Wittgenstein: From a Religious Point of View? Cover Image

Wittgenstein: From a Religious Point of View?
Wittgenstein: From a Religious Point of View?

Author(s): Richard McDonough
Subject(s): Epistemology, Ethics / Practical Philosophy, Philosophy of Religion, Phenomenology
Published by: SACRI - Societatea Academica de Cercetare a Religiilor si Ideologiilor
Keywords: Wittgenstein; Malcolm; religious point of view; Genesis; use-conception of meaning; unconcealedness; phenomenology; Dostoevsky; ethics;

Summary/Abstract: Wittgenstein’s remark to Drury that he looks at philosophical problems from a religious point of view has greatly puzzled commentators. The paper argues that the readings given by commentators Malcolm, Winch and Labron are illuminating, but inadequate. Second, using Wittgenstein’s “use-conception of meaning” as an example, the paper proposes a more adequate reading that emphasizes Wittgenstein’s view that “nothing is hidden” (Philosophical Investigations, para. 435). In this connection, the paper examines Fodor’s critique of Wittgenstein’s “use-conception” and shows how Fodor only refutes a “misuse-conception meaning” because he presupposes a kind of linguistic meaning, the kind that Wittgenstein emphasizes, that is “already before his eyes” (and, therefore, prior to Fodor’s theories of meaning). Wittgenstein’s view that the truth is already before one’s eyes is further explained by employing an ethical analogy with Raskolnikov’s enlightenment in Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment. Finally, the paper addresses the difficult question whether Wittgenstein is, despite his own denials, “a religious man”, and argues that there is a non-trivial religious dimension in Wittgenstein’s life but that there are several important senses in which Wittgenstein is correct that he is not a religious person.

  • Issue Year: 15/2016
  • Issue No: 43
  • Page Range: 3-27
  • Page Count: 25
  • Language: English