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Title: Language and world in Ludwig Wittgenstein's Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus and Philosophical Investigations
Author: Grundy, W. P.
Awarding Body: University of Cambridge
Current Institution: University of Cambridge
Date of Award: 2008
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The author describes the replacement of the a priori conditions of representational activity in the Tractatus by a set of everyday conditions that underlie the application of terms such as ‘language’ and ‘world’. He assesses both the later Wittgenstein’s challenge to clear distinctions between language and non-language, as well as his replacement of philosophical analysis with the new technique of philosophical grammar. While analysis depends, in the Tractatus, on clearly demarcated categories of language and world, grammar aims to describe the complex network of social, political, historical, technological, interpersonal, and material factors that constitute our particular modes of bringing order to experience. The author presents Wittgenstein’s later writing as a therapeutic response to the philosophical subliming of the language/world distinction in the Tractatus. He considers the multiple forms of therapy that Philosophical Investigations performs, involving both the substantive discussion of themes in the philosophy of language, as well as the distinctive form of philosophical writing that Wittgenstein develops. He argues that the later Wittgenstein’s awareness of instabilities in absolute distractions between language and non-language is closely connected to the constraints of human embodiment. Where the language/world distinction in the Tractatus depends on a radically disembodied conception of language, of language users, and of philosophical reflections on language, the later Wittgenstein considers embodiment as central to the everyday ways in which we apply the term ‘language’. The author concludes by arguing that Wittgenstein’s awareness of the embodiment of the language user leads him to reflect also on the embodiment of the philosopher and of philosophical practice. The formal properties of Philosophical Investigations cause the reader to consider philosophical thinking and writing as performed within a medium, and to reflect on the consequences for philosophical argument when the medium of philosophy is itself subjected to therapeutic demystification.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available