Wittgenstein on Time (1929–1933)

Joachim Schulte


In his later work Wittgenstein was fond of quoting Augustine on the difficulty of answering the question ‘quid est ergo tempus?’ (PI §89). But remarks on conceptual problems connected with our notion of time can be found in many of his manuscripts – in early as well as late ones. As Jaakko Hintikka has pointed out, changes in Wittgenstein’s ways of discussing the notion of time tend to mirror more general changes in his philosophical thought. And as regards this sort of change, no period in Wittgenstein’s development involved more radical modifi- cations of his earlier views than the first years after his return to Cambridge in 1929. Starting from Hintikka’s observations, a few particularly striking remarks Wittgenstein makes on the topic of time during that period will be discussed with a view to bringing out their relevance to illuminating certain shifts in his way of thinking.


20th century philosophy; philosophy; philosophy of time; Wittgenstein Ludwig; grammatical space; immediate experience; information time; memory time; Waismann Friedrich; Moore George Edward; Russell Bertrand; physical time; time

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