Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item:
Issue Date: 1993
Abstract: Wittgenstein maintains an anti-metaphysical stand throughout his philosophical career. His opposition to metaphysics is fundamental to his conception of doing philosophy. As such, any analysis of Wittgenstein's work cannot but take this into account. The focus of this thesis, therefore, is to examine certain interpretations of Wittgenstein's philosophy against the backdrop of his anti-metaphysics. These interpretations are shown to be mistaken because they ascribe metaphysical theories to Wittgenstein's position. Our disscussion also raises some interesting questions, namely, the paradoxical nature of his anti-metaphysical endeavour. The structure of the thesis is as follows : First, a brief outline of Wittgenstein's Picture Theory of Propositions and his Use "Theory" of Meaning will be presented. Here, the emphasis is to draw out the differences between his earlier and later views on the relationship between language and reality. Wittgenstein's rejection of the Correspondence Thesis, endorsed in the Tractarian account, lays the foundations for our discussion of a coherence interpretation of his later philosophy. Next, we turn to Kripke's discussion of the sceptical problem inherent in Wittgenstein's notion of rule following. He suggests that Wittgenstein is a coherence theorist since he solves this paradox by appealing to the notion of communal agreement. However, it is Ralph Walker, who arguing along Kripkean lines, claims that Wittgenstein is indeed a pure coherence theorist. Walker's coherence reading of Wittgenstein's work is based on the fact that his later conception of language ultimately rests on the beliefs and judgements of the community of language users. The notion of rule following which Wittgenstein endorses is acceptable only in so far as there is an explanation of the rules. Since communal agreement is the only possible means by which rules may be qualified, Wittgenstein is thus committed to a Coherence Thesis. Walker's interpretation of Wittgenstein is, however, flawed. We find that Wittgenstein could not have regarded agreement as the explanation of rules, nor did he forward a Coherence Theory, or for that matter, any "theory" of language. Another position which we consider is Strawson 's interpretation of Wittgenstein as a naturalist/descriptive metaphysician. His reasons are that Wittgenstein's methodology includes elements akin to Hume's naturalism, also his use of transcendental arguments aligns him with the descriptive rnetaphysician. We demonstrate, however, that Strawson's characterisation is erroneous. Wittgenstein is not a naturalist in the Strawsonian sense. Despite emphasis on descriptions and his use of transcendental arguments, Wittgenstein clearly does not have the same aims as the descriptive metaphysician. The main thrust of our argument is that Wittgenstein is consistent in his anti-metaphysical views, even though his arguments against metaphysical theories involve an inherent paradox. In order to establish his position, it appears that Wittgenstein himself has to engage in metaphysics. In the last chapter, the possible implications of this paradox are considered. It is maintained that Wittgenstein must do metaphysics so as to be anti-metaphysical, but the strength of the paradox lies in the fact that he is able to accomplish this without compromising his anti-metaphysical beliefs.
Appears in Collections:Master's Theses (Restricted)

Show full item record
Files in This Item:
File Description SizeFormatAccess SettingsVersion 
b19530183.pdf6.98 MBAdobe PDF


NoneLog In

Google ScholarTM


Items in DSpace are protected by copyright, with all rights reserved, unless otherwise indicated.