Wittgenstein's Conception of Philosophy

Wittgenstein's Conception of Philosophy

by K. T. Fann


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781482832280
Publisher: Partridge Singapore
Publication date: 09/04/2015
Pages: 130
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 8.80(h) x 0.40(d)

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Wittgenstein's Conception of Philosophy 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I bought this 30 years ago and never got round to reading it . . . until a couple of weeks ago when I began to become interested in Wittgenstein's work again! Fann offers a very perceptive and articulate reading of Wittgenstein here, covering his early philosophy, as seen in the Tractatus, through to the Philosophical Investigations, the man's last work that he actually intended for publication, though he never quite completed it (and so it had to be published posthumously).

Many have been stymied and confused by the oddity of this philosopher, a man who produced so influential a work in his early years (the Tractatus Logico Philosophicus) and then, throwing it all over and seemingly starting again, went on to offer an even more influential work (the Investigations). In the early part of the twentieth century, Wittgenstein was the patron saint of the logical positivists, who formed the Vienna Circle, and the inspiration for the later linguistic analysts and ordinary language philosophers who came after and replaced the verificationists from Vienna. Moreover he has spawned many latter day Wittgensteinians who religiously invoke the somewhat abstruse ideas of his later work.

Fann manages to show, in clear and simple terms, how his two great works connect and how Wittgenstein's thinking changed and why. In the process he makes the case for a more poetical, almost metaphysical, reading of the man's later philosophy and shows how Wittgenstein's work revolved around an idea of philosophy that, while advocating the shattering of intellectual confusions that manifested as puzzles, was still more than that.

Contrary to a superficial reading of some of Wittgenstein's later, almost polemical, claims about how philosophical problems aren't really problems at all, Fann shows that Wittgenstein may not have meant this as simplistically as it often sounds. Indeed, the man himself did philosophy until the day he died and so it is not unreasonable to assume that he thought he was doing more than working through mere puzzles. The idea of the puzzle, like his ideas of 'language games,' 'forms of life' and 'grammar,' was a good deal deeper and more important than the simple words he used often seem to suggest.

Indeed, I was sorry I left Fann's book unread for 30 years since his insights into Wittgenstein and his philosophy are among the most edifying I've found. Wittgenstein's place as a metaphysician, albeit a new kind, is sketched out here. If you are interested in Wittgenstein and you want to get a better handle on the man's extremely subtle and profound thought, Fann's book is an excellent place to start.