Wittgenstein

I just read a nice little refresher on various topics called the Philosophy Gym. Anyhoo, there was a bit on there about Wittgenstein and his ideas on knowledge and refutations of Locke.

Interesting stuff, but my question is: Should I pick up some of his works or a second party primer on him? For example, I would never recommend anybody read Kant without background and/or somebody ask questions of. Can a dabbler get anything from his works?

From my experience you would benefit from using secondary sources with the big W's primary texts. I was also given this advice by one of my undergrad Profs. I would say that he is easily misunderstood, to the same degree, even, as Kant (and I have read both).

Although I have not yet reached the Wittgenstein sections, Scott Soames' new two-volume set "Philosophical Analysis in the 20th Century", a history of 20th century analytic philosophy, is simply fantastic. A little on the expensive side, but an incredible resource.

I would recommend "Wittgenstien's Vienna". Most commentary places Wittgenstien squarely in the Anglo school of philosophy. This book does a good job of showing his continental background. His later work the "Philosophical Investigations" can be read in a very different light when you consider this continental influence.

H.O. Mounce wrote a good primer to the Tractatus called "Wittgenstien's Tractatus: An introduction". Of course my advice would be stay far far away from the "Tractatus"; that path leads only to folly and madness.

Thanks guys

Actually I think it is preferable to read some of his original work first. It´s an understatement to say Wittgenstein is easily misunderstood, people are still arguing about what he "really" meant.

And I like the Tractatus...

Just to clarify, I wasn't suggesting that you not read the original work first. Just supplement with secondary sources.

Alot of Wittgenstein's work is rooted in Marx's work on empiricism. Read that first and then you will at least have a reference point.

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Wittgensteins writing were based on Frge and Russell. That´s pretty uncontroversial.

Hekster, are you refering to later WIttgenstien by any chance? I think that his european roots may be stronger than many people think. W was involed in the Vienna Circle which was licked to logical postivism, and had marxists followers. Is this what you are refering to. The book I mentioned above is a good look at this influence, however I think it would be overstating the case to recomend Marx as background reading for understanding W.

The Viennia Circle was probably more influenced by Wittgenstein than the other way around.

Dogbert, I agree. I was trying to clarify Hekster's point.

So if should believe what Hekster says, many Positivists are deep down dirty commies? What say you Dogbert?

:-P

"So if should believe what Hekster says, many Positivists are deep down dirty commies? What say you Dogbert?"

Most members of the Vienna Circle were socialists, none of them has been a real conservative. But it should be noted that Lenin was strongly against Ernst Mach´s (Mach was kind of a predecessor of logical positivism) book Analysis of Sensations and led Lenin to write a opinionated response, Materialism and Empiriocriticism. Lenin spend two years tryin gto fight Machs views

I recommended marx because marx says in a couple of essays the main point of Wittgenstein, which is that ideas should come from the ground up. I am not talking about marxism per se, but the work that marx did on empiricism that is actually philosophical (there is some, read his early works and the German Ideologies.).

Did not Wittgenstein repudiate the Logical Positivism of his earlier Tractatus in his later Philosophical Investigations?

If so, would that not mean that a reading of Philosophical Investigations would be a better representation of his views?

-Tom Bombadil

"Did not Wittgenstein repudiate the Logical Positivism of his earlier Tractatus in his later Philosophical Investigations?"

It is more likely that the Tractatus wasn´t that positicistic, although that was the way the Vienna Circle read it. The difference between earlier and later work was IMO mainly the transition from formal to natural languages.

"If so, would that not mean that a reading of Philosophical Investigations would be a better representation of his views?"

A better representat ion of the late Wittgenstein.

So you are saying that Philosophical Investigations repudiates nothing in Tractatus and he never really was a Logical Positivist?

-Tom Bombadil

"So you are saying that Philosophical Investigations repudiates nothing in Tractatus"

Of course it does. I everything he wrote in Tractatus woul have been correct in his opinion, there wouldn´t be any need for another philosophical book ever.

And Wittgenstein has never been a logical positivist.