WAB: "Fragments" | The audio contribution available from this site is a recording of Oskari Kuusela: Wittgenstein and the Concept of Essence, lecture given on 3.6.2005 at Wittgenstein, Philosophy and Language, conference in Skjolden, Norway, 1-4.6.2005. Publication on this site with kind permission from the author (2005.11.10).

Oskari Kuusela: Wittgenstein and the Concept of Essence

(Lecture in Skjolden 3.6.2005)

Abstract: In this talk I argue for a methodological interpretation of Wittgenstein's conception of essence in contrast to a constructivist interpretation represented by Baker and Hacker. Whereas according to the constructivist reading Wittgenstein holds the view that essences are a creation of our linguistic practices ("a shadow cast by grammar on reality"), according to the methodological interpretation Wittgenstein is merely concerned to clarify what it means to talk about essences, i.e. how questions concerning essences are to be addressed. By adopting the methodological reading we can avoid attributing to Wittgenstein a thesis about the construction of reality (or its essential features) through grammar, which the constructivist interpretation seems committed to. Thus the methodological reading seems to fit better Wittgenstein's remarks according to which he has no philosophical theses.

Listen to lecture (QuickTime .mov format): © Text: Oskari Kuusela. Audio: Oskari Kuusela, WAB, Wittgenstein Research Group at the University of Bergen (WFG).

If you don't have QuickTime installed, you can download it for free from here.