In this provocatively compelling new book, Michael Luntley offers a revolutionary reading of the opening section of Wittgenstein’s Philosophical Investigations Critically engages with the most recent exegetical literature on Wittgenstein and other state-of-the-art philosophical work Encourages the re-incorporation of Wittgenstein studies into the mainstream philosophical conversation Has profound consequences for how we go on to read the rest of Wittgenstein’s major work Makes a significant contribution not only to the literature on Wittgenstein, but also to studies in philosophy of language
Preface ix Introduction xiii I.1 Things Unravel – A Snapshot xiii I.2 Four Key Points xv I.3 Seeing the Text Aright xvii I.4 Opening Methodological Remarks xxiii I.5 Outline xxviii 1 Beginning with §1 1 1.1 Starting with Augustine 1 1.2 Three Things in Section 1 4 1.3 Names are Fundamental 9 1.4 The Wide Angle View 15 1.5 From the Augustinian Conception to Language Games 18 2 Ostensive Definition: The Shape of the Argument 35 2.1 Introduction 35 2.2 Ostension and Ostensive Definition 37 2.3 Two Issues: Metaphysical and Developmental 44 2.4 Substantive and Commonplace Roles for Ostension 47 2.5 Wittgenstein’s Use of “Ostensive Definition” 57 2.6 Wittgenstein on Learning 66 2.7 Ostensive Definition 74 3 Linguistic Regularity, Grammar and Autonomy 88 3.1 Introduction 88 3.2 Regularity and Grammar – Explanations and Travelogs 89 3.3 Norms, Fitness, Going Up the Garden Path 95 3.4 Wittgenstein’s Idealism 98 3.5 Platitudes – From Bold to Modest Realism 101 3.6 Wittgenstein’s Argument 108 3.7 Demonstrative Thoughts 114 3.8 Closing “Oughts” 116 4 Explanations 125 4.1 Introduction 125 4.2 Three Claims in §109 127 4.3 Philosophy can Offer No Explanations 132 4.4 Insightful Descriptions 143 4.5 The Sense of Fit 152 Appendix What Happens to the Private Language Argument? 159 Bibliography 170 Index 000
“Despite apparently underplaying the importance of the Tractatusin the genesis of the later philosophy, though, Luntley’s book is a very valuable challenge to any complacency we may feel about how to interpret the opening paragraphs of Wittgenstein’s great unfinished masterpiece.” (Philosophical Quarterly, Advanced Access, 18 December 2016)
Michael Luntley is Professor of Philosophy at the University of Warwick. He is the author of Wittgenstein: Meaning and Judgment (Blackwell, 2003) and Contemporary Philosophy of Thought (Blackwell, 1999) and has published dozens of articles in peer-reviewed journals, including Mind & Language, Analysis, and Philosophical Quarterly.
In this compelling new book, Michael Luntley offers a revolutionary interpretation of the opening section of Wittgenstein’s Philosophical Investigations. Luntley’s reading challenges the prevailing view that there is a grand sweep to Wittgenstein’s enterprise and marks a major departure from standard arguments about the nature of language, meaning, ostensive definition, and normativity. Opening Investigations introduces an improvisational conception of language use and posits that understanding language is more akin to theopen-endedness of aesthetic judgment. In defense of his argument, Luntley provides close readings of the primary text alongside critical engagement with the most recent literature on Wittgenstein and other contemporary philosophical work. Written in accessible and engaging prose, Opening Investigations makes a powerful case for re-integrating Wittgenstein studies into contemporary philosophical debates. This book is sure to provoke lively debate among Wittgenstein scholars and will be of great interest to anyone studying Wittgenstein’s work.
“Michael Luntley’s provocative study of Philosophical Investigations challenges some prevalent basic assumptions concerning the orientation provided by the work’s opening sections. It will profit anyone with an interest in Wittgenstein.”Adrian Moore, University of Oxford “An original, radical, and iconoclastic reading of the Philosophical Investigations.”David Stern, University of Iowa
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