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Philosophical Investigations Paperback – 6 Nov 2009
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From the Back Cover
Immediately upon its posthumous publication in 1953, Ludwig Wittgenstein′s Philosophical Investigations was hailed as a masterpiece, and the ensuing years have confirmed this initial assessment. Today it is widely acknowledged to be the single most important philosophical work of the twentieth century.
In this definitive new en face German–English edition, Wittgenstein experts Peter Hacker and Joachim Schulte have incorporated significant editorial changes to earlier editions of Philosophical Investigations in order to reflect more closely Wittgenstein′s original intentions. Notable revisions include the placement of Wittgenstein′s notes Randbemerkungen into their designated positions in the text, some corrections to the originally published German text, and the numbering of all the remarks in what was Part 2 and is now named Philosophy of Psychology A Fragment. Extensive modifications and corrections have also been made to G. E. M. Anscombe′s original English translation. Detailed editorial endnotes have been added to illuminate difficult translation decisions and to identify references and allusions in Wittgenstein′s original text.
About the Author
Peter Hacker is the author of the four–volume Analytical Commentary on the Philosophical Investigations (Blackwell, 1980–96) the first two volumes co–authored with G. P. Baker (Second Editions, 2003, 2009) and of Wittgenstein s Place in Twentieth–century Analytic Philosophy (Blackwell, 1996). He has also written extensively on philosophy of mind, including Philosophical Foundations of Neuroscience (Blackwell, 2003) and History of Cognitive Neuroscience (Wiley–Blackwell, 2008), co–authored with M. R. Bennett, and Human Nature: The Categorial Framework (Blackwell, 2007), the first volume of a trilogy on human nature.
Joachim Schulte edited the authoritative critical–genetic edition of Wittgenstein s Philosophische Untersuchungen (2001). He is author of Wittgenstein: An Introduction (1989), Chor und Gesetz: Wittgenstein im Kontext (1990), Experience and Expression: Wittgenstein s Philosophy of Psychology (1993), and of many dozens of philosophical papers.
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Top Customer Reviews
The book is sharp and the contents are sharper.
A summary of some of the contents:
- A refutation against referentialism.
- Meaning as 'Use'.
- Language games.
- A refutation against Private Language.
- Theories on Psychology.
You can't go wrong even if you do prefer the Tractatus.
In the foreword, Wittgenstein writes that he would "hate for his writing to save people the trouble of thinking" and he certainly acheived his wish. Many people find Wittgenstein very difficult to understand even when they've been studying philosophy for years, so this is definitely NOT a book for someone who is unfamiliar or unconfident in reading philosophical texts.
Nevertheless, for someone interested in philosophy, I think this book is a must. And this particular edition is well worth owning. The translation is excellent - it feels easy and natural and full of personality. Plus, the original German is printed opposite each translated page. This is particularly helpful for a student wishing to fully engage in the text and deconstruct the work, since naturally some terms in English may be ambiguous, whereas in the original German the meaning is clear (take the two senses of "meaning", for example - "meinen" and "Bedeutung").
So if you love philosophy or consider yourself a philosopher, I would recommend you this text, especially in this edition. If not, steer clear. You won't get much out of it except frustration.
Before dealing with the substance of the book, a word first about the structure of the book. The whole book is divided into numbered paragraphs varying from just one or two lines to a page in length. On the left hand side is the German original text, on the right hand side is the English translation. The original translation was provided by G.E.M Anscombe which has been then modified/corrected. The introduction is quite baffling. It seems designed for the purist who is very familiar with Wittgenstein’s work, as there is an in-depth discussion about various manuscripts which went towards making the final work. For the most part, I think this can be skipped over.
So what of the text then? We hit a problem with the first paragraph. The opening gambit is a quote from Augustine’s Confessions, only instead of providing a translation either into German or into English, it has been left untranslated in Latin. So unless you are fluent in Latin or have a copy of the Confessions to hand (thankfully I did) then you will be left none the wiser as to the starting point. In case you don’t have Augustine, the passage used is translated thus:
“When people gave a name to an object and when, following the sound, they moved their body towards that object, I would see and retain the fact that that object received from them this sound which they pronounced when they intended to draw attention to it.Read more ›
"Superstition is nothing but belief in the causal nexus." TLP 5.1361
"Now if it is not the causal connections which we are concerned with, then the activities of the mind lie open before us." "The Blue Book" p6 (1933)
"We feel that even when all possible scientific questions have been answered, the problems of life remain completely untouched. Of course, there are then no questions left, and this itself is the answer." TLP 6.52 (1922)
"Nonsense, Nonsense, because you are making assumptions instead of simply describing. If your head is haunted by explanations here, you are neglecting to remind yourself of the most important facts."
"Philosophy simply puts everything before us and neither explains nor deduces anything...One might give the name `philosophy' to what is possible before all new discoveries and inventions."
"The more narrowly we examine actual language, the sharper becomes the conflict between it and our requirement. (For the crystalline purity of logic was, of course, not a result of investigation: it was a requirement.)"PI 107
"The wrong conception which I want to object to in this connexion is the following, that we can discover something wholly new. That is a mistake. The truth of the matter is that we have already got everything, and that we have got it actually present; we need not wait for anything. We make our moves in the realm of the grammar of our ordinary language, and this grammar is already there.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Unusually for me - I flipped through this book in about 20 minutes - unable to read any of it in detail! I have given it one star, (revised), purely because I could not read it. Read morePublished 16 months ago by Herr Holz Paul
Outstanding bilingual edition of one of the most important works of philosophy in the 20th centuryPublished 16 months ago by Lester Wong
Its a heavy heavy bit of reading, but it makes you question everything and is what I would describe as 'modest philosophy', it at no point claims to be the ultimate truth. Read morePublished 18 months ago by Alex Thomas Wall