Chapter

Wittgenstein's metaphilosophy

Paul Horwich

in Wittgenstein's Metaphilosophy

Published in print December 2012 | ISBN: 9780199588879
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780191744716 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199588879.003.0001
Wittgenstein's metaphilosophy

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The first chapter offers an elementary exposition of Wittgenstein's radical approach, highlighting his claims (i) that philosophical questions are based on confusion, rather than ignorance (as scientific questions are), (ii) that the proper response to them, therefore, is a form of intellectual therapy in which the confusions are dissolved (so the questions disappear) rather than a theory that purports to straightforwardly answer them, and (iii) that the implication is that philosophy cannot deliver the profound knowledge that has traditionally been its raison d’être. This point of view is illustrated by displaying its application, first, to certain non-philosophical puzzles, second, to some relatively superficial philosophical paradoxes, and third, to a deep problem: the nature of numbers. The chapter concludes with a list of sceptical queries about Wittgenstein's approach — concerns about it that will be addressed in Chapter 2.

Keywords: paradox; confusion; ignorance; theory; knowledge; therapy; numbers; problem

Chapter.  5286 words. 

Subjects: History of Western Philosophy

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