Wittgenstein: Philosophy, Postmodernism, Pedagogy

By Michael Peters; James Marshall | Go to book overview
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10
Philosophy as Pedagogy: Wittgenstein's Styles of Thinking

I ought to be no more than a mirror, in which my reader can see his own thinking with all its deformities so that, helped in this way, he can put it right.

-- Wittgenstein, 1980a, p.18e

How much we are doing is changing the style of thinking and how much I'm doing is changing the style of thinking and how much I'm doing is persuading people to change their style of thinking.

-- Wittgenstein, 1967, p. 28

In this chapter we maintain that Wittgenstein's work may be given, broadly speaking, a cultural and literary reading that focuses upon his styles. 1 Such a reading legitimates both the importance of Wittgenstein, the person, and the significance of his (auto)biography in a way that analytic philosophers might find hard to accept. 2 In particular, we maintain the question of style is a question inseparable from the reality of his life and the corpus of his work; indeed, we maintain further that Wittgenstein himself actively thought this to be the case and that this belief is shown in his work. This reading also throws into relief questions concerning his appropriation as a philosopher who had something to contribute to education: Wittgenstein not as a philosopher who provides a method for analyzing educational concepts but rather as one who approaches philosophical questions from a pedagogical point of view. One might say, in line with this interpretation, that Wittgenstein's style of doing philosophy is pedagogical. We believe, with many others who have made the

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