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Chapter 8 - Wittgenstein and Analytic Revisionism

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  15 August 2019

James Conant
Affiliation:
University of Chicago
Sebastian Sunday
Affiliation:
University of Oxford
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Summary

Throughout his career, Wittgenstein’s philosophical attitude was characteristically non-revisionist: philosophy as he conceives it does not change established concepts or practices, but leaves everything as it is. This essay seeks to understand Wittgenstein’s non-revisionist conception by contrasting it against the views of the two most prominent and self-conscious revisionists in the analytic tradition: Carnap and Quine. This comparison in turn serves to reveal continuities and discontinuities between Wittgenstein’s early and later versions of philosophical non-revisionism, and these continuities and discontinuities are in turn related to some central developments in his thought on language, logic, and the nature of philosophical perspicuity. Finally, it is argued that the revisionist methodologies of Carnap and Quine are fundamentally question-begging.

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Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2019

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