Wittgenstein and Epistemology

This page discusses works that relate to Wittgenstein's influence on Epistemology.

Preston, John M. (ed.), Wittgenstein and Reason, Blackwell Publishing, 2008.

Book Information
149 pages
ISBN 978-1-4051-8095-5

Brief Description
A special issue arising from the one-day conference on ‘Wittgenstein and Reason’ held in April 2006 under the auspices of Ratio, featuring essays by Jacques Bouveresse, Hans-Johann Glock, Jane Heal, Genia Schönbaumsfeld, Severin Schroeder, Joachim Schulte, and Crispin Wright.

Glock, H–J., & Preston, John M. ‘Externalism and First–Person Authority’, The Monist, volume 78, no.4, October 1995, pp.515-533.

Brief Description
Wittgenstein, like ‘externalists’, rejected internalism. Neither he nor externalists deny the reality of mental or neurophysiological phenomena, but they do deny that these phenomena determine what we think. We argue that Wittgenstein’s later work contrasts favourably with externalism in at least three respects: it undermines the standard arguments in favour of externalism; it provides better arguments against internalism; and it furnishes an account of thinking (in the sense of believing that p), intending and meaning which does justice to First Person Authority.

Moyal-Sharrock, Danièle, 'Words as Deeds: Wittgenstein's "spontaneous utterances" and the dissolution of the explanatory gap', Philosophical Psychology, 13: (2000), 355-72.

Brief Description
Wittgenstein demystified the notion of 'observational self-knowledge'. He dislodged the long-standing conception that we have privileged access to our impressions, sensations and feelings through introspection, and more precisely eliminated knowing as the kind of awareness that normally characterizes our first-person present tense psychological statements. He was not thereby questioning our awareness of our emotions or sensations, but debunking the notion that we come to that awareness via any epistemic route. This makes the spontaneous linguistic articulation of our sensations and impressions nondescriptive. Not descriptions, but expressions that seem more akin to behaviour than to language. I suggest that Wittgenstein uncovered a new species of speech acts. Far from the prearranged consecration of words into performatives, utterances are deeds through their very spontaneity. This gives language a new aura: the aura of the reflex action. I argue, against Peter Hacker, that spontaneous utterances have the categorial status of deeds. This has no reductive consequences in that I do not suggest that one category is reduced to another, but that the boundary between them is porous. This explodes the myth of an explanatory gap between the traditionally distinct categories of saying (or thinking) and doing, or of mind and body.

Rudd, Anthony, Expressing the World: Skepticism, Wittgenstein and
, Open Court, Chicago and La Salle, 2003.

Book information
Paperback, 262 pages.
ISBN-10: 0812695348
ISBN-13: 978-0812695342

Brief Description
This book argues that skepticism — the view that reliable knowledge is beyond our grasp — is unavoidable unless knowledge is thought of not as merely an intellectual matter but as crucial to practical activity and emotional life. Author Anthony Rudd ties this idea to the work of Wittgenstein and Heidegger, exploring important similarities between the former’s reminders of the “expressive” character of human experience and the latter’s account of ways to experience the physical world “expressively.”
Open Court presentation webpage: http://www.opencourtbooks.com/books_n/expressing_the_world.htm

Pritchard, Duncan, Epistemic Luck, (Oxford UP, hardback 2005, paperback 2007).

Book Information
Paperback: 304 pages
Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA (November 24, 2007)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0199229783
ISBN-13: 978-0199229789

Brief Description
Chapter nine explores in detail the relevance of Wittgenstein's conception of a 'hinge proposition' (primarily in relation to On Certainty) for the contemporary debate regarding radical scepticism.

Pritchard, Duncan, 'Wittgenstein on Scepticism', The Oxford Handbook of Wittgenstein, (ed.) M. McGinn, (Oxford UP, forthcoming).

Brief Description
An overview of Wittgenstein's remarks on scepticism in On Certainty is offered, especially with regard to the notion of a 'hinge proposition'. Several possible interpretations of the anti-sceptical import of this text are then critically assessed, with each view situated within the contemporary literature on scepticism.
Available at: http://www.philosophy.ed.ac.uk/new/staff/full-academic/documents/WittOnScepticism.pdf

Pritchard, Duncan, 'Certainty and Scepticism', Philosophical Issues (supplement to Nous) 18 (forthcoming).

Brief Description
Compares the role that certainty plays in Wittgenstein's thinking with a recent proposal in contemporary epistemology by Jason Stanley.

Pritchard, Duncan, 'McDowell on Reasons, Externalism and Scepticism', European Journal of Philosophy 11 (2003), 273-94.

Brief Description
A critique of McDowell's response to the radical sceptic which trades on the Wittgensteinian conception of a hinge proposition.
[Available at: http://www.philosophy.ed.ac.uk/new/staff/full-academic/documents/McDowellonScepticismFINAL.pdf]

Pritchard, Duncan, 'Recent Work on Radical Skepticism', American Philosophical Quarterly 39 (2002), 215-57.

Brief Description
A survey of the recent debate regarding radial scepticism, including an extended discussion of the relevance of Wittgenstein's notion of a 'hinge proposition' to this debate.
[Available at: http://www.philosophy.ed.ac.uk/new/staff/full-academic/documents/RecentWorkonSkepticism.pdf]

Pritchard, Duncan, 'Two Forms of Epistemological Contextualism', Grazer Philosophische Studien 64 (2002), 19-55.

Brief Description
The recent popularity of contextualist treatments of the key epistemic concepts has tended to obscure the differences that exist between the various kinds of contextualist theses on offer. The aim of this paper is to contribute towards rectifying this problem by exploring two of the main formulations of the contextualist position currently on offer in the literature the 'semantic' contextualist thesis put forward by Keith DeRose and David Lewis, and the Wittgenstein-inspired 'inferential' contextualist thesis advanced by Michael Williams. It is argued that by evaluating these theses in the light of each other one can gain a deeper understanding of the contextualist position. In particular, it is argued that this relative evaluation highlights one interesting way in which contextualism might be developed.
[Available at: http://www.philosophy.ed.ac.uk/new/staff/full-academic/documents/GPSContextualismProofs.pdf]

Pritchard, Duncan, 'Skepticism, Contemporary', Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy, (eds.) B. Dowden & J. Fieser, (2002).

Brief Description
An overview of the contemporary debate regarding radical scepticism which includes an extended discussion of the relevance of the Wittgensteinian notion of a 'hinge proposition'.
[Available at: http://www.iep.utm.edu/s/skepcont.htm]

Pritchard, Duncan, 'Hinge Propositions and the Radical Sceptical Paradox', PhD thesis, University of St. Andrews, 2000.

Brief Description
A detailed examination of the relevance of the Wittgensteinian idea of a hinge proposition for the contemporary debate regarding radical scepticism.
[Available at: https://webspace.utexas.edu/deverj/personal/test/dissertations.html]

Edwards, Jim, 'Response-Dependence, Kripke and Minimal Truth', in European Review of Philosophy, vol 3, edited by Roberto Casati and Christine Tappolet, Centre for the Study of Language and Communications, Stanford, California, 1998, pp.149-174. ISBN 1-57586-104-6.

Harrison, Bernard, "Wittgenstein and Scepticism", in Klaus Puhl, ed., Meaning Scepticism, Berlin and New York: Walter de Gruyter (1991), pp.34-69.

Coliva, Annalisa, "Hinges and Certainty. A Précis of Moore and Wittgenstein. Scepticism, Certainty and Common Sense", Philosophia, Volume 41, Number 1, pp.1-12. Link: http://link.springer.com/journal/11406/41/1/page/1

Moyal-Sharrock, Danièle, On Coliva’s Judgmental Hinges, Philosophia, Volume 41, Number 1, pp.13-25. Link: http://link.springer.com/journal/11406/41/1/page/1

Cameron Boult & Duncan Pritchard, "Wittgensteinian Anti-Scepticism and Epistemic Vertigo", Philosophia, Volume 41, Number 1, pp.27-35. Link: http://link.springer.com/journal/11406/41/1/page/1

Martin Kusch, "Annalisa Coliva on Wittgenstein and Epistemic Relativism", Philosophia, Volume 41, Number 1, pp.37-49. Link: http://link.springer.com/journal/11406/41/1/page/1

Paolo Leonardi, "Wittgenstein and Moore", Philosophia, Volume 41, Number 1, pp.51-61. Link: http://link.springer.com/journal/11406/41/1/page/1

Paolo Tripodi, "Wittgenstein on the Gulf Between Believers and Non-Believers", Philosophia, Volume 41, Number 1, pp.63-79. Link: http://link.springer.com/journal/11406/41/1/page/1

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