- Hardcover: 321 pages
- Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell; 4 edition (October 12, 2009)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1405159286
- ISBN-13: 978-1405159289
- Product Dimensions: 6.2 x 1.5 x 9.1 inches
- Shipping Weight: 2.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 67 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #53,334 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Philosophical Investigations 4th Edition
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From the Back Cover
Immediately upon its posthumous publication in 1953, Ludwig Wittgenstein's Philosophical Investigations was hailed as a masterpiece, and the ensuing years have confirmed this initial assessment. Today it is widely acknowledged to be the single most important philosophical work of the twentieth century.
In this definitive new en face German-English edition, Wittgenstein experts Peter Hacker and Joachim Schulte have incorporated significant editorial changes to earlier editions of Philosophical Investigations in order to reflect more closely Wittgenstein's original intentions. Notable revisions include the placement of Wittgenstein's notes – Randbemerkungen – into their designated positions in the text, some corrections to the originally published German text, and the numbering of all the remarks in what was Part 2 and is now named Philosophy of Psychology – A Fragment. Extensive modifications and corrections have also been made to G. E. M. Anscombe's original English translation. Detailed editorial endnotes have been added to illuminate difficult translation decisions and to identify references and allusions in Wittgenstein's original text.
About the Author
Peter Hacker is the author of the four-volume Analytical Commentary on the Philosophical Investigations (Blackwell, 1980-96) the first two volumes co-authored with G. P. Baker (Second Editions, 2003, 2009) and of Wittgenstein’s Place in Twentieth-century Analytic Philosophy (Blackwell, 1996). He has also written extensively on philosophy of mind, including Philosophical Foundations of Neuroscience (Blackwell, 2003) and History of Cognitive Neuroscience (Wiley-Blackwell, 2008), co-authored with M. R. Bennett, and Human Nature: The Categorial Framework (Blackwell, 2007), the first volume of a trilogy on human nature.
Joachim Schulte edited the authoritative critical-genetic edition of Wittgenstein’s Philosophische Untersuchungen (2001). He is author of Wittgenstein: An Introduction (1989), Chor und Gesetz: Wittgenstein im Kontext (1990), Experience and Expression: Wittgenstein’s Philosophy of Psychology (1993), and of many dozens of philosophical papers.
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Top customer reviews
Wittgenstein's problem, according to me, is that he didn't understand one "language game" sufficiently--viz., the use of figurative language, metaphors and similes. These can be "true" but they have no "truth function" When T.S. Eliot writes that the sky resembles "a patient etherized upon a table" something is being communicated but it's as nonsensical as saying "the moon is made of green cheese".
Wittgenstein told F.R. Leavis to "give up literary criticism", but I'm sorry Wittgenstein didn't take a crack at writing some of the stuff.
Alas, W's taste in literature was rebarbative. As "mystery fiction", he liked to read BLACK MASK and other American pulp junk, when he could have been enjoying the productions of the Golden Age of British whodunits. And BROTHERS KARAMAZOV, the final monster screed of religious fanatic Dostoevsky, was supposedly his favorite novel.
Literature is the one language game Wittgenstein should have studied more seriously.
First, this is a scholarly edition. It presents the German text and the English translation on facing pages. The copy text, if you will, for the translation is that of G.E.M. Anscombe, but it is revised by P.M.S. Hacker and Joachim Schulte. Wittgensteinians study LW’s writings word by word, and some of the translation choices have been disputed. The book also contains endnotes and a substantial index. Considering the accumulated elements of apparatus and the density of the text, the price is a bargain. This is, after all, one of the most important books of 20thc philosophy.
It is, of course, quite skeptical of the philosophic enterprise. LW believed that the ‘problems’ of philosophy were essentially self-created and result from the constraints posed by language. That which we cannot speak of, LW argued, was what was truly important. The rest was a series of muddles. The book consists of two parts, the second renamed “Philosophy of Psychology – A Fragment.” The first consists (crudely speaking) of an extensive set of observations on language and communication, the second on perception and behavior. These observations are stated with great lucidity though we can feel the weight of reflection that stands behind them. We can also feel the weight of previous philosophic opinion, though LW is very sparing in his mention of other philosophers. His immediate predecessors are mentioned and he cites both Plato and Augustine (quoting the latter in Latin). He mentions William James, but on his predecessors he tends to remain silent. When he reflects on causality, e.g., he does not engage directly with Hume, though it is clear that Hume is in his thoughts. He anticipates much contemporary neuroscience, in, e.g., his discussion of the problems of ‘consciousness’, but he does not provide extensive references.
At a number of points (a very small number of points) he states his aims and his conclusions with great specificity:
“Philosophy is a struggle against the bewitchment of our understanding by the resources of our language” (#109).
“What I want to teach is: to pass from unobvious nonsense to obvious nonsense” (#464).
“A whole cloud of philosophy condenses into a drop of grammar” (#315).
“What is your aim in philosophy? – To show the fly the way out of the fly-bottle” (#309).
He is (expectedly) hard on psychology:
“The confusion and barrenness of psychology is not to be explained by its being a ‘young science’; its state is not comparable with that of physics, for instance, in its beginnings . . . . For in psychology, there are experimental methods and conceptual confusion. . . . The existence of the experimental method makes us think that we have the means of getting rid of the problems which trouble us; but problem and method pass one another by” (II, #371).
There are other memorable passages which I will allow the reader to discover for him- or herself.
I would describe this book as a necessary read for anyone interested in the history of philosophy and the course of modern thought. Even if one is not prepared to dissect it in detail, it is a pleasure to watch a brilliant mind at work, tracing an outline of thought that has been immensely influential.