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Wittgenstein on Mind and Language Hardcover – January 19, 1995

3 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0195080001 ISBN-10: 0195080009 Edition: 1st

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Editorial Reviews

Review


"A useful study....Clearly written and persuasively argued, this book is highly recommended."--Choice


"An original and fascinating account of the way in which Wittgenstein worked and of the development of his ideas. David Stern's mastery of the unpublished writings has made it possible for him to identify hitherto neglected connections of thought."--David Pears, Oxford University


"A revolution has been taking place in Wittgenstein studies in the last several years in that the significance of his notebooks and other previously unpublished primary materials for the understanding of his philosophy has slowly been realized and acted on. David Stern is keenly aware of this development, and his book is an important step in implementing it. As a consequence, no matter whether one ultimately agrees with his interpretations, one receives from his book a much more vivid picture of how Wittgenstein's philosophical mind worked than from virtually and other exposition of Wittgenstein's thought."--Jaakko Hintikka, Boston University


"I know of no other work that better combines both philosophical and literary techniques to the analysis of Wittgenstein's writings."--Robert Fogelin, Dartmouth College


"This book is a lucid and engaging account of Wittgenstein's thought....Stern's secrets are diligence, clarity, and impeccable scholarship....Stern gives you a book to make one of the most compelling and unique philosophers your own."--The Toronto Globe and Mail


About the Author

David G. Stern is at University of California, Berkeley.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press; 1 edition (January 19, 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0195080009
  • ISBN-13: 978-0195080001
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 0.9 x 9.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #5,219,131 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Scott O'Reilly on April 10, 2001
Format: Paperback
Ludwig Wittgenstein is considered by many to be the most important philosopher of the 20th century. He is also one of the most difficult. David G. Stern's "Wittgenstein on Mind and Language" is one of the very best books anyone - novice or expert -- could consult regarding Wittgenstein's thought. Wittgenstein was concerned, among other things, with the relationship between language and the world, subjectivity and the empirical, and what we can talk about sensibly and what we "must pass over in silence." Stern's book is one of the most accessible secondary sources for helping one to get a foothold with Wittgenstein's philosophy. Stern does a masterful job in giving the reader "the big picture" of what Wittgenstein was trying to get across, while also exploring the most essential details of his thought. Stern's text is interspersed with quotations from Wittgenstein's published works, but also from his unpublished notes, notes from his students, and other sources, which really help shed light on Wittgenstein philosophy. Stern includes a modest amount of biographical material, but his real focus is illuminating Wittgenstein's revolutionary way of looking at traditional philosophical problems. This book, along with Steve Toulmin's "Wittgenstein's Vienna" are two of the very best places to start with Wittgenstein's thought, though experts will also find much of interest in both books. Stern's book is best for those primarily concerned with Wittgenstein's philosophy, while Toulmin's book is equally concerned with biography as it is with philosophy, and hence might appeal to those who want the least abstract introduction to Wittgenstein.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By D. S. Heersink on June 20, 2005
Format: Paperback
Stern is an articulate and lucid author, wringing out the psychological and linguistic principles of Wittgenstein's often difficult, tortuous, and quixotic thought. Let's face it: "The Philosophical Investigations" and "Tractatus" are not the easist reads -- even for the professional. Stern compares and contrasts Wittgensteins early and later thought, honing in on how his later thought reversed some of his earlier thinking. And, unlike so many other Wittgenstein interpreters, Stern has researched the philosopher's massive, and oftentimes confusing, unpublished notebooks, manuscripts, typescripts, and diaries, in addition to the usual published primary texts, to present a coherent, logical, and detailed analysis of Wittgenstein's thought. Stern is to be congratulated for his polished, clear, and unambiguous writing, a feat not often accomplished by philosophers. Highly recommended for both novices and scholars.
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Format: Paperback
David Stern is a professor of Philosophy at the University of Iowa; he has also written Wittgenstein's Philosophical Investigations: An Introduction.

He wrote in the Introduction to this 1995 book, "This book is an exposition of Wittgenstein's early conception of the nature of representation and how his later revision and criticism of that work led to a radically different way of looking at mind and language. Most interpretations of the development of Wittgenstein's philosophy focus on the Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus... the Philosophical Investigations... and the literature that has grown up around these books. In contrast, my reading of his philosophy of mind and language begins from the initial articulation of his thoughts in his first drafts, conversations, and lectures and the process of revision that led to the published works."

He points out, "Wittgenstein developed the philosophical implications of the picture theory as the basis for a theory about all meaningful discourse, drawing not on physics, but on Frege's and Russell's pioneering work in formal logic and the foundations of mathematics. In fact, Russell's lectures on logical atomism, delivered in 1918, but based on ideas he had learned from Wittgenstein in 1913-1914, make it clear that they had already discussed such a view about the nature of language before they were separated by the war." (Pg.
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