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Wittgenstein: A Critical Reader (Blackwell Critical Reader) [Paperback]

By Glock (Author)
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Item description for Wittgenstein: A Critical Reader (Blackwell Critical Reader) by Glock...

This volume provides a wide-ranging collection of newly-commissioned essays on Wittgenstein by internationally established philosophers. Exploring all of the central themes of Wittgenstein's oeuvre, the volume includes core topics like private language and topics in which Wittgenstein's influence is becoming more keenly felt, such as intentionality and ethics. Contributors include Robert Arrington, Stuart Candish, Peter Hacker, Oswald Hanfling, Hide Ighiguro, H.O. Mounce, Bede Rundle, and D.Z. Phillips.

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Item Specifications...

Studio: Wiley-Blackwell
Pages   416
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 9.04" Width: 5.99" Height: 1.24"
Weight:   1.33 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Aug 22, 2001
Publisher   Wiley-Blackwell
ISBN  0631194371  
ISBN13  9780631194378  

Availability  103 units.
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More About Glock

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Hans-Johann Glock is Professor of Philosophy at the University of Reading. He has been Visiting Professor at Queen's University, Ontario and a research fellow of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation at Bielefeld University. He is the author ofQuine and Davidson (2003); editor of The Rise of Analytic Philosophy (Blackwell 1997), Wittgenstein: A Critical Reader (Blackwell 2001) Strawson and Kant (2003); and co-editor, with Robert L. Arrington, of Wittgenstein's Philosophical Investigations (1991) and Wittgenstein and Quine (1996).

Glock has published or released items in the following series...
  1. Blackwell Critical Readers
  2. Blackwell Philosopher Dictionaries

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > Nonfiction > Philosophy > General
2Books > Subjects > Nonfiction > Philosophy > Logic & Language
3Books > Subjects > Nonfiction > Philosophy > Modern

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Reviews - What do customers think about Wittgenstein: A Critical Reader (Blackwell Critical Reader)?

Excellent review of our greatest psychologist   Jan 30, 2008
The aim of the 17 original papers here is to summarize and analyze Wittgenstein's thought.

At the time these were being written, the Oxford/Intelex CDROM ($2040 on this site but available thru interlibrary loan and steeply discounted on the net) with 20,000 some pages of W's nachlass was not yet available, and only those fluent in German and willing to find and slog thru the incomplete Cornell microfilm were able to examine it. To this day it much of it remains untranslated from the German typescripts and handwritten manuscripts. I note this at the outset as W's untranslated or unpublished writings often shed crucial light on his thought and few to this day (2008) have made substantial use of them. In addition there are huge problems with translation of his early 20th century Viennese German into modern English. One must be a master of English, German, and Wittgenstein in order to do this and very few are up to it. Several of the current authors note unfortunate translation errors in the only available English editions and I have seen similar comments countless times.

As is well known, W's thought changed dramatically between the publication of the Tractatus (TLP) in 1922 and the Philosophical Investigations(1953). The continuity or lack thereof between his early and late work is the subject of a vast literature and is taken up here by several authors. Ishiguro on the picture theory and Mounce on the logical system in TLP are good, but for me the endless discussions of exactly how he was mistaken in his early work is of as little interest as the mistakes in most previous philosophy.

Ammereller on Intentionality is a good, if prosaic, summary of (mostly) the early and middle W on belief and interpretation which, like virtually everyone, totally fails to give an adequate overview of W's pioneering work. In giving the general outline of our innate evolutionary psychology (ie, roughly our personality) and showing how this describes behavior, W represents a major milestone in human thought. There are unmistakeable indications of this even in his early writings (eg, see p 40, 49-58 here) and it has been documented by Hacker (eg, see his paper in The New Wittgenstein) and others but without any comprehensive account to date.

Rundle's contribution on meaning and understanding, which W classed as dispositions or inclinations and are now commonly called propositional attitudes, is mostly pedestrian and completely misses W's major point that, like most of our psychology, these are public phenomena and not private mental states. Of course he can be forgiven since hardly anyone interested in behavior (which can be taken to include everyone) has realized this, nor noted that W was the first to discuss it some 75 years ago.

Arrington gives an adequate, if standard, account of W on rule following and Hanfling an exceptional summary of W on thinking. He makes it very clear that W showed dispositions are activities (or potential activities in some uses of the words) which are necessarily public, shared acts--a crucial basic fact rarely understood even by the brightest and the best (see eg, Chomsky's insistence--- in his more recent writings-- on the internal nature of language). Candlish follows with the best concise account I have seen of W's thoughts on willing.

Schroeder provides a good article on another of W's major advances in understanding how the mind works--the impossibility of private language and private experience--ie, just what Chomsky and millions of others have missed. However, he falters in midarticle by failing to get the difference between dispositions (thoughts, beliefs, meanings etc) which cannot be true or false and carry no information, and judgements of empirical facts which do, and thus fails to fully grasp the private language argument. There is no test for beliefs, thoughts, desires, intentions etc, even for oneself, until they are acted out in the public arena. Anything which is truly private is of no consequence in our social life or our language(thought).

Ter Hark, who has written a book on W's philosophy of psychology (though all of philosophy is psychology) contributes an adequate survey on "The Inner and The Outer" but is not really clear about how our psychology rests on innate, unquestionable axioms and how this is related to the axioms of mathematics.

Bakhurst's review of W on personal identity is barely adequate and shows little grasp of W's overall contributions to psychology. Likewise with Mulhall's "Seeing Aspects."

Frascolla, who has written a rather good book on W's Philosophy of Mathematics provides a good but hurried article that will be of little use to those not versed in this topic already.

I found Schwyzer's article on Autonomy to be entirely useless--an amazing but common achievement when writing about the greatest contributor to our most fascinating subject--how the mind works.

Grayling does a careful dissection of W's last great work On Certainty but misses the fact (as W noted many, many times) that all the skeptical views of knowing and certainty are incoherent, depending, as they must, on our innate axiomatic psychology to even state them.

The world's leading W scholar, PMS Hacker gives a good summary of W's views on the nature of philosophy, but even he seems to have no clear grasp of the fact that W's "grammar" refers to our inherited intentional psychology.

The late DZ Phillips contributes one his many articles on faith and ethics in W and I found this one as dull as the rest. Like most who write on W, he passes up a gold mine by failing to consider the relevance of W's many penetrating comments on machines, animals and alien tribes.

Overall an exceptional book for introducing W to a general philosophical audience. Those wishing further comments on W please consult my other reviews, including that of "I am a Strange Loop".
A Lukewarm Collection  Oct 6, 2002
This text is a companion volume to the Wittgenstein Reader anthology (Blackwell). It is a lukewarm, hit and miss collection of articles that topically corresponds to areas covered in the reader. I would recommend Crary's The New W. (Routledge) or David Pears or David Stern prior to this. The Cambridge Companion (Sluga/Stern) is also an excellent collection of articles.

The articles that stand out here are: Ishiguro, "The So-Called Picture Theory...," Rundle, "Meaning and Understanding," Arrington, "Following a Rule," Schroeder, "PL and Private Experience," Mulhall, "Seeing Aspects," Schwyzer, "Autonomy," Grayling, "W. on Skepticism and Certainty," and Hacker, "Philosophy."

On rule-following I would recommend McDowell's articles (in Mind Value...Harvard UP) Gibbs, Rule-Following; and on math necessity I would recommend the articles by Dummett (Truth...Harvard UP), Stroud (Mind Meaning.../Oxford UP), and Putnam.


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