Tag Archives: Wittgenstein

A Look at Unfashionable Philosophy

“Wittgenstein and Barfield disagree on a number of important matters; Barfield wrote that Wittgenstein never attempted historical analysis, and was therefore missing the proper foundation for evaluating language. Curiously, though, they also seem to share some significant ground. Barfield’s understanding of metaphor seems to mirror some of the claims that Wittgenstein makes about ostensive definition, though Barfield would claim that a poet (or, to use Wittgenstein’s language, one who has been inducted into the game of poetry) is able to glean a deeper insight from poetry than Wittgenstein would be willing to allow.”

A language to open the world to us

“…this change from closed to open language is also a passage from a closed to an open world, for our world — the concrete world in which we live — does not come to us as something independent of language; we do not construct a language independently and then add it on to experience; our world transpires within language. Consequently, the essential openness of the language that we have to use for the purposes of life means that the world of our experience is correspondingly open. And that the world should lie open to us is the real and concrete meaning of freedom to which we aspire.” — William Barrett, writing about Wittgenstein, in The Illusion of Technique

‘True mysticism’

“The mystical” is the sheer fact that the world exists, that there is anything at all rather than nothing. This is the cosmological awe at the mystery of existence. — William Barrett, in The Illusion of Technique. Barrett is summarizing a point made by Wittgenstein.

Wittgenstein and Dilthey: Two unrelated philosophical quotes

I know little about Ludwig Wittgenstein, and even less about Wilhelm Dilthey, but both have me intrigued lately.

Wittgenstein, in the latter half of his career, offered this advice to philosophers who want to understand how words are used:

“Don’t think but look!”

“…when investigating meaning, the philosopher must ‘look and see’ the variety of uses to which the word is put.” — Anat Biletzki and Anat Matar in their article on Wittgenstein in the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy

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Dilthey drew a distinction between natural science and (what is sometimes called) human science with this quote:

“We explain nature, humans we must understand.”

Read a detailed article on Dilthey here.