Wittgenstein’s Ambivalent Attitude toward Science and Culture

Wittgenstein’s Ambivalent Attitude toward Science and Culture Abstract:Wittgenstein’s ambivalent attitude toward science (and philosophy) can be observed as early as in the Tractatus – both in the preface and toward the end, e. g. on 6.52, 6.54 and also implicitly inherent in his final sentence “Whereof one cannot speak, thereof one must be silent.”Thus, despite his analytical method and apparently high appreciation of science, he was aware of its limits – as well as of its dangers. This awareness becomes increasingly obvious in the course of the later years, among others marked by a shift from analysis to description and a turning to other ways of knowledge than scientific ones: Ways of showing instead of saying viz. verbal and scientific explanations. These alternatives he saw in literature, art and music.However, even as concerns these fields, he sometimes holds a critical attitude toward culture, above all within the development of the civilization of his century. His resentment of the gradual moral and intellectual decline at the turn of the 20th century leads to a highly suspicious attitude toward any progress in the fields of culture and science, which he clearly expresses in his preface to the Philosophical Remarks, distancing himself from the so-called typical western scientist, whose spirit he considers “alien & uncongenial’ to his”. (Cf. CV 1998: 8e) http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Wittgenstein-Studien de Gruyter

Wittgenstein’s Ambivalent Attitude toward Science and Culture

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Publisher
De Gruyter
Copyright
© 2018 Walter de Gruyter GmbH, Berlin/Boston
ISSN
1868-7458
eISSN
1868-7458
D.O.I.
10.1515/witt-2018-0003
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Abstract:Wittgenstein’s ambivalent attitude toward science (and philosophy) can be observed as early as in the Tractatus – both in the preface and toward the end, e. g. on 6.52, 6.54 and also implicitly inherent in his final sentence “Whereof one cannot speak, thereof one must be silent.”Thus, despite his analytical method and apparently high appreciation of science, he was aware of its limits – as well as of its dangers. This awareness becomes increasingly obvious in the course of the later years, among others marked by a shift from analysis to description and a turning to other ways of knowledge than scientific ones: Ways of showing instead of saying viz. verbal and scientific explanations. These alternatives he saw in literature, art and music.However, even as concerns these fields, he sometimes holds a critical attitude toward culture, above all within the development of the civilization of his century. His resentment of the gradual moral and intellectual decline at the turn of the 20th century leads to a highly suspicious attitude toward any progress in the fields of culture and science, which he clearly expresses in his preface to the Philosophical Remarks, distancing himself from the so-called typical western scientist, whose spirit he considers “alien & uncongenial’ to his”. (Cf. CV 1998: 8e)

Journal

Wittgenstein-Studiende Gruyter

Published: Feb 21, 2018

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