Wittgenstein on Certainty

Marie McGinn

in The Oxford Handbook of Skepticism

Published in print September 2008 | ISBN: 9780195183214
Published online September 2009 | e-ISBN: 9780191727474 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Philosophy

Wittgenstein on Certainty

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  • History of Western Philosophy
  • Epistemology


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This article examines philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein's view on skepticism based on his book On Certainty. It explains that Wittgenstein has variously been held to refute skepticism by showing that it is self-defeating to reveal the truth in skepticism and to offer an accommodation with it and to diagnose the misconceptions that underlie skeptical doubt. It suggests that the account of cognitive achievement that C. Wright attributes to Wittgenstein does not amount to an intelligible conception of us as knowing about the world and to question whether his account of the central insight of On Certainty is correct.

Keywords: Ludwig Wittgenstein; skepticism; On Certainty; skeptical doubt; cognitive doubt; C. Wright

Article.  10802 words. 

Subjects: History of Western Philosophy ; Epistemology

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