Wittgenstein's Art of Investigation

Wittgenstein's Art of Investigation

Wittgenstein's Art of Investigation

Wittgenstein's Art of Investigation

Synopsis

Wittgenstein's Art of Investigation is one of the first to focus on and provide an original and detailed analysis of Wittgenstein's grammatical investigations. Beth Sarkey offers us new insight into the historical context and influences on method which will help students understand the intricacies and depth of his work.

Excerpt

Wittgenstein’s grammatical investigation

Wittgenstein seizes upon the philosophical and pedagogical methods of others for his work of philosophical clarification. Like Kraus, his method of grammatical investigation is a form of philosophical inquiry and expression which uses language as both the subject of analysis and the tool of that analysis. His method is influenced not only by the practice of grammatical investigation within Viennese culture but also by the pedagogical insights and experiences which he gains during his years as an elementary school teacher. He acquires a profound understanding of language-acquisition and language-use, as well as insight into complex and diverse forms of investigation. His later work presents a philosophical and pedagogical method which, while rooted in this rich Austrian cultural and pedagogical tradition, also transforms it for the purpose of philosophical clarification.

Wittgenstein describes and demonstrates his grammatical method throughout his manuscripts, typescripts, lectures, conversations, correspondence and posthumous publications. His remarks range from general claims about philosophy to the description and demonstration of specific grammatical techniques. He constantly draws our attention not only to the form of his words but also to the use made of his form of words. in the preface to the Investigations, for example, Wittgenstein provides a detailed description of the composition of his text. the preface is often read as an acknowledgement of the difficulties, shortcomings or weaknesses of his writings. What are identified as the weaknesses of the text are in fact the strengths of his philosophical and pedagogical method. in describing the composition of his text (or the form of his words) Wittgenstein explicitly raises methodological issues (concerning the use made of his form of words). in so doing, he takes responsibility for the text in the form in which we now find it. the

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