This Complicated Form of Life: Essays on Wittgenstein

This Complicated Form of Life: Essays on Wittgenstein

This Complicated Form of Life: Essays on Wittgenstein

This Complicated Form of Life: Essays on Wittgenstein

Synopsis

"Wittgenstein has most often been treated as a thinker whose ideas can be discussed independently of any intellectual tradition. The thrust of this work, by a leading exponent of Wittgenstein's thought, is to insist upon - and to demonstrate in detail - the mutual relevance of Wittgenstein's work and the tradition of Western philosophy. Far from overthrowing or stepping outside that tradition, Wittgenstein builds on it, draws from it, and contributes brilliantly to the fruition of certain elements in it. In This Complicated Form of Life, Garver analyzes from several angles Wittgenstein's relationship to Kant, and to what Finch has called Wittgenstein's completion of Kant's revolt against the Cartesian hegemony of epistemology in philosophy. But with respect to the givenness of "this complicated form of life", Wittgenstein appears closer to Aristotle than to Kant. Seeing Wittgenstein within the Western philosophical tradition requires a fresh look at Wittgenstein as well as at the tradition. Among the themes of this work: that the principal metaphysical claim of the Tractatus is that the world is the totality of facts; that grammar is the key to Wittgenstein's later work because philosophy is a form of grammar; and that a certain sort of transcendentality pervades Wittgenstein's thought." Title Summary field provided by Blackwell North America, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Excerpt

In his marvelous essay, "Tradition and the Individual Talent," T. S. Eliot says that "no poet, no artist of any art, has his complete meaning alone." It is not meaning in any narrow linguistic sense that Eliot has in mind; he means that which makes an artifact into a work of art, that which gives it its significance and its artistic value. That is what no artist can determine alone. Eliot dodges the trap of too narrow a definition by avoiding any further specification. I take him to mean not merely that meaning and significance are determined in part by one's culture, but also that they depend in part on the long historical tradition of one's discipline, which itself undergoes changes through innovative work; so there can be no brilliant achievement that is unconnected to cultural and historical context.

Ludwig Wittgenstein has often been treated as an exception. the thrust of these essays is to insist—in the face of persistent neglect and denial—on the mutal relevance of Wittgenstein's work and the tradition of Western philosophy. Wittgenstein does not "overthrow" the tradition. He builds on it, draws from it, and contributes brilliantly to the fruition of certain elements in it. Particular attention is paid here to Kant, and to what Roy Finch calls Wittgenstein's completion of Kant's revolt against the Cartesian hegemony of epistemology in philosophy. Also very Kantian is the dualism that seems unavoidable in a perspective or Weltanschauung that contains both facts and meanings, since meanings always somehow transcend the plain facts that convey them and that they convey. With respect to the givenness of language-games and of . . .

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