Wittgenstein: Connections and Controversies
Wittgenstein: Connections and Controversies consists of thirteen thematically linked essays on different aspects of the philosophy of Wittgenstein, by one of the leading commentators on his work. After an opening overview of Wittgenstein's philosophy the following essays fall into two classes: those that investigate connections between the philosophy of Wittgenstein and other philosophers and philosophical trends, and those which enter into some of the
controversies that, over the last two decades, have raged over the interpretation of one aspect or another of Wittgenstein's writings.
The connections that are explored include the relationship between Wittgenstein's philosophy and the humanistic and hermeneutic traditions in European philosophy, Wittgenstein's response to Frazer's Golden Bough and the interpretation of ritual actions, his attitude towards and criticisms of Frege (both in the Tractatus and in the later philosophy), the relationship between his ideas and those of members of the Vienna Circle on the matter of ostensive definition, and a comparison of Carnap's
conception of the elimination of metaphysics and of Strawson's rehabilitation of metaphysics with Wittgenstein's later criticisms of metaphysics.
The controversies into which Hacker enters include the Diamond-Conant interpretation of the Tractatus (which is shown to be inconsistent with the text of the Tractatus and with Wittgenstein's explanations of and comments on his book), Winch's interpretation of the Tractatus conception of names, Kripke's interpretation of Wittgenstein's discussion of following a rule (which is demonstrated to be remote from Wittgenstein's intentions), and Malcolm's defence of the idea that Wittgenstein claimed
that mastery of a language logically requires that the language be shared with other speakers.
These far-ranging essays, several of them previously unpublished or difficult to find, shed much light upon different aspects of Wittgenstein's thought, and upon the controversies which it has stimulated.