Wittgenstein and Modern Philosophy

Wittgenstein and Modern Philosophy

Wittgenstein and Modern Philosophy

Wittgenstein and Modern Philosophy

Excerpt

Twentieth-century philosophy, more than that of any other period, has become deeply and sharply conscious of the connection between philosophical problems and language. No one has contributed more to this new awareness than Ludwig Wittgenstein, who died in 1951. To understand the connection between philosophy and language is to understand Wittgenstein; without understanding that, one cannot understand him.And precisely because Wittgenstein holds the key to modern philosophical activity, there is an obvious need for an exposition of his thought.

But however keenly it may be felt, that need is not one that can be easily met. For what Wittgenstein says in his very personal and often aphoristic way cannot simply be restated; it must be interpreted, and interpretations, as often as not, are controversial.

We now seem to have entered what might well be called the Wittgensteinian moment in philosophy. Books about his work are becoming more numerous, and interest in his thought is becoming more widespread. The moment dates from the publication in 1922 of his first book, Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus, followed by the posthumous publication in 1953 of the work of his later years, Philosophical Investigations. In the pages which follow, I have tried to give a general survey of Wittgenstein's thought, considering both the Tractatus and the Philosophical Investigations, and also to give some account of the influence which . . .

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