Predictive Knowledge in Wittgenstein

Antonio Marques


Predictive statements deserve a specific grammatical inquiry, since they have not
only an epistemological status, but also appear in Wittgenstein’s writings on
philosophy of psychology and touch deeply the problem of free will. So predictive
knowledge covers a very large spectrum of human experience. This grammatical
exploration leads to acknowledge an essential difference between predictive
statements, which are expressions or exteriorisations of will (Willensäusserungen)
and predictions, which are made from the perspective of the third person (although
they can be uttered in the first). As Wittgenstein notes: “Two things however,
are important: one, that in many cases someone else cannot predict my actions,
whereas I foresee them in my intentions; the other, that my prediction (in my
expression of intention) has not the same foundation as his prediction of what I
shall do, and the conclusions to be drawn from these predictions are quite
different” (PI, Iixi, 224e). It is the grammatical elucidation of
predictive language games that allows us to solve the problem of the incompatibility
between predicted and at the same time free choices.


philosophy; 20th century philosophy; Wittgenstein Ludwig; expression; will; description; intentionality; communication; understanding

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