Some regard Wittgenstein as the greatest philosopher of the twentieth century. His early work - the Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus - is fascinating and brilliant in many ways, but his later work - the Philosophical Investigations - involves a completely new and radical approach to philosophical questions. There will be a brief exposition of his earlier work, but only to set the context for a study of the most famous parts of the Investigations; these include Wittgenstein's way with questions in the philosophy of language, philosophy of mind, and the question of what philosophy is, what it achieves. Despite his fame, the impact of the later Wittgenstein on contemporary philosophy is at best moot, and students will be invited to ponder the question of why this is; are the messages too radical, or too vague, or too hard to map on to more conventional philosophy, or ultimately confused, or what?
Course lecturer: Dr Gary Kemp
Lecture hour & venue: see Honours timetable
Teaching resources for this course will be made available on the Philosophy Moodle site.
Intended learning outcomes:
After this course, students should be able to:
- understand, state, and critically assess the main differences between the later Wittgenstein and orthodox philosophy of language represented by his earlier view;
- understand, state, and critically assess the significance of Wittgenstein's discussion of language games and forms of life;
- understand, state, and critically assess such ideas as that of family resemblance, and to specify their roles and importance for Wittgenstein's philosophy;
- understand, state, and critically assess Wittgenstein's discussion of rule-following;
- understand, state, and critically assess Wittgenstein's remarks on private language;
- understand, state, and critically assess the Wittgenstein's remarks on aspect-perception.