By Andy Hamilton
Ludwig Wittgenstein is arguably crucial thinker of the 20th century. In On Certainty he discusses imperative matters in epistemology, together with the character of data and scepticism. The Routledge Philosophy Guidebook to Wittgenstein and On Certainty introduces and assesses:
- Wittgenstein's profession and the history to his later philosophy
- the imperative principles and textual content of On Certainty, together with its responses to G.E. Moore and dialogue of basic matters within the idea of knowledge
- Wittgenstein's carrying on with significance in modern philosophy.
This GuideBook is key examining for all scholars of Wittgenstein, and for these learning epistemology and philosophy of language. On walk in the park, Wittgenstein's ultimate paintings, addresses a class of "world-picture" propositions stumbled on via G.E. Moore. those problem Wittgenstein's enduring dedication to a well-defined type of empirical propositions, and support to generate a critique of scepticism. constructing Wittgenstein's view that scepticism is self-undermining, the Guidebook offers a combative but healing interpretation that locates On Certainty among the standpoints of Kant and Hume.
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Additional resources for Routledge Philosophy GuideBook to Wittgenstein and On Certainty
Wittgenstein suggests that the capacity to mean something through the use of words is one that only a social being can possess. ” – but presents the question in a highly original way. The ancient problem of universals concerns how general terms such as “is round” or “is a chair” acquire their meaning – but Wittgenstein addresses meaning in general, not just the meaning of general terms. An example of how On Certainty refers back to the rule-following considerations is OC 217, which considers “Someone who supposes all our calculations were uncertain: we might say he was crazy”.
Wittgenstein insists that this is not a return to pre-Fregean logic, which as we saw regarded logic as an empirical science: But if someone were to say “So logic too is an empirical science”, he would be wrong. Yet this is right: the same proposition may get treated at one time as something to test by experience, at another as a rule of testing. (OC 98) This contrast between what is tested by experience, and the rule that does the testing – and their changeability – is central to the debates in On Certainty.
The requirement of agreement in judgments is reiterated at OC 217, which refers to someone who constantly doubts it: “Someone who supposes all our calculations were uncertain: we might say he was crazy … ”. Note also OC 628: The language-game that operates with people’s names can certainly exist even if I am mistaken about my name, – but it does presuppose that it is nonsensical to say that the majority of people are mistaken about their names. The requirement of agreement in judgments bears intimately on the debates of On Certainty.