Wittgenstein's Later Philosophy

By Oswald Hanfling

Subjects: Philosophy
Series: SUNY series in Logic and Language
Paperback : 9780791400715, 210 pages, June 1989
Hardcover : 9780791400708, 210 pages, June 1989

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Table of contents


List of Abbreviations

1. Introduction

2. The Tractatus and the 'Essence of Human Language'


A. The correlation theory of meaning
B. Atomism and 'the substance of the world'
C. Truth-functions and 'the essence of language'
D. What cannot be said


3. Meaning and Use


A. The Tractatus versus the later philosophy
B. Meaning and use
C. 'What we say' and the problems of philosophy


4. 'Explanations Come to an End'


A. Ostensive explanation: the step 'outside language'
B. Verbal explanation: 'seeing what is common'
C. Verbal explanation: a mathematical instruction
D. Mental explanation: 'the myth of mental processes'


5. Language and the Privacy of Experience


A. The 'private language' argument
B. The meaning of 'private'
C. 'How do words refer to sensations?'
D. 'In what sense are my sensations private?'
E. The double meaning theory
F. 'Only of a living human being . ..'
G. Inventing a name for a sensation
H. Imagining a use for the sign 'S'
I. The non-private context
J. Criteria and the problem of 'other minds'


6. Language-games and Objectivity


A. Realism and its alternatives
B. Pluralism
C. The limits of pluralism
D. Convention, invention and discovery
E. Conventionalism and 'the given'
F. Rules, games, and language-games
G. Conclusion


7. Knowledge, Certainty and Doubt


A. Do I know I am sitting in a chair?
B. The 'peculiar logical role' of Moore's propositions
C. Knowledge, doubt and action
D. Knowing what we mean
E. 'Should I say "I believe in physics"?'


8. Conclusion

Notes and References



"Philosophy," wrote Wittgenstein, "simply puts everything before us, and neither explains nor deduces anything. "

Hanfling takes seriously Wittgenstein's declaration of what he was doing, emphasizing Wittgenstein's rejection of theory and explanation in favor of 'description alone. ' He demonstrates the importance of Wittgenstein's philosophy to long-standing problems about language, knowledge, the mind, and philosophy itself. The book exposes common misunderstandings about Wittgenstein, and examines in detail the celebrated 'private language' argument.

Oswald Hanfling is Reader in Philosophy at the Open University and has held appointments at the universities of Kent and Salzburg. He is the author of Logical Positivism and the Quest for Meaning.