Please note: there may be some adjustments to the teaching arrangements published in the course catalogue for 2020-21. Given current circumstances related to the Covid-19 pandemic it is anticipated that some usual arrangements for teaching on campus will be modified to ensure the safety and wellbeing of students and staff on campus; further adjustments may also be necessary, or beneficial, during the course of the academic year as national requirements relating to management of the pandemic are revised.

Wittgenstein PHIL5085

  • Academic Session: 2022-23
  • School: School of Humanities
  • Credits: 20
  • Level: Level 5 (SCQF level 11)
  • Typically Offered: Semester 2
  • Available to Visiting Students: Yes
  • Available to Erasmus Students: Yes

Short Description

This course discusses Wittgenstein's later philosophy, as published in the Philosophical Investigations. Issues include Wittgenstein's views on the philosophy of language, philosophical psychology, and the underpinnings of Classical Empiricism.


Two lectures per week for 9 weeks, plus four seminars. The course may not run every year. Options running this year are available on MyCampus.

Requirements of Entry

Standard entry to Masters at College level

Excluded Courses





Two essays, equally weighted, each with a word limit of 2500 words.

Course Aims

The course aims to:


■ Explore Wittgenstein's later reflections on how it is that the world may find representation in our language and thought.

■ Assess the significance of Wittgenstein's 'Philosophical Investigations' for the discipline of Philosophy

■ Develop in depth awareness of Wittgenstein's thinking in a range of significant areas

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

By the end of the course, students should be able to:

■ Analyse and assess Wittgenstein's later views on language, meaning, and the nature of philosophy as expounded in the Philosophical Investigations.

■ Give an exposition and account for the significance of Wittgenstein's concern with 'the Augustinian Theory of Language'.

■ Explain the concern with 'ostensive definition' in the Philosophical Investigations.

■ Give an account and assessment of Wittgenstein's discussions of how images and pictures are capable of representing and his criticisms of certain philosophical conceptions of how this might be achieved.

■ Critically explain his concern with meaning and understanding in the Philosophical Investigations, in particular his concern to deny that we might understand these notions in terms of processes or events in the mind or brain.

■ Give an overview and assessment of the philosophical method that the Philosophical Investigations espouses.


Assessment for this course is at Masters Level.

Minimum Requirement for Award of Credits

Students must submit at least 75% by weight of the components (including examinations) of the course's summative assessment.