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Logic and Sin in the Writings of Ludwig Wittgenstein

by Philip R. Shields

  • ISBN: 9780226753010
  • ISBN10: 0226753018

Logic and Sin in the Writings of Ludwig Wittgenstein

by Philip R. Shields

  • List Price: $49.00
  • Binding: Hardcover
  • Publisher: Univ of Chicago Pr
  • Publish date: 01/01/1993
  • ISBN: 9780226753010
  • ISBN10: 0226753018
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Description: Bertrand Russell was fond of recounting the following story about Wittgenstein's student days at Cambridge: "He used to come to my rooms at midnight and, for hours, he would walk backwards and forwards like a caged tiger. ...On one such evening, after an hour or two of dead silence, I said to him, 'Wittgenstein, are you thinking about logic or about your sins?' 'Both, ' he said, and then reverted to silence". This is the first study to argue that Wittgenstein's philosophical writings are religious just as they stand. Although Wittgenstein often framed his writings on logic and philosophy in ethical and religious terms, the writings rarely discuss ethics and religion directly. This has led many scholars to dismiss Wittgenstein's remarks on such matters as isolated and eccentric personal views, while other scholars have attempted to reconstruct a plausible religious position from his cryptic religious comments and a selective use of his philosophy. Philip R. Shields shows that a matrix of ethical and religious concerns informs even the most technical writings on logic and language, and that, for Wittgenstein, the need to establish clear limitations is simultaneously a logical and an ethical demand. Rather than merely saying specific things about theology and religion, major texts from the Tractatus to the Philosophical Investigations express their fundamentally religious nature by showing that there are powers which bear down upon and sustain us. These powers manifest themselves in the structures that make significant use of language possible. Shields finds a religious view of the world at the very heart of Wittgenstein's philosophy. This perspective illuminates the distinctiveness andpeculiarity of Wittgenstein's philosophy and reveals more continuity between the "early" and the "later" thought than is usually supposed.
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