Maps vs. Aspects: Notes on a Radical Interpretation

Ákos Polgárdi


In their paper ‘A Perspicuous Presentation of “Perspicuous Presentation”’ Phil
Hutchinson and Rupert Read express their worry that the fact that, as opposed to
Gordon Baker, P.M.S. Hacker has not moved on from an ‘elucidatory’ reading of
Wittgenstein to a purely ‘therapeutical’ one “reduces the likelihood of people
perceiving and practicing Wittgenstein’s lasting significance.” Their argument for
this has two complementary aspects: (1) the negative claim that so-called
‘elucidatory’ interpretations, by understanding the philosopher’s work as analogous
to that of the cartographer, fail to do justice to Wittgenstein’s real intentions and
(2) the positive claim that Baker’s interpretation, mainly by endowing
aspect-perception with a central methodological role, succeeds where Hacker et al.
fail. I argue that (1) rests on a misunderstanding of the function of both maps and
perspicuous (re)presentations and that (2) makes too much of the alleged analogy
between the method of philosophy and aspect-perception.


philosophy; 20th century philosophy; Wittgenstein Ludwig; philosophical methodology; therapeutic reading; elucidatory reading; aspect perception; cartography; map

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