By Stephen Mulhall

ISBN-10: 0199208549

ISBN-13: 9780199208548

Stephen Mulhall bargains a brand new method of reading the most recognized and contested texts in smooth philosophy: feedback on "private language" in Wittgenstein's Philosophical Investigations. He sheds new mild on a vital controversy pertaining to Wittgenstein's early paintings by means of displaying its relevance to a formal realizing of the later work.

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Extra info for Wittgenstein's Private Language: Grammar, Nonsense and Imagination in Philosophical Investigations, §§ 243-315

Sample text

How am I filled with pity for this man? How does it come out what the object of my pity is? ) (PI, §§–) When Wittgenstein’s child hurts himself and cries, his elders talk to him and teach him exclamations and words; they do not do what any ordinary grown-up would surely do in such a situation, and that, Wittgenstein implies, is just as significant in constituting our sense of the nature of pain (by helping to constitute our sense that pain is not just a fact about another to be noted, but a condition to be acknowledged)—namely, comfort the child, offer him some form of sympathetic response (perhaps pity, perhaps encouragement) to the fact that he is in pain.

Wittgenstein’s impatience is thus an attempt to clear the way for a more patient evaluation of what knowing another’s pain actually, normally means—for a proper acknowledgement of our answerability to another’s suffering. According to Cavell, however, the concept of acknowledgement brings out essential aspects of our use of the concept of knowledge  ∼ Wittgenstein’s Cloud in first-person as well as (second- and) third-person cases; and here we return directly to the second of the three uses of ‘I know’ that he offers to Malcolm.

The point here is not so much that Wittgenstein’s response returns us to certain articulations of grammar—as we noted earlier, both resolute and substantial readings surely require such moments of normativity. What should disturb the resolute reader, rather, is the way in which Wittgenstein prepares that return. For here, he seems essentially uninterested in the possibility of any unclarity or ambiguity in what his interlocutor might mean by his answer to the opening question; he does not ask himself, and thereby invite us to ask ourselves, what the interlocutor might be trying to get at through his invocation of a cognitive disparity between the first-person and third-person cases.

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Wittgenstein's Private Language: Grammar, Nonsense and Imagination in Philosophical Investigations, §§ 243-315 by Stephen Mulhall

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