A highly accessible account of the thought of Wittgenstein
A Cloud of Philosophy, a Drop of Grammar
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Ludwig Wittgenstein conceived of philosophy as beneficially destructive: its purpose was to remove blocks to the understanding, to destroy "houses of cards," to eliminate philosophical muddles. Rather than providing solutions to philosophical problemsthe mind-body problem, the problem of other minds, the problem of skepticism, the problem of universalsWittgensteinian philosophy tries to show that the problems are nonsensical. This controversial philosopher has been the object of intense scrutinyboth professional and popularand widely divergent interpretations. In this 100th anniversary of Wittgenstein’s birth, Ronald Suter offers a highly accessible account of the thought of one of the most influential Anglo-American philosophers of the twentieth century.
Focusing on his mature conception of philosophy and the application of his philosophical methods to traditional and contemporary debates, Suter shows how Wittgenstein’s philosophy can be applied to many philosophical problems. He gives an account of the doctrine of family resemblance and discusses Wittgenstein’s relationship to Freud and to Russell. Contrasting Wittgenstein’s radically new view of philosophy with more traditional views, the author challenges various notions about the philosopher and shows how his approach dissolves traditional problems in theories of nature, mind, knowledge, and the philosophy of language.
"This presentation of Wittgenstein is interesting and admirably on target when defending certain interpretations against those of commentators with whom Suter disagrees. And Suter writes lucidly. This is not a simple achievement, and I commend him for really clear and helpful analyses of sticky, dense issues.... A fresh, original study that will be widely discussedit is no mere 'introduction.'"
Part I: Wittgenstein's Conception of Philosophy
Part II: Wittgenstein and Mind
Part III: Wittgenstein on Some Problems of Philosophy
Appendix: Russell's Theory of Descriptions
Ronald Suter is Professor of Philosophy at Michigan State University and the author of Are You Moral?