Joachim Schulte

in The Oxford Handbook of Wittgenstein

Published in print October 2011 | ISBN: 9780199287505
Published online January 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Philosophy


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In his Philosophical Investigations, Ludwig Wittgenstein does very little to explain what he means by ‘private’. To illustrate Wittgenstein's willingness to combine the adjective ‘private’ with all kinds of nouns, this article gives a list of such nouns based on his ‘Notes for Lectures on Private Experience’ and ‘Sense Data’: definition, experience, game of chess, impression, justification, language, language game, memory, personal experience, sensation, sense data, visual image. Items like justification, definition, and the game of chess are not covered by ‘experiences’, while impressions, sensations, and visual images are probably meant to fall under this heading. Objectivity is one idea that Wittgenstein contrasts with privacy. And objectivity, he suggests, presupposes that the people concerned use a language in the minimal sense of making recognizably regular use of what we can conceive of as symbols. The idea of an inner world as well as all those notions connected with it form only part of what Wittgenstein is driving at when he uses the word ‘private’ in relevant contexts.

Keywords: Philosophical Investigations; Ludwig Wittgenstein; privacy; experiences; objectivity; language; symbols; inner world

Article.  11844 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy ; Epistemology ; History of Western Philosophy

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