Wittgenstein: Understanding and Meaning: Volume 1 of an Analytical Commentary on the Philosophical Investigations, Part I: Essays / Edition 2

Paperback (Print)
Buy New
Buy New from BN.com
Used and New from Other Sellers
Used and New from Other Sellers
from $31.19
Usually ships in 1-2 business days
(Save 27%)
Other sellers (Paperback)
  • All (8) from $31.19   
  • New (6) from $31.19   
  • Used (2) from $39.28   


Published to widespread acclaim between 1980 and 1996, the monumental four volume Analytical Commetary on the Philosophical Investigations has become the definitive reference work on Wittgenstein's masterpiece. This revised edition of the first volume, Wittgenstein: Understanding and Meaning, which itself comprises two parts (Essays and Exegesis §§1-184), takes into account much material that was unavailable when the first edition was written. Following G. P. Baker's death in 2002, P. M. S. Hacker has thoroughly revised both parts, rewriting many sections completely and often proposing fresh interpretations. Part I: Essays now includes two new essays: 'Meaning and Use' and 'The Recantation of a Metaphysician', and most of the previous essays have been rewritten and expanded. Part II: Exegesis §§1-184 has been exhaustively reworked in the light of the electronic publication of Wittgenstein's Nachlass. These revisions will ensure that this remains the essential reference work on the Philosophical Investigations for the foreseeable future.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"The essays...are scholarly, and profound, and also acute, confident, and full of good sense and judgment" (Colin Radford, Mind)

"This book is a landmark in Wittgenstein studies, raising to a new level the criteria for an adequate understanding of Wittgenstein." (Philosophical Studies)

"For someone who wants to understand, point for point and in detail, how Wittgenstein's later philosophy upsets the philosophies of Russell, Frege and the Tractatus, this is the book to read." (Philosophical Books)

"[The authors'] interpretive essays develop with care, subtlety, and in considerable detail...they have performed a great service in presenting the programmatic views clearly, carefully and dispassionately."
—James Bogen

"Wittgenstein: Meaning and Understanding is a sort of compendium which I wouldn’t want to do without. As a matter of fact, I cannot do without it, both in the sense that I need it to get all kinds of historical or philological information, as well as philosophical stimulation, and in the sense that I have become addicted to the book's magisterial way of bringing out and dealing with the difficulties of Wittgenstein’s masterpiece."
—Joachim Schulte, University of Bielefeld

Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781405199247
  • Publisher: Wiley
  • Publication date: 12/21/2009
  • Edition description: Revised
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 424
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

G.P.Baker was a Fellow of St John’s College, Oxford from 1967 until his death in 2002. He is the co-author with P.M.S. Hacker of the first two volumes of the four-volume Analytical Commentary on the Philosophical Investigations (Blackwell, 1980–96), author of Wittgenstein, Frege and the Vienna Circle (Blackwell, 1988) and with Katherine Morris of Descartes’ Dualism (1996). He also wrote numerous articles on Wittgenstein, Frege, Russell, Waismann and Descartes.

P.M.S. Hacker is the leading authority on the philosophy of Wittgenstein. He is author of the four-volume Analytical Commentary on the Philosophical Investigations, the first two volumes co-authored with G.P. Baker (Blackwell, 1980–96) and of Wittgenstein’s Place in Twentieth-century Analytic Philosophy (Blackwell, 1996). His other previous works include The Philosophical Foundations of Neuroscience (Blackwell, 2003) and History of Cognitive Neuroscience (Wiley-Blackwell, 2008), both co-authored with M.R. Bennett. Most recently he has published Human Nature: The Categorical Framework (Blackwell, 2007), the first volume of a trilogy on human nature.Together with Joachim Schulte, he has produced the 4th edition and extensively revised translation of Wittgenstein’s Philosophical Investigations (Wiley-Blackwell, forthcoming 2009).

Read More Show Less

Table of Contents

Acknowledgements xi

Introduction to Part I: Essays xiii

Note to the paperback edition 2009 xix

Abbreviations xx

I The Augustinian conception of language (§1) 1

1 Augustine's picture 1

2 The Augustinian family 4

a word-meaning 4

b correlating words with meanings 6

c ostensive explanation 7

d metapsychological corollaries 9

e sentence-meaning 11

3 Moving off in new directions 14

4 Frege 19

5 Russell 23

6 The Tractatus 26

II Explanation (§6) 29

1 Training, teaching and explaining 29

2 Explanation and meaning 33

3 Explanation and grammar 35

4 Explanation and understanding 39

III The language-game method (§7) 45

1 The emergence of the game analogy 45

2 An intermediate phase: comparisons with invented calculi 54

3 The emergence of the language-game method 57

4 Invented language-games 61

5 Natural language-games 63

IV Descriptions and the uses of sentences (§18) 65

1 Flying in the face of the facts 65

2 Sentences as descriptions of facts: surface-grammatical paraphrase 67

3 Sentences as descriptions: depth-grammatical analysis and descriptive contents 70

4 Sentences as instruments 73

5 Assertions, questions, commands make contact in language 76

V Ostensive definition and its ramifications (§28) 81

1 Connecting language and reality 81

2 The range and limits of ostensive explanations 83

3 The normativity of ostensive definition 88

4 Samples 92

5 Misunderstandings resolved 97

6 Samples and simples 103

VI Indexicals (§39) 107

VII Logically proper names (§39) 113

1 Russell 113

2 The Tractatus 117

3 The criticisms of the Investigations: assailing the motivation 120

4 The criticisms of the Investigations: real proper names and simple names 124

VIII Meaning and use (§43) 129

1 The concept of meaning 129

2 Setting the stage 136

3 Wittgenstein: meaning and its internal relations 144

4 Qualifications 152

IX Contextual dicta and contextual principles (§50) 159

1 The problems of a principle 159

2 Frege 164

3 The Tractatus 170

4 After the Tractatus 171

5 Compositional theories of meaning 173

6 Computational theories of understanding 181

X The standard metre (§50) 189

1 The rudiments of measurement 189

2 The standard metre and canonical samples 192

3 Fixing the reference or explaining the meaning? 193

4 Defusing paradoxes 197

XI Family resemblance (§65) 201

1 Background: definition, logical constituents and analysis 201

2 Family resemblance: precursors and anticipations 208

3 Family resemblance: a minimalist interpretation 212

4 Sapping the defences of orthodoxy 216

5 Problems about family-resemblance concepts 219

6 Psychological concepts 222

7 Formal concepts 224

XII Proper names (§79) 227

1 Stage-setting 227

2 Frege and Russell: simple abbreviation theories 230

3 Cluster theories of proper names 233

4 Some general principles 235

5 Some critical consequences 238

6 The significance of proper names 239

7 Proper names and meaning 244

XIII Turning the inquiry round: the recantation of a metaphysician (§89) 251

1 Reorienting the investigation 251

2 The sublime vision 253

3 Diagnosis: projecting the mode of representation on to what is represented 256

4 Idealizing the prototype 259

5 Misunderstanding the role of the Ideal 263

6 Turning the inquiry round 266

XIV Philosophy (§109) 271

1 A revolution in philosophy 271

2 The sources of philosophical problems 277

3 The goals of philosophy: conceptual geography and intellectual therapy 284

4 The difficulty of philosophy 287

5 The methods of philosophy 290

6 Negative corollaries 294

7 Misunderstandings 299

8 Retrospect: the Tractatus and the Investigations 303

XV Surveyability and surveyable representations (§122) 307

1 Surveyability 307

2 Precursors: Hertz, Boltzmann, Ernst, Goethe, Spengler 311

3 The morphological method and the difficulty of surveying grammar 320

4 Surveyable representations 326

XVI Truth and the general propositional form (§134) 335

1 The demands of the picture theory 335

2 'That's the way the cookie crumbles' 340

3 '...do we have a single concept of proposition?' (PG 112) 344

4 '...the use of the words "true" and "false" ... belongs to our concept "proposition" but does not fit it...' (PI §136) 346

5 Truth, correspondence and multi-valued logic 349

XVII Understanding and ability (§143) 357

1 The place of the education of understanding in the Investigations 357

2 Meaning and understanding as the soul of signs 359

3 Categorial misconceptions of understanding 362

4 Categorial clarification 367

a Understanding is not an experience 368

b Understanding is not a process 369

c Understanding is not a mental state 371

d Understanding is neither a dispositional state of the brain nor a disposition 373

5 Powers and abilities 375

6 Understanding and ability 380

Index 387

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star


4 Star


3 Star


2 Star


1 Star


Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation


  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

    If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
    Why is this product inappropriate?
    Comments (optional)