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Normativity, meaning and philosophy: essays on Wittgenstein


Glock, Hans-Johann (2024). Normativity, meaning and philosophy: essays on Wittgenstein. London: Anthem Press.

Abstract

This is a collection of essays on Wittgenstein and Wittgensteinian themes that appeared between 1996 and 2019. It is divided into three parts, with a common trajectory laid out in a substantial introduction. The first part links meaning, necessity and normativity. It defends and modifies Wittgenstein’s claim that the idea of a ‘grammatical rule’ holds the key to understanding linguistic meaning and its connection to necessary propositions. The second part elucidates the connections between meaning, concepts and thought in Wittgenstein and beyond. It shows how he laid the grounds for a sound understanding of four contested issues—radical interpretation, concepts, nonsense and the scope and limits of animal thought. The third part provides a qualified defence of Wittgenstein’s influential yet extremely controversial idea that philosophical problems are conceptual, and thereby rooted in confusions concerning the meanings of and semantic relations between linguistic expressions. Against irrationalist interpretations, Glock demonstrates that Wittgenstein’s method is argumentative rather than therapeutic.

The essays reconstruct Wittgenstein’s writings in a way that identifies the often cryptic problems and arguments in his work. This sets them apart from a currently popular trend of therapeutic interpretations, as in the ‘New Wittgenstein’ school. By contrast to other critics of such interpretations, Glock acknowledges that they are to a limited extent warranted by some aspects of Wittgenstein’s work, e.g. concerning the notion of nonsense or what he calls ‘the myth of mere method’. At the same time the essays convincingly criticize these aspects and show that they are not presupposed by the more important lessons that Wittgenstein still has to teach.

The collection brings out the abiding relevance of Wittgenstein’s reflections to contemporary debates on central themes such as the importance of normativity, the foundations of meaning and necessity, the nature of concepts, the possibility of animal thought and the proper method of philosophy.

Abstract

This is a collection of essays on Wittgenstein and Wittgensteinian themes that appeared between 1996 and 2019. It is divided into three parts, with a common trajectory laid out in a substantial introduction. The first part links meaning, necessity and normativity. It defends and modifies Wittgenstein’s claim that the idea of a ‘grammatical rule’ holds the key to understanding linguistic meaning and its connection to necessary propositions. The second part elucidates the connections between meaning, concepts and thought in Wittgenstein and beyond. It shows how he laid the grounds for a sound understanding of four contested issues—radical interpretation, concepts, nonsense and the scope and limits of animal thought. The third part provides a qualified defence of Wittgenstein’s influential yet extremely controversial idea that philosophical problems are conceptual, and thereby rooted in confusions concerning the meanings of and semantic relations between linguistic expressions. Against irrationalist interpretations, Glock demonstrates that Wittgenstein’s method is argumentative rather than therapeutic.

The essays reconstruct Wittgenstein’s writings in a way that identifies the often cryptic problems and arguments in his work. This sets them apart from a currently popular trend of therapeutic interpretations, as in the ‘New Wittgenstein’ school. By contrast to other critics of such interpretations, Glock acknowledges that they are to a limited extent warranted by some aspects of Wittgenstein’s work, e.g. concerning the notion of nonsense or what he calls ‘the myth of mere method’. At the same time the essays convincingly criticize these aspects and show that they are not presupposed by the more important lessons that Wittgenstein still has to teach.

The collection brings out the abiding relevance of Wittgenstein’s reflections to contemporary debates on central themes such as the importance of normativity, the foundations of meaning and necessity, the nature of concepts, the possibility of animal thought and the proper method of philosophy.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Monograph
Communities & Collections:06 Faculty of Arts > Institute of Philosophy
Dewey Decimal Classification:700 Arts
Language:English
Date:April 2024
Deposited On:26 Mar 2024 10:25
Last Modified:26 Mar 2024 10:25
Publisher:Anthem Press
Series Name:Anthem studies in Wittgenstein
Number of Pages:284
ISBN:9781839983467
OA Status:Closed
Official URL:https://anthempress.com/normativity-meaning-and-philosophy-essays-on-wittgenstein-hb
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