudiation of assumptions as instanced in his posthumous Philosophical Investigations, Tractatus Logico Philosophicus still shows how logical form and semantic analysis have shaped the main styles of philosophic discourse in the last century.

Tractatus Logico Philosophicus first appeared in 1921 and was the only philosophical work that Ludwig Wittgenstein published during his lifetime. Written in short, carefully numbered paragraphs of extreme compression and brilliance, it immediately convinced many of its readers and captivated the imagination of a generation of philosophers. Influencing the Logical positivists of the 1920s and 1930s, the book later went to grip the minds of many other philosophers, convincing many that propositions were pictures of reality.

In this edition, David Pears and Brian McGuinness have completely revised their translation based upon Wittgenstein's own suggestions and comments in his correspondence with C. K. Ogden, Wittgenstein's first translator. In addition, this edition contain the introduction by Bertrand Russell which appeared in the original English edition and includes a detailed analytic index to the German.

Those not familiar with the proprositional calculus may not like the symbolic logic involved, but it is worth understanding because it is quite simple and makes the rest of the text very easily understandable. Wittgenstein's most important terms like 'elementary proposition' come essentially from viewing natural languages as an imperfect version of the propositional calculus. This idea is quite wrong, in fact even Wittgenstein himself was struck by his own naivety in believing that all language did was put forward propositions capable of truth or falsity. His later view that to understand language you must look at it, seems blindingly obvious, but he was just reacting to the general view of the logical positivist who only saw meaning in propositions capable of truth or falsity, which does not in any way match up with how we actually use language in everyday life. The idea of "pictorial form", a mysterious connection between the object relations of the real world, and the grammatical structure of the sentence is a beautiful and impressive idea, but lacks any real grounding in fact.

Many would disagree, but I say ignore the numbered paragraphs and just read it through, Wittgenstein was just using a technique he learnt from engineering textbooks, and the structure doesn't help understanding. Many people will be frustrated by the lack of argument, and its almost biblical tone, but trust me, anyone familiar with Wittgenstein's life will know that he thought over these problems for a long time.

Philosophical Investigations is a more important work, but shares nearly all the concerns of the Tractatus Logico Philosophicus. Read the section in the Investigations on broomsticks and logical atomism, it will show the bankruptcy and arbitrariness of atomism in linguistic practice.

Rails to Infinity: Essays on Themes from Wittgenstein's Philosophical Investigations by Crispin Wright (Harvard University Press) published on the fiftieth anniversary of Wittgenstein's death, brings together thirteen of Crispin Wright's most influential essays on Wittgenstein's later philosophies of language and mind, many hard to obtain, including the first publication of his Whitehead Lectures given at Harvard in 1996. Organized into four groups, the essays focus on issues about following a rule and the objectivity of meaning; on Saul Kripke's contribution to the interpretation of Wittgenstein; on privacy and self-knowledge; and on aspects of Wittgenstein's philosophy of mathematics. Wright uses the cutting edge of Wittgenstein's thought to expose and undermine the common assumptions in platonistic views of mathematical and logical objectivity and Cartesian ideas about self-knowledge. The great question remains: How to react to the demise of these assumptions? In response, the essays develop a concerted, evolving approach to the possibilities--and limitations--of constructive philosophies of mathematics and mind. Their collection constitutes a major statement by one of Britain's most important philosophers--and will provide an indispensable tool both for students of Wittgenstein and for scholars working more generally in the metaphysics of mind and language.

Approaches to Wittgenstein by Brian McGuinness (Routledge) brings together for the first time many of the finest papers on Ludwig Wittgenstein, illuminating his philosophy by placing it in its biographical, cultural and historical context. Written by Brian McGuinness, well‑known for both his biography of Wittgenstein and his work on Wittgenstein's philosophy, these papers represent fifty years of work on the most intriguing and fascinating of twentieth‑century thinkers.

In the first section of the book, Brian McGuinness explains the close connection between Wittgenstein's life and work. He argues that Wittgenstein was deeply affected by his family, by his work as an architect, and by his experience of war and the powerlessness of his native Austria. The second section deals at length with Wittgenstein's famous Tractatus LogicoPhilosophicus. McGuinness studies the book's origins and the 'picture' theory of meaning it presents, before going on to explore the central issues of solipsism, mysticism and the `unsayable'. A third section considers the wider context of Wittgenstein's philosophy: his relation to the Vienna Circle, his philosophy of language and of mind, and his reactions to Freud and psychoanalysis. The final section is dedicated to Wittgenstein's highly individual methods of writing.

Of the twenty‑four essays in this book, six are published here in English for the first time. Approaches to Wittgenstein will be essential reading for Wittgenstein scholars, and will also be appreciated by many with an interest in biography, history, philology and cultural studies.

Editor Summary: The present collection requires some explanation if not justification. The papers here printed (alongside various editions and a volume of biography) result from a study, itself almost lifelong, of the life and work of Ludwig Wittgenstein. I did not want to leave them mouldering, as it were, in the obscurity, however undeserved, of the periodicals and languages where they first saw the light, for only a few have made their way into more widely known collections. Something was owed to the lungo studio a il grand'amore, the fascination that this philosopher had so long exercised on me, as on so many others. If the pieces were worth writing at all, they were worth putting together to give a general picture that might explain that fascination and perhaps to some extent justify the spending of so much time on the thought of another.

This last feature is more defensible in the sphere of philosophy than in most of the fields and disciplines into which learning is conventionally distributed, for it is a sphere in which the question why we are asking a certain question is almost as important as the question itself. Hence the evasiveness with which the practitioner is wont to meet the layman or child who asks to be told what philosophy is, a Gretchenfrage such as Faust faced when asked about religion. `Don't ask' seems the only answer, in the sense that philosophical questions have to force themselves on one. Reflection on other matters or inside established disciplines leads to questions, which familiar methods do not suffice to answer. So it has been since Socrates, by whose time a number of sciences had been established, and so it was certainly viewed by the subject of these studies, who is famous for saying that the place of philosophy was above or below the natural sciences, not alongside them, and that its problems arose from a misunderstanding of the logic of our language. It was only twice that he gave a programmatic address at Cambridge, once on being appointed to his professorship and once to counter the effects of a paper given by Popper. On each occasion a quotation from Heinrich Hertz was central to his implicit definition of a philosophical problem: it would be one that resulted from our having associated too many ideas with a certain notion, and that was solved by unpicking them. There was (Hertz showed) no answer to the question, What is the definition of force? but once one had realized how the question came to be asked, steps could be taken to talk correctly about this subject matter.

Not only the activity of Wittgenstein and Hertz but the history of philosophy too is precisely the study of how and why certain questions arose and thus will be one particular form of the general activity of philosophy. Admittedly it was not the form that Wittgenstein's own thoughts took. He said that when he began to read an historical text Hume was his example ‑ he soon threw away the book and began to think about the problem for himself. Of course, what 'the problem' may be is itself a problem. He may have missed Hume's problem and found or invented another of his own. His friend Sraffa indicated this when he asked, about one of Wittgenstein's interlocutors, 'But has anybody ever actually made this confusion?. Sraffa, whom Wittgenstein regarded as his severest critic, spent much of his time during the years of his closest association with the philosopher on the writing and rewriting of a devastating review of a paper by Hayek (who survived cheerfully enough). Sraffa's criticism and example may well explain much of the obsessional rewriting and revising that we observe in Wittgenstein's manuscripts.

This particular criticism may be countered by observing that when Wittgenstein was trying to get to the root of a way of thinking he was entitled to portray it in its crudest form. Many of the errors of reasoning in a Socratic dialogue are literary devices. The reader sees to his dismay or profit that what he thinks is after all not so dissimilar from the absurdity he reads. 'Strawson versus straw man', one of Russell's jibes, may not be a wholly useless form of argument (though it is by no means typical of Sir Peter Strawson).

One of the approaches to Wittgenstein from which this collection takes its title will be that of trying to think through the problems in his terms. Another, more indirect approach or at a higher level of historical awareness, if you will, is that of identifying the concerns of those who gave impetus to his thoughts, the 'influences' that he himself lists, and those also that he does not. In either type of influence we shall have occasion to see that he nearly always changed what he was given. He could not help rethinking a problem, trying to rise above the terms in which it was posed. This was his genius, if the word be permitted, but it was also his vanity. He criticized a near contemporary for not having his own problems (but dealing instead with Wittgenstein's). Thus another approach will be that of considering what sort of man this was for whom everything had to be new. We see him not as the product of but as conditioned by his family, its wealth, its culture, its fastidiousness, conditioned too by his time, its wars and depressions, the powerlessness of his native land, the experience of the émigré if not the exile. Finally thanks to the mass of his literary remains, we can follow the properties of the composition of his works: that constantly interrupted process also had an influence on his thought.

The essays are at various levels of difficulty, some frankly introductory, others following the texts, I hope faithfully rather than slavishly, and yet others catering to an interest in the intellectual background, while the final section presupposes a willingness to enter into the detail of manuscripts, versions and their stemmata. Once launched upon it is a fascinating subject, and I hope will here be found at least interesting on its own account, while it also gives an idea of what was involved in being a philosopher as far as Wittgenstein was concerned.

The variety of the papers reflects, dimly though it may be, the many-sidedness of their subject. It would be wrong to say of him, All human life is here. On the contrary, though there were many possibilities, there were equally many Hemmungen, complexes, which led to negation and sometimes to apparent contradiction, but they were Hemmungen grounded in human life, when lived with an intense desire for purity and perfection but with only human means of attaining them. The works too should be read with this in mind. A comparatively trivial example is the parallel between his struggle (inevitably self‑frustrating) to be spontaneous and natural in human relations and the constant rephrasing of his philosophical writings in the search for a form of expression that should be incontestable.

Wittgensteinian Themes: Essays in Honour of David Pears by David Francis Pears, edited by David Charles, William Child (Oxford University Press)

David Pears's publications span more than fifty years. He is justly renowned for his work on Wittgenstein‑both as author of three books and numerous papers on Wittgenstein's philosophy and as translator (with Brian McGuinness) of Wittgenstein's Tractatus. But his philosophi­cal interests are extremely wide‑ranging and he has published on very many other topics too. In the history of philosophy he has written on Aristotle, Hume, and Russell. He has worked extensively on the philoso­phy of mind and action; his book and papers on motivated irrationality are especially well known, but he has also written influentially about perception, action, and other topics. And he has published on a range of subjects in epistemology and metaphysics. His work is known interna­tionally, not only through his publications but also from his teaching and lecturing and from his contributions to conferences and seminars. Colleagues and students in many countries have learned much from David's tireless interest in new ideas and his enthusiasm for philosophical discussion.

For more than forty years, David Pears has been a major figure in Wittgenstein scholarship. He is author of many papers and three books on Wittgenstein's philosophy; Wittgenstein (1971) and the important The False Prison: A Study in the Development of Wittgenstein's Philosophy vols. I and II (1987‑8). And he is, with Brian McGuinness, translator of Wittgenstein's Tractatus. This collection of essays on Wittgenstein, specially written for this volume, honors Pears's contribution to philosophy and to the study of Wittgenstein.

The papers include scholarly debate on the interpretation, assessment, and significance of Wittgenstein's writings, early and late; detailed discussion of Pears's own highly influential work on Wittgenstein; and exploration of relations between Wittgenstein and other philosophers, ancient and modern.

Contents Notes on Contributors List of Abbreviations Foreword: Some Philosophical Recollections by Bernard Williams 1. ‘Solipsism' in the Tractatus by Brian McGuinness 2. When the Whistling had to Stop by P. M. S. Hacker 3. Wittgenstein's Builders and Aristotle's Craftsmen by David Charles 4. Pears's Wittgenstein: Rule‑Following, Platonism, and Naturalism by William Child 5. Logical Rules, Necessity, and Convention by Hide Ishiguro 6. Private Objects, Physical Objects, and Ostension by Barry Stroud 7. The Reality of Consciousness by Naomi Eilan Index

Wittgenstein: Biography and Philosophy edited by James Carl Klagge (Cambridge University Press) (HARDCOVER) THIS COLLECTION OF NEW ESSAYS DEALS WITH the relationship between Wittgenstein's life and his philosophy. The first two essays in the volume reflect on general problems inherent in philosophical biography itself. The essays that follow draw on recently published letters as well as recently published diaries from the 1930s to explore Wittgenstein's background as an engineer and its relation to the Tractatus Logico Philosophicus, the impact of his schizoid personality on his approach to phi­losophy, his role as a diarist, letter writer, and polemicist, and finally the complex issue of Wittgenstein as a Jew.

Written by a first‑rate team of Wittgenstein scholars, including two published biographers of the philosopher, Brian McGuinness and Ray Monk, this collection will appeal especially to anyone with a serious interest in the most influential philosopher of the 20th century.

CONTRIBUTORS: James Conant, Hans‑Johann Glock, Kelly Hamilton, James C. Klagge, Brian McGuinness, Ray Monk, Alfred Nordmann, Louis Sass, Joachim Schulte, and David Stern

  No one who reads, or tries to read, the Tractatus can help wondering what kind of person its author was. Upon reading the Tractatus but before meeting its author, Theodore Redpath, a student of Ludwig Wittgenstein's from the mid‑ to late 1930s, imagined Wittgenstein "with the facial appearance of a `prophet,' with a thin long sensitive, El Grecoish kind of face, framed by long strands of silvery hair and set with large, dark, expressive eyes."' The contrast created by reading the Philosophical Investigations can only increase one's curiosity.

Until Wittgenstein's death in 1951, knowledge of him as a person was limited to friends and students and rumor. For the next three dozen years it was refracted by a growing stream of memoirs and recollections by friends, students, and acquaintances. Finally, near the centenary anniversary of his birth, we began to know Wittgenstein through two well‑researched biographies. The more we know of him as a person, the more interesting become the connections, and disconnections, to his philosophical work. With these biographies, the real work has now begun of understanding Wittgenstein as a person and a thinker. This collection of papers continues that work. What stands out in many of these papers is the attention to recently published material ‑ Wittgenstein's diaries from the 1930s, his correspondence with his family, his engineering training.

  Coincidentally, the very week that the conference was held, Time magazine released its special issue (March 29, 1999) on "The Century's Greatest Minds," the fourth in its five‑part series on the 100 most influential people of the century. Wittgenstein was the only philosopher chosen among the two dozen greatest scientists and thinkers, unless one counts Godel and Turing. Time commissioned Daniel Dennett to write the three‑page account, which includes the teaser, "Wittgenstein . . . continues to attract fanatics who devote their life to disagreeing with one another (and, presumably, with my brief summary)." While the contributors to this collection have found things to disagree about, a startling unity emerges in their belief that there is an intimate connection between Wittgenstein's life and his work; this connection is crucial to understanding both.

Alfred Nordmann, in his contribution to this volume, explores Wittgenstein's newly discovered diaries from the 1930s ‑in particular, Wittgenstein's comment that "the movement of thought in my philosophy should be discernible in the history of my mind, of its moral concepts and in the understanding of my situation."' Several essays in this volume search for these parallel movements.

It is impossible to summarize the wealth of issues that revolve around the relationship between Wittgenstein's life and his work probed in this collection, but I will illustrate such an issue, though it is not addressed by any of the contributors.

In reflecting on Wittgenstein's life and work I begin at its end: I think it is a touchstone of any interpretation of Wittgenstein's life and work that it help us to make sense of his dying words for his close friends, said (in English) to the woman who helped nurse him through his last months: "Tell them I had a wonderful life."

Is this an accurate statement about Wittgenstein's life? Did he mean to be saying something true, or something consoling? What did he mean by "wonderful"? Not only is this a poignant remark because of its timing and apparent content, but it also raises just the kind of issues that concern us here ‑ issues about the relationship between Wittgenstein's life and his thoughts.

In 1925, while visiting England and staying with John Maynard Keynes, Wittgenstein had concluded a letter to his friend Engelmann: ". . . I wish now I could die in a moment of brilliance."5 There is a sense in which Wittgenstein got his wish, since he was able to continue his philosophical writing until the day before he lapsed into a coma .b In other respects, however, the suffering of his last days could hardly have been conducive to brilliance. Joachim Schulte, in his contribution to this volume, stresses the importance to Wittgenstein of finding the right context and phrasing for his remarks. What is the right context for understanding this remark?

James Conant, in his contribution to this volume, compares writing about Wittgenstein to writing about Socrates. In the ancient tradition there was a presumption that a philosopher's life was relevant as an expression of his philosophy. Conant sees Wittgenstein as fitting into that tradition. And Wittgenstein's dying remark cries out for interpretation just as do Socrates' remarks at the end of his trial, such as "the unexamined life is not worth living for man" and "a good man cannot be harmed either in life or in death"? Of course these remarks are already put into a context by Plato, in his writing of the Apology. Just as Socrates had his Xenophon, who gave a different tone to the defense, and Aristophanes, who might have found yet a different tone if he had addressed this scene, so Wittgenstein had his Derek Jarman.

Jarman, surprisingly, does not include this scene in his film, "Wittgenstein," but an anonymous reviewer of the film on a gay film website commented that "Wittgenstein struggled with self‑alienation throughout his life. He died of cancer in 1951. His final, mocking words were: `Tell them I've had a wonderful life.' Jarman's film captures this life with energy and imagination.."e I think it is likely that if Jarman had included this scene, it could well have been said caustically.

The paragraph in which Ray Monk quotes Wittgenstein's words certainly supports the caustic interpretation, surrounding them, as Monk does, with a foul mood and other caustic remarks. Yet Monk does not present them as an expression of a life‑long alienation. As explained in Monk's contribution to this volume, he leaves us to draw our own conclusion about the tone of voice from the collage of surroundings he has accumulated.

Obviously Wittgenstein's close friends would not want to be bidden farewell in that way. Norman Malcolm, one of those friends, who first published these words in his memoir in 1958, found them to be a mystery. Then in a revised edition in 1984 he decided that, though Wittgenstein's life seemed unhappy, he must have derived considerable.satisfaction from his work and friendships?

In 1958 Malcolm interpreted "wonderful" as synonymous with "enjoyable." By 1984 he saw it as synonymous with "worthwhile." Perhaps the best model for this latter sense of "wonderful" is the 1946 Frank Capra film, "It's a Wonderful Life." (I wonder if Wittgenstein, a fan of popular American films, could have made his statement without being aware of its similarity to the title of this film.) We see already that Wittgenstein's parting words have all the potential for ambiguity that Schulte finds in the various letters he discusses. (Indeed, Wittgenstein's words were like a very brief letter to his friends.)

David Stern, in his contribution, raises the question of what stake we have in how Wittgenstein's remarks are interpreted. Perhaps some wish to see Wittgenstein as a companion in misery, as the gay review might suggest. Personal friends might wish to see something redemptive in Wittgenstein's struggles. Biographers may wish to find unity in a life. Philosophers of various stripes may wish to see Wittgenstein as an ally, or alternately as a purveyor of mistaken views.

Peter John has instead proposed to interpret "wonderful" literally as meaning "full of wonder."'° Though this stretches its colloquial usage in English, Webster's second edition (1934) does offer: "adapted to excite wonder." It is clear that the capacity to wonder and remain in wonder was important for Wittgenstein. In 1929, in a lecture on ethics, he offered "wonder at the existence of the world" as an illustration of what had intrinsic value for him." A year later Wittgenstein worried that this capacity for wonder was greatly endangered by modern conceptions of science and progress: "Man has to awaken to wonder [Zum Staunen] ‑ and so perhaps do people. Science is a way of sending him to sleep again."

While some may see this as an ignorantly prejudicial remark against science, Kelly Hamilton's paper reminds us of Wittgenstein's strong grounding in science. While Hamilton emphasizes the importance of models in turn‑of-the‑century German engineering training and of their relevance to Wittgenstein's model/picture theory of meaning in the Tractatus, the later Wittgenstein could well have come to see scientific models as limiting people's imagination by seeming to do the work of understanding by themselves ‑just as the later Wittgenstein did come to see the model/picture theory of meaning as defective because it appeared to do the work of meaning by itself, apart from human engagement."

The focus on wonder is an example of the sort of second‑order reflective state of mind that Louis Sass, in his contribution, finds so characteristic of Wittgenstein's personality. One cannot wonder at a state of affairs without placing it in a larger context, among other possibilities. Yet it is this very reflectiveness that makes acceptance of the given so difficult. Thus we get Wittgenstein's ambivalence, about philosophy and in his personal relations.

But fundamentally Wittgenstein strove to have a life full of wonder, and Peter John's construal of his remark would, in a sense, crown that life. On this interpretation, his dying remark crystallized the brilliance of his life as he sought to live it." This is just one of many examples of the work that remains to be done in filling out our understanding of Wittgenstein, both as a person and as a philosopher.

Students of Wittgenstein's life know that alienation was a recurring experience. Brian McGuinness, in his contribution, and David Stem, in his, examine the vexed question of Wittgenstein's alleged Jewishness and his own attitude to this attribution. It was a visceral source of alienation. Jarman's cinematic representation of Wittgenstein's philosophizing presents that as an expression of his alienation, as well, but philosophy was in fact Wittgenstein's way of reaching outside of himself. Hans‑Johann Glock, in his essay, emphasizes the many ways in which Wittgenstein's philosophy engaged in a rational way not only with the philosophical traditions that preceded him, but also with various contemporary figures. Though Wittgenstein never managed to live in a setting of which he felt genuinely a part ‑ perhaps he was, indeed, incapable of being anything but apart ‑ and never managed to have more than a friend or two at a time, he offered up himself in his philosophizing.

Jarman's film implies that this offering was not comprehended ‑ a fact that Wittgenstein himself suspected. Wittgenstein closed the lectures of Easter term, 1939, with the lament: "The seed I'm most likely to sow is a certain jargon.,"'6 His work, however, was not hopeless, nor did he feel it to be hopeless. He did not seek disciples, and he invariably tried to steer his students away from careers in philosophy, but he did offer some four dozen courses of lectures at Cambridge over a period of 18 years." And from his tens of thousands of manuscript pages, he sought constantly to refine and cast a satisfactory expression of his thoughts.''

Though he sometimes felt he was only "writing for friends who are scattered throughout the corners of the globe" still he never ceased in his effort to communicate his thoughts, and thereby establish a community:

If I say that my book is meant for only a small circle of people (if it can be called a circle), I do not mean that I believe this circle to be the elite of mankind; but it does comprise those to whom I turn (not because they are better or worse than others but) because they form my cultural milieu, my fellow citizens as it were, in contrast to the rest who are foreign to me.

The community for which he hoped was not just limited to his own time. As he said to Drury in 1949, "Perhaps in a hundred years people will really want what I am writing. "

So it is that we, his students in later decades, in a later century, still hold the key to the successful community that Wittgenstein sought. Through our ongoing attempts to understand him and his movements of thought, we seek to accept the offering of himself that he so painfully made through those many pages of notebooks and hours of lecturing.

Wittgenstein and Contemporary Philosophy of Mind edited by Severin Schroeder (Palgrave) aims to reassess the work of Wittgenstein in terms of its importance to contemporary debates surrounding the philosophy of mind. The first part of this study examines Wittgenstein in the context of current views on the human mind in relation to the body and behavior. The arguments confront the views of Quine and Dennett, as well as functionalism, eliminative materialism, and the current debate about consciousness. The essays that make up the second part focus on a particular psychological concept, thinking, imagining, sensation, knowledge, and reason. This study takes a fresh look at this established thinker and demonstrates both the relevance and power of his arguments in the 21st century.

Reading Wittgenstein is a philosophical experience to be relished. It leads many readers to energetic counter­argument; it leads others to new ways of seeing things that bring intellectual satisfaction of the highest order. It is hoped that the essays in this book will prompt their readers to go to the Wittgenstein texts on religion themselves, again or for the first time, and to participate in the intellectual excitement that Wittgenstein generates in this area of his thought. And if the essays succeed in casting some light on these texts, they will completely fulfill their authors' present aims and ambitions.

During the 1950s and 1960s, Wittgenstein's ideas had an enormous impact in the philosophy of mind. But his influence diminished in the 1970s, and today, in what is often thought of as the forefront of philosophical discussions, it is hardly felt at all. As Anthony Kenny put it in 1984: some of the philosophical gains we owe to Wittgenstein seem in danger of being lost. This is not because his work has been superseded or put in the shade by the light of some succeeding philosophical genius. Rather, his contribution has been neglected because more and more philosophers, especially in the United States, have attempted to model their studies on the pattern of a rigorously scientific discipline, mimicking the type of precision characteristic of mathematics, and holding up an abstract system for artificial intelligence as the goal of philosophy of mind.

 The introduction of new explanatory metaphors and new terminology, inspired by progress in neural and computer sciences, makes it appear as if the issues in current philosophy of mind were no longer those addressed by Wittgenstein half a century ago. I believe that appearances in this case are deceptive. Problems in philosophical psychology arise out of, and are originally formulated in terms of, our everyday mental concepts, such as thinking, imagining, feeling, reason or consciousness. Bringing in recent scientific terminology will at best allow us to restate the same problems in a more sophisticated way, and at worst cover them by a smokescreen of technical details. Introducing a wealth of new empirical data about our brains and nervous systems, although such data are extremely interesting in their own right, will not be of much use when we are wrestling with conceptual questions; especially where the concepts have been well‑established long before, and hence independently of, any such recent discoveries.

This collection of essays is based on the assumption that, in spite of the change of appearances in the philosophy of mind over the last few decades, Wittgenstein's thoughts in this area have lost nothing of their relevance and fruitfulness. Of course, this view is not new. It has always been emphatically propounded by Wittgenstein scholars and philosophers of a Wittgensteinian bent. Kenny is a prominent example. Unfortunately, communication between such philosophers, those with a strong interest in Wittgenstein, on the one hand, and leading philosophers of mind, on the other, seems to have all but broken down. Present‑day discussions in the philosophy of mind virtually ignore Wittgenstein while presentations and discussions of Wittgenstein's ideas seem not to take much notice of more recent theories and debates. The essays in this collection are attempts to bridge that gap. Each of them discusses some prevalent views in contemporary philosophy of mind by confronting them with Wittgensteinian ideas. Part I is concerned with the general picture of the human mind in its relation to body and behavior. Part II assembles essays that focus each on one particular psychological concept, namely imagining, thinking, reason, knowledge and sensation.

The work of Quine has been a major influence upon the philosophy of mind since the 1950s. Hans-Johann Glock explores both the parallels and the differences between Quine and Wittgenstein. Both reject Cartesian accounts of mind and language, and both emphasize the idea that there is nothing in linguistic meaning that cannot be manifested in behavior. However, the differences between the two thinkers are profound. Wittgenstein is strongly opposed to Quine's view of philosophy as being continuous with science. Quine describes human behavior in terms of neural stimuli and physiological responses, whereas Wittgenstein insists that it must ab initio be described in rich intentional language. Quine's methodological behaviorism is based on a physicalist ontology, whereas Wittgenstein rejects even the common view that the mental supervenes on the physical.

FUNCTIONALISM is probably the most popular philosophical theory of the mind today. It is often thought of as combining the advantages of behaviourism with those of mind‑brain identity theories. Developing some of Wittgenstein's objections to physicalism, Roger Teichmann argues against functionalism that our use of mental predicates does not involve any (in principle defeasible) 'theory' about fellow human beings. Rather, in many instances, it is based on our natural, emotional responses to others.

It is widely believed that the subjective phenomena of consciousness and `qualia' present insuperable difficulties for a purely functional account of the mind, perhaps even for physicalism or a satisfactory theory of the mind in general. Oswald Hanfling attempts to show that this view rests on unjustified assumptions and misuses of language of a kind that Wittgenstein warned us against, notably the ascription of 'conscious' and related words to brains as opposed to human beings. However, mind‑brain identity theories and functionalism are found no less guilty of such displacements of psychological language from its normal habitat.

Almost everybody working in the philosophy of mind is concerned with the question of what exactly our mental terms mean or stand for; what is a belief? What is a sensation? What is an emotion? Yet one school of philosophers have completely given up on this kind of question. eliminative materialists hold that our traditional psychological vocabulary fails to pick out any real occurrences in the 'mind/brain' and should therefore be abolished as terms of a discredited theory. P.M.S. Hacker examines this extraordinary position from a Wittgensteinian point of view and finds little to recommend in it. He argues, in particular, that a natural language is not a theory; that everyday concepts are not theoretical concepts; and that everyday generalizations are quite unlike the laws of a scientific theory. Finally, he shows up the Selfdefeating implications of eliminative materialism.

Daniel C. Dennett holds that when, taking the 'intentional stance', we apply psychological concepts, we do so on the grounds of certain behavioral patterns. Wittgenstein seems to use the term 'pattern' in a similar way. But, as Michel ter Hark argues, the similarity is only superficial. For Wittgenstein's insights into the peculiarities of psychological language are absent from Dennett's account. According to ter Hark, Dennett is unduly preoccupied with prediction of human behaviour, and he ignores the indeterminacy that for Wittgenstein is constitutive of at least part of our psychological language.

Stewart Candlish discusses some of the less well known of Wittgenstein's remarks on mental imagery, and shows their relevance to current debates. Among the philosophers, cognitive Scientists and psychologists whose views on the subject are discussed, ill contrast to Wittgenstein's, are Christopher Peacocke, Michael Tye and Stephen Kosslyn.

Robert L. Arrington's essay provides an examination of Wittgenstein's remarks on the relation between thinking and talking. The two concepts are intimately related, but categorially different, and this result, Arrington argues, can be used to attack the notion of a language of thought, propounded by Jerry Fodor and Gilbert Harman.

Are reasons causes, as Donald Davidson argued in a highly influential paper in 1963? Davidson's arguments are discussed and objections mounted. Then a different account of the concept of a reason is offered, based on §§633‑93 of Wittgenstein's Philosophical Investigations.

Knowledge is commonly defined as a species of belief; yet Wittgenstein suggests that it should rather be regarded as an ability. John Hyman develops this approach. By considering how knowledge gets expressed in our mental lives and in our conduct, instead of by considering (as philosophers interested in defining knowledge have tended to do) how knowledge can be acquired, he reaches the conclusion that personal propositional knowledge is the ability to act, believe, desire or doubt for reasons that are facts. However, this definition of knowledge, Hyman argues, casts doubt on Wittgenstein's views about self‑knowledge, and in particular on his well‑known doctrine that I cannot be said to know that I am in pain.

In the introduction to their influential collection The Body and the Self (1995), Eilan, Marcel and Bermudez take issue with the allegedly Wittgensteinian view that though BODILY SENSATIONS have a felt quality and intensity, all there is to their having a bodily location is a disposition on the part of the subject to react towards some part of his or her body. Edward Harcourt examines whether the characterization of Wittgenstein's views by Eilan et al. is accurate and whether their rejection is justified.

Wittgenstein and Philosophy of Religion edited by Robert L. Arrington and Mark Addis (Routledge) brings together leading Wittgenstein scholars with varying views on what the proper interpretation and acceptability of Wittgenstein's writings are on religion. The themes discussed include Wittgenstein's views on creation, magic and free will. Wittgenstein's remarks on religious belief have had an influence quite disproportionate to their number. He wrote very little on the subject, and much that we have from him on the topic comes from brief collections of remarks, notes others made of his lectures, and records of snippets of thought. In his later period, there are primarily the `Remarks on Frazer's Golden Bough,' the `Lectures on Religious Belief,' and occasional remarks in Culture and Value. Nevertheless, most anthologies in the philosophy of religion and many collections of essays designed for introductory philosophy courses will have sections on the Wittgensteinian approach to religion (usually referred to as a form of fideism). His thought in this area has also had an impact in cognate areas such as religious studies and theology.

In this volume our hope is to convey some of the excitement about Wittgenstein's later thought on religion. We want to show how stimulating and suggestive Wittgenstein's remarks can be ‑ how they can lead to a totally new perspective on religious belief, to new ways of understanding specific topics such as creation and freedom of the will, and to a new focus for debating the issue of faith and reason. We also want to demonstrate how very controversial these remarks are. Wittgenstein scholars are not of a single mind regarding the significance of what Wittgenstein had to say on the subject, as will be readily apparent on reading several of the following essays. Moreover, some Wittgenstein scholars reject what appears to be the central philosophical message found in the few remarks on magic and religious belief even while they accept what Wittgenstein has to say about language in other areas of discourse. And there are, of course, non‑Wittgensteinians who forcefully repudiate the implications of his approach to religion.

John Hyman gets us off to a good start with a brief introduction to Wittgenstein's overall philosophy ‑ both his early thought in the Tractatus Logico‑Philosophicus and the later thought as found in Philosophical Investigations. After this survey and a brief treatment of the main themes in Wittgenstein's philosophy of religion, Hyman raises some questions about the acceptability of Wittgenstein's remarks on religion. The doubts expressed in his questions will resonate with many philosophers.

Brian Clack's essay consists of an interpretation of Wittgenstein's thoughts on magic found in his `Remarks on Frazer's Golden Bough'. Clack's interpretation is at odds with the prevailing `expressivist' interpretation of what Wittgenstein has to say on this topic. By extension, Clack can be read as challenging expressivism as a proper way of understanding Wittgenstein on religious belief in general.

The next essay ‑ by Lakovos Vasiliou ‑ also gives us a distinctive reading of Wittgenstein on religion. Vasiliou leads us to see the remarks on religious belief through the lenses of Wittgenstein's On Certainty. This approach has the virtue of demonstrating how Wittgenstein's philosophy of religion ‑ brief and scattered as it is ‑ is consistent with themes he developed at length in some of his last writings.

William Brenner turns to two of the topics that are standard in the philosophy of religion, creation and freedom of the will. He shows that although Wittgenstein explicitly rejected a cosmological conception of God as First Cause, his thoughts on causation and related topics allow us to develop a new understanding of what many religious believers mean when they speak of God as creator of the world and when they attribute free will to themselves. Brenner's essay demonstrates how Wittgenstein's often-cryptic remarks can lead a thinker to new and imaginative ways of viewing the religious life.

The central notion of `fideism' ‑ the concept of faith ‑ is given an extended discussion by Michael Hodges. He examines Kierkegaard's revolutionary thoughts on faith and the influence they exerted on Wittgenstein. But Hodges is also impressed with Nietzsche's genealogical approach to religion and the critical perspective on the religious life that this approach assumes. Thus Hodges is led to raise the question whether Wittgenstein's infamous quietism ‑ his insistence that philosophy `leaves everything as it is' and cannot serve as a higher epistemological authority ‑ can be challenged. Hodges then envisages several ways in which one might try to gain a critical distance and grip on religious discourse and the religious life. He wants to know whether this can be done without violating some of Wittgenstein's central ideas.

Probably the most influential commentator on Wittgenstein's philosophy of religion ‑ and an important philosopher in his own right within this area of philosophy ‑ is D. Z. Phillips. Phillips is the person one normally associates with the fideistic interpretation of Wittgenstein. But his readings of Wittgenstein are controversial, and Mark Addis discusses many of the topics on which some Wittgenstein scholars would take issue with him and their reasons for doing so. Addis addresses some of the key notions operating in most commentaries on Wittgenstein's remarks on religion ‑ the notions of language games and forms of life ‑ and attempts to bring clarity to their meaning and application.

One of the most important positions in recent philosophy of religion is the approach of what is called `reformed epistemology' ‑ a point of view closely associated with Alvin Plantinga. What is the relationship between Plantinga's ideas and those of Wittgenstein ‑ and those of Wittgensteinians such as Phillips and Anthony Kenny? Paul Helm provides a guide to the similarities and the differences between these two influential interpretations of religious belief. He points to ways in which the one side has unfairly criticised the other, and he identifies in both approaches areas where clarity and persuasiveness are less than what one would hope for. And he tries to see how both sides line up with regard to today's realism/anti‑realism debate in philosophy.

Alan Bailey begins his essay by pointing to some features of Wittgenstein's method, and he then proceeds to identify key elements of Wittgenstein's philosophy of religion. Bailey is a critic of Wittgenstein's thought in this area. He gives numerous reasons for thinking that Wittgenstein has mischaracterized the nature and meaning of religious discourse. Bailey's essay draws on the work of contemporary philosophers who have studied the idea of attributing beliefs to others ‑ Dennett, Davidson, and Stitch ‑ and Bailey uses these studies in developing his own attack on Wittgenstein.

One of the best‑known critics of Wittgenstein on religion is Kai Nielsen, whose 1970s article `Wittgensteinian Fideism' contained a forceful rejection of much that Wittgenstein had to say on the topic. In his new essay for this volume, Nielsen expresses an appreciation of many aspects of the later Wittgenstein's thought, but he continues to argue against what seem to him to be the central messages coming from Wittgenstein with regard to religion. As he develops his interpretation of Wittgenstein on religion, Nielsen cites the work of two major Wittgenstein commentators, Norman Malcolm and Peter Winch. He utilizes some of Winch's thoughts to initiate his criticism of Wittgenstein, but he goes on to develop his own distinctive reasons for thinking Wittgenstein wrong, especially about Wittgenstein's quietism ‑ his insistence that philosophy cannot provide a critical assessment of religious practices.

The book concludes with an essay by Robert Arrington in which he attempts to respond to some of the criticisms that are leveled against Wittgenstein on religion by some of the other contributors to the book. Arrington focuses on Wittgenstein's characterization of theology as grammar. He argues that this notion, developed and extended, reveals the weaknesses of many of the reasons given for thinking that Wittgenstein has mischaracterized religious discourse and for believing that Wittgenstein has unconvincingly insulated religious belief from rational criticism.

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