17
WITTGENSTEIN AND PERSPICUITY

THE SEARCH FOR PERSPICUITY

The idea of a perspicuous understanding is central to Wittgenstein's early and late work.1 The Australian philosopher, Felicity McCutcheon, argued that this is a clear indication that his purpose in doing philosophy remained the same throughout his life. She wrote:

However one characterises the changes within Wittgenstein's thinking,the concept of perspicuity and the need for clarification are continuous themes. They are central to Wittgenstein's first treatise ( Wittgenstein 1922:4.003 and 6.54) and clearly evident in his last ( Wittgenstein 1958:122,133). Not only are they continuous themes, but their content or target remains unchanged, suggesting that the point of Wittgenstein's remarks was also unchanging;that his purpose in doing philosophy was essentially the same throughout his life. Our central aim in this section is to develop a deeper sense of what that purpose was and show how it was, for Wittgenstein,connected to the concept (and pursuit) of perspicuity.2

Wittgenstein wished his own books could have been dedicated to the greater glory of God. He did not dedicate them in this way, not because of any personal scruples but because he felt that he would have been misunderstood. Wittgenstein bemoaned the scientific age in which he (and we) live, not because he disapproved of science, but, on the contrary, because the scientific outlook on the

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What Is Truth?
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page III
  • New College Lectures and Publications V
  • Contents vii
  • Foreword ix
  • Dedication and Acknowledgments xi
  • Part One - What is Truth? 1
  • 1 - The Implications of a Denial of Truth--Or the Claim to Have It 3
  • 2 - Realism and Anti-Realism 12
  • 3 - Foundations Without Indubitability 29
  • 4 - Anti-Realism in Religion and Morality 38
  • 5 - Constructivism in Psychology 49
  • Part Two - There is No Truth Out There 63
  • 7 - Ontology and Epistemology 65
  • 8 - Hegel and Marx 74
  • 9 - Nietzsche and Ivan Karamazov 79
  • 10 - The Denial of a Real World 89
  • 11 - Post-Modernism 95
  • 12 - Post-Modernism and Self-Identity 105
  • 13 - Interim Conclusion 117
  • Part Three - The Centre Can Hold 121
  • 14 - The Path to Truth 123
  • 15 - The Kotzker 126
  • 16 - Soren Kierkegaard and Subjectivity 132
  • 17 - Wittgenstein and Perspicuity 141
  • 18 - The Sufis 151
  • 19 - Vaclav Havel and Living the Truth 156
  • 20 - Fear and Freedom 164
  • 21 - Bringing the Threads Together 182
  • Notes 190
  • Index 201
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