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Wittgensteinian Quietism

Finkelstein, David M. (2006) Wittgensteinian Quietism. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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One can't help but be struck by the range of incompatible positions that Wittgenstein's philosophy, his rule-following considerations in particular, have been taken to support. For instance, according to one very popular interpretation of the rule-following considerations, Wittgenstein proves that claims about the meanings of words aren't objectively true. On another interpretation, Wittgenstein shows that discourse about meaning, though without foundation, is as capable of robust truth as any. Still others argue that the Wittgenstein of the Investigations was neither a realist nor an antirealist with respect to discourse about meaning. On the contrary, according to proponents of this last interpretation, Wittgenstein rejected as "nonsense" both the questions that the rule-following considerations seem to pose and the answers that realists and antirealists have tried to give to these questions.This third, quietist interpretation of Wittgenstein has received increased critical attention of late. Some commentators have suggested that there is no textual basis for the quietist interpretation of the early Wittgenstein. Less has been written that purports to assess the arguments that quietists have found in Wittgenstein, early or late. In this dissertation, I assess the philosophical credentials of the quietist interpretation of Wittgenstein. In the first part, I argue that the material from Frege that inspired the Tractatus doesn't support quietism in the way that proponents of the quietist interpretation of Wittgenstein suppose. In the second part, I argue that the rule-following considerations support a position that's closely related to, but in important respects different from the one that the proponents of the quietist interpretation of Wittgenstein endorse.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Finkelstein, David
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairMcDowell, Johnjmcdowel@pitt.eduJMCDOWEL
Committee MemberFinkelstein, David
Committee MemberSetiya, Kierankis23@pitt.eduKIS23
Committee MemberRescher, Nicholasrescher@pitt.eduRESCHER
Date: 1 June 2006
Date Type: Completion
Defense Date: 7 November 2005
Approval Date: 1 June 2006
Submission Date: 12 February 2006
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences > Philosophy
Degree: PhD - Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: Anti-Realism; Philosophy; Quietism; Rule-Following; Wittgenstein
Other ID:, etd-02122006-115848
Date Deposited: 10 Nov 2011 19:31
Last Modified: 15 Nov 2016 13:36


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