Wittgenstein’s Philosophical Methods in On Certainty

Brian Rogers


On Certainty has recently been characterized as marking a shift from the
therapeutic tendencies of the Philosophical Investigations to a more systematic
philosophical approach. While Wittgenstein sometimes engages in theoretical
tasks in the earlier sections of On Certainty, I argue that he abandons this
approach for a return to his familiar therapeutic and deflationary methods in
the second half of the book. Wittgenstein praised his final efforts in On
Certainty but repeatedly criticized his work found in the earlier sections.
These shifts in methodology and self-critique are shown to correlate with
changes in the cancer treatments that Wittgenstein received.


philosophy; 20th century philosophy; Wittgenstein Ludwig; therapy; theory; third Wittgenstein; biography

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