Against the Idea of a “Third” Wittgenstein

Nuno Venturinha


In a recently published book, The Third Wittgenstein, the editor, Danièle Moyal-Sharrock, writes that it
“seeks to correct the traditional bipartite conception of Wittgenstein’s
thought into his Tractatus and Philosophical Investigations by focusing on his neglected last
masterpiece, On Certainty, and works contemporaneous with
it”. This paper aims to show that such a view is mistaken. It wrongly
takes for granted, first of all, that namely On Certainty
constitutes a work by Wittgenstein. But the idea of a “third”
Wittgenstein is also mistaken because it presupposes that the Investigations, such as posthumously published in 1953, form another work by Wittgenstein, something which is in need of a
re-evaluation. I focus then on some issues concerning the origins of the Investigations and try to make clear that the material edited
in On Certainty or Last Writings still
belongs to (Part I of) the only book Wittgenstein worked at after the Tractatus.


philosophy; 20th century philosophy; Wittgenstein Ludwig; Nachlass; philosophy of mathematics; philosophy of psychology; post-Philosophical Investigations; third Wittgenstein

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