Wittgenstein in Exile

Overview

Ludwig Wittgenstein's Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus (1922) and Philosophical Investigations (1953) are among the most influential philosophical books of the twentieth century, and also among the most perplexing. Wittgenstein warned again and again that he was not and would not be understood. Moreover, Wittgenstein's work seems to have little relevance to the way philosophy is done today. In Wittgenstein in Exile, James Klagge proposes a new way of looking at Wittgenstein—as an exile—that helps make sense of this. Wittgenstein's exile was not, despite his wanderings from Vienna to Cambridge to Norway to Ireland, strictly geographical; rather, Klagge argues, Wittgenstein was never at home in the twentieth century. He was in exile from an earlier era—Oswald Spengler's culture of the early nineteenth century.

Klagge draws on the full range of evidence, including Wittgenstein's published work, the complete Nachla?, correspondence, lectures, and conversations. He places Wittgenstein's work in a broad context, along a trajectory of thought that includes Job, Goethe, and Dostoyevsky. Yet Klagge also writes from an analytic philosophical perspective, discussing such topics as essentialism, private experience, relativism, causation, and eliminativism. Once we see Wittgenstein’s exile, Klagge argues, we will gain a better appreciation of the difficulty of understanding Wittgenstein and his work.

Table of Contents

  1. Preface
  2. Abbreviations
  3. Introduction
  4. 1. No One Understands Me
  5. 2. Can We Understand Wittgenstein?
  6. 3. What Is Understanding?
  7. 4. Exile
  8. 5. Alienation or Engagement
  9. 6. The Work of Exile
  10. 7. Philosophy and Science
  11. 8. The Evolution of an Idea
  12. 9. Science and the Mind
  13. 10. Das erloesende Wort
  14. 11. Wittgenstein in the Twenty-First Century
  15. Notes
  16. Bibliography
  17. Index