The struggle against dogmatism : Wittgenstein and the concept of philosophy


    • Kuusela, Oskari


The struggle against dogmatism : Wittgenstein and the concept of philosophy

Oskari Kuusela

Harvard University Press, 2008

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Includes bibliographical references and index



Searching for rigor and a clear grasp of the essential features of their objects of investigation, philosophers are often driven to exaggerations and harmful simplifications. According to Ludwig Wittgenstein's provocative suggestion, this has to do with confusions relating to the status of philosophical statements. "The Struggle against Dogmatism" elucidates his view that there are no theses, doctrines, or theories in philosophy. Even when this claim is taken seriously, explanations of what it means are problematic - typically involving a relapse to theses. This book makes Wittgenstein's philosophical approach comprehensible by presenting it as a response to specific problems relating to the practice of philosophy, in particular the problem of dogmatism.Although the focus of this book is on Wittgenstein's later work, Oskari Kuusela also discusses Wittgenstein's early philosophy as expressed in the "Tractatus", as well as the relation between his early and later work. In the light of this account of Wittgenstein's critique of his early thought, Kuusela is able to render concrete what Wittgenstein means by philosophizing without theses or theories. In his later philosophy, Kuusela argues, Wittgenstein establishes a non-metaphysical (though not anti-metaphysical) approach to philosophy without philosophical hierarchies. This method leads to an increase in the flexibility of philosophical thought without a loss in rigor.


* Acknowledgments * List of Abbreviations * Introduction 1. Wittgenstein on Philosophical Problems: From One Fundamental Problem to Particular Problems * The Tractatus on philosophical problems * Wittgenstein's later conception of philosophical problems * Examples of philosophical problems as based on misunderstandings * Tendencies and inclinations of thinking: philosophy as therapy * Wittgenstein's notion of peace in philosophy: the contrast with the Tractatus 2. Two Conceptions of Clarification * The Tractatus's conception of philosophy as logical analysis * Wittgenstein's later critique of the Tractatus's notion of logical analysis * Clarification in Wittgenstein's later philosophy 3. From Metaphysics and Philosophical Theses to Grammar: Wittgenstein's Turn * Philosophical theses, metaphysical philosophy, and the Tractatus * Metaphysics and conceptual investigation: the problem with metaphysics * Conceptual investigation and the problem of dogmatism * Wittgenstein's turn * The turn and the role of rules * Rules as objects of comparison * Rules, metaphysical projection, and the logic of language 4. Grammar, Meaning, and Language * Grammar, use, and meaning: the problem of the status of Wittgenstein's remarks * Wittgenstein's formulation of his conception of meaning * The concept of language: comparisons with instruments and games * Wittgenstein's development and the advantages of his mature view * Examples as centers of variation and the conception of language as a family * Avoiding dogmatism about meaning * Wittgenstein's methodological shift and analyses in terms of necessary conditions 5. The Concepts of Essence and Necessity * Constructivist readings and the arbitrariness/nonarbitrariness of grammar * Problems with constructivism * The methodological dimension of Wittgenstein's conception of essence * The nontemporality of grammatical statements * Explanations of necessity in terms of factual regularities * Wittgenstein's account of essence and necessity * Beyond theses about the source of necessity 6. Philosophical Hierarchies and the Status of Clarificatory Statements * Philosophical hierarchies and Wittgenstein's "leading principle" * The (alleged) necessity of accepting philosophical statements * The concept of agreement and the problem of injustice * The criteria of the correctness of grammatical remarks * Multidimensional descriptions and the new use of old dogmatic claims 7. Wittgenstein's Conception of Philosophy, Everyday Language, and Ethics * Metaphysics disguised as methodology * The historicity of philosophy * Philosophy and the everyday * Notes * Index

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