Aspects of Modernism and Modernity in Wittgenstein’s Early Thought

Dimitris Gakis


In the present paper I discuss aspects of Wittgenstein’s early thought in the
light of modernism and modernity. Starting from those elements of Tractatus
Logico-Philosophicus that emit a certain modernist appeal, I move to a
discussion of features of modernity - namely, scientism, essentialism and
dogmatism - that can be attributed to Wittgenstein’s early work. I consider
these features to constitute part of the shared agenda between modernism and
modernity and I thus view the Tractatus as an exemplar of a work where modernism
and modernity, despite their often antagonistic relation, converge. This view
challenges the picture of a continuity regarding Wittgenstein’s anti-modernity
stance, with anti-scientism being its cornerstone. At the same time, it stresses
the need for qualification of attempts to characterize Wittgenstein as a
modernist or (anti)modernity thinker.


philosophy; 20th century philosophy; Wittgenstein Ludwig; modernity; modernism; essentialism; dogmatism; scientism; context

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