Wittgenstein and Teaching

Yasushi Maruyama


Wittgenstein is a philosopher who often uses educational situations to examine
philosophical puzzles. He is not interested in establishing a theory of teaching but
"teaching" is important in his philosophy in various ways. He often illustrates the
concrete activities of teaching: teaching color words, sensation words, how to read,
how to count numbers, and more are discussed in his writings. Teaching is also
treated as a general function that makes sense of expressions. He sometimes talks
about teaching as preparation for the use of expressions and sometimes as what
explains meanings. While he calls both training and explanation "teaching," he
distinguishes them clearly. What and how to teach as philosophy, on the other hand,
is his primary concern. Most interpreters of Wittgenstein have ignored the importance
of teaching in his philosophy. They have noticed his interest in teaching but they do
not understand why and how he is interested in it. They have merely mentioned that he
uses the teaching and learning of language as examples. The purpose of this paper is
to demonstrate that a clear picture of Wittgenstein's conception of teaching brings
about a better understanding of his philosophy. I shall review his work in terms of
teaching, and then discuss his grammatical concerns for concept-clarification and the
pedagogical purpose of his philosophy as his two folded conception of teaching.


philosophy; 20th century philosophy; Wittgenstein Ludwig; method; grammar; pedagogy; showing; teaching philosophy

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