WITTGENSTEIN AND 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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Publication information: Book title: What Is Truth?. Contributors: Peter Vardy - Author. Publisher: University of New South Wales Press. Place of publication: Sydney, N.S.W.. Publication year: 1999. Page number: 141.
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