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Philosophical Investigations 4th Edition

4.4 out of 5 stars 16 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0631205692
ISBN-10: 0631205691
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Editorial Reviews

Review

"enchanting and perceptive, Wall provides an unforgettable understanding of 'Irish Wittgenstein'. It is a discreet jewel." George Steiner, Observer (review of a previous edition). --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Language Notes

Text: English, German (translation)
Original Language: German
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 520 pages
  • Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell; 4 edition (March 16, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0631205691
  • ISBN-13: 978-0631205692
  • Product Dimensions: 1.8 x 6.2 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #945,447 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By James Klagge on October 10, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Just a few comments on this 50th anniversary--supposedly FINAL--edition of the translation:

1) After 50 years Anscombe STILL did not fix the snafu in section 412 where she forgot to translate a parenthetical. She was informed of this in the 1950's!

2) To change the translation of "Lebensform" from "form of life" to "life-form" after all these years is unnecessary and stupid. It rings too much of biology and Star Trek.

3) To change the pagination, by which all references to Part II and inserts to Part I have been made for 50 years, is an unnecessary bother.

4) The translation has NEWLY-INTRODUCED typos in sections 38, 41, 47, and then I stopped counting. How is this an improvement?

Please bring the older editions back in print!
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I can't read this book for more than five minutes without laughing.

It is 246 pages long but amounts to 123 pages text if you don't read the left hand page, written in German, to read instead the right, which is in English.

Where a person can pick up something thick by Kant to follow a mind of angelic brilliance and think he understands what he just read but has a devil of a time paraphrasing it,reading Wittgenstein provides a different reader experience. W repeats and repeats and repeats his basic insight with masterful rephrasing for 123 pages.

Wittgenstein writes a 123 page long Zen koan. Philosophy students learn to get the koan.

For me, the book repeats the idea that what I think I mean in words and grope toward saying in other words and do say in badly expressed words to the other guy will not be absolutely understood because what he hears filters through a really tiny mesh of misunderstood life experience so what gets through in words is different because his understanding of the words is as baseless as mine.

He absolutely asserts there is no absolute way to move an idea from one person to another because the vehicle for movement is language which does not connect to anything absolute. As Sly Stone asserted in Rocky, "Absolutely."

In my imagination I have fancied using this book for dramatic effect on a plane. I see myself reading, smiling sardonically, and writing rude things in the margin. This is something I saw Clint Eastwood do in a movie and I would like to be as cool as Clint. What would probably happen is a sky marshall, alerted by a flight attendant who had a masters in philosophy , would come down the aisle, cuff me, and punch out my lights because he was a post doc in philosophy before he got stuck in the air cop gig. And he really liked Wittgenstein.
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Format: Hardcover
`Philosophical Investigations' by Ludwig Wittgenstein is arguably the most important philosophical work of the 20th century, followed close behind by Wittgenstein's earlier work, the `Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus'. While the earlier work was heavily influenced and endorsed by Bertrand Russell, who was always better known than his Austrian colleague in the world at large, the latter work is a complete departure from the logic based philosophy of Russell and the Logical Positivists, for whom the Tractatus was their bible. Although I have never seen this in any philosophical or historical analysis of Wittgenstein's work, the `Philosophical Investigations' were much closer to the `common sense' style of philosophy of G. E. Moore than to the thinking of Russell. All three were Cambridge dons and it is certain that Wittgenstein and Moore knew one another very well. The only thing which may have prevented Moore's ideas from influencing Wittgenstein is that the latter man was a much deeper thinker whose ideas still shape modern philosophy while Moore has become something of a footnote in the history of philosophy, best known for his common sense defense of the real world and his `naturalistic fallacy' invention in his pretentiously titled `Principia Ethica'.

Wittgenstein and Moore certainly were the joint parents of modern English and American academic philosophical style and doctrines. While Wittgenstein did not publish very much in his lifetime, his influence is widespread and deep due to his long tenure as a teacher at Cambridge, from the early thirties to his death in 1955. As abstruse as Wittgenstein's philosophy may seem at first look, it is really exceptionally applicable to everyday thinking.
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it would probably say something about The Tao. What does the Tao have to do with Wittgenstein? Very little. I bring it up because there are three books of philosophy which I believe everyone should struggle with at some point in their lives. The first is Plato's Republic, for what I hope are obvious reasons. The other two are The Tao Te Ching and Philosophical Investigations. These two books have common threads that are often unremarked on, but perhaps the most pertinant point to this review is the fact that both are often mistaken, by people who should know better, for being much more esoteric than they actually. The Tao Te Ching is in many ways a manual for surviving in tumultuous times, and most of it's advice, stripped of it's poetry, is nothing if not practical.

Similarly, Philosophical Investigations is a user's guide for the urge to philosophize. Throughout the book, Wittgenstein instructs the reader on not what to think, but how to go about thinking. If there is a thesis at all in this book, it is that we must be cautious about how we use language. He goes to great lengths to illustrate why this is, and exactly what sort of nonsense happens "when language goes on holiday."

Unfortunately, it is not a lesson that everyone in the philosophical community learned from Uncle Ludwig. One suspects that the history of philosophy in the 20th century might have gone quite differently if folks like Quine, Lewis, Nagel, Harman, and Ryle had spent a little more time putting together Wittgenstein's puzzles. There is a great deal of confusion in the world of philosophy, a great deal of disagreement, and a great deal of nonsense. Wittgenstein's legacy is that he realized that this was the first problem that must be faced by anyone at all tempted by the questions of philosophy.
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