The Harmony Chapter

Joachim Schulte


§§428-65 of Philosophical Investigations (PI) deal with questions that suggest themselves when one tries to understand the idea of 'harmony between thought and reality' (§429). If we follow various commentators in regarding this part of the book as a 'chapter' dealing with aspects of the notion of harmony, or agreement, between thought and reality, we shall soon run up against a number of difficulties of interpretation. Many of these difficulties, I want to claim, are due to the fact that this part of the book is in a sense the earliest: nearly all its remarks go back to manuscripts written in the early 1930ies. But when, around 1945, Wittgenstein tried to put together the last version of PI he reassembled these remarks to form the familiar chapter on harmony. The main question I want to discuss in this paper is whether Wittgenstein's attempt to join together old remarks to form a new chapter can be regarded as a success. Of course, to answer this question we need to have an idea of what to count as a 'success', and this in turn involves many exegetical questions. So, in a way what looks like a fairly external question about the origin of this part of PI is bound to lead to substantial questions of interpretation and can ultimately be seen to raise the recurrent issue of the unity of the Investigations.


20th century philosophy; philosophy; Wittgenstein Ludwig; agreement; content of attitudes; harmony; language reality; picture; sentence radical

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