The Necessary Multiplicity

Cameron McEwen


The later Wittgenstein was certainly a pluralist. But there are many different pluralisms. With particular reference to recollections of Wittgenstein from Rush Rhees and Maurice O’Connor Drury, the guess is made that the later Wittgenstein’s plurality was ontological and digital. The later work therefore continued and refined the Tractarian positions that the foundation of the world is not singular and that the relation of worlds as based on these plural foundations is digital, not analog. But just as Wittgenstein himself came to this position in a way which was not purely digital (otherwise he would already have known what he despaired of finding), so the relation of the analog to the digital had to be rethought in the latter work in order to account for such achievements as language acquisition. At the same time, this allowed Wittgenstein to illustrate and to teach that method of persistent questioning and repeated re-starting through which he himself had come to discover his calling.


20th century philosophy; philosophy; Wittgenstein Ludwig; analog; difference; digital; gigantomachia; Darwin Charles; Drury Maurice

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