Critical Notice. Paul Horwich, Wittgenstein's Metaphilosophy

Chappell, Timothy (2014). Critical Notice. Paul Horwich, Wittgenstein's Metaphilosophy. Philosophical Investigations, 37(3) pp. 258–271.



In the Preface to his fine book, Paul Horwich deplores the “polar split” that he sees in academic philosophy today between most philosophers, who don’t care about Wittgenstein, and the Wittgensteinian minority, who don’t care about much else, and are “engaged in feuds with one other that no one else cares about” (p.xiii). Whether or not this picture is entirely fair either to Wittgensteinians or to non-Wittgensteinians, it is certainly true, and unfortunate, that Wittgenstein has been normalised by the academic system. His work has been turned into just another specialisation within the philosophy curriculum that (it is imagined) no one who is not “taking the course”, or researching in the area, need pay any attention to. The irony, Horwich suggests, is that Wittgenstein, especially in Part One of The Philosophical Investigations, offers a revolutionary perspective on the whole question of how to do philosophy, which any philosopher, Wittgensteinian or not, can benefit from at least considering.

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