Philosophical Periods in Ludwig Wittgenstein

Philosophical Periods in Ludwig Wittgenstein

June 27, 2021 Off By Felso

Wittgenstein’s philosophy, described as the “greatest” philosopher of the twentieth century, is divided into two separate periods, although there are some implicit and explicit connections between them.

These two periods are also called “double revolutions” in philosophy. The first revolution refers to logical analysis, the second to linguistic-analytic philosophy.

The main work of the first period is the Tractatus logico-philosophicus (Logico-philosophical treatise), shortly known as the Tractatus, the only book published in Wittgenstein’s lifetime. The work symbolizing the second period is called Philosophical Studies (Philosophische Untersuchungen).

It cannot be said that the philosophers have reached a complete consensus among themselves about dividing Wittgenstein’s philosophy into periods. There are also those who, like Bertrand Russell, only take the first period and do not even count the later period as philosophy. Those who think like D. Pears, on the other hand, talk about two different periods, although there are many lines that connect them. Others such as W. Stegmüller and J. Hartnack argue that there are two opposing Wittgenstein philosophies. Stegmüller calls the first period the “Mosaic Theory of Language” and the second period the “Chess Theory of Language”.

The simile refers to the fact that linguistic signs are definite and fixed, as in mosaic paintings, in the first period, and the use of words in the second period, in accordance with the rules, as in the game of chess. Despite all these thinkers, there are also those who argue that Wittgenstein has a unified philosophy, such as A. Kenny, K. Wuchterl, A. Hübner.

Talking about the development of Wittgenstein’s philosophy and its “hidden unity”, J. Hintikka and M.B. We would like to mention Hintikka’s thoughts, which we also agree with, as a final opinion. Hintikkas aside, we would like to add to their determination of “secret unity” that there are some obvious ties in both periods.

Prepared by: Sociologist Ömer YILDIRIM
Source: Omer YILDIRIM’s Personal Lecture Notes. Atatürk University Sociology Department 1st Year “Introduction to Philosophy” and 2nd, 3rd, 4th Grade “History of Philosophy” Lecture Notes (Ömer YILDIRIM); Open Education Philosophy Textbook