Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Later Wittgenstein on Philosophy

Dipping into Wittgenstein's Philosophical Investigations yet again, I was reminded of this little barb about philosophy. It's a typical Wittgensteinian aphorism, koan-like, that has to sink in a bit, particularly since the analogy is an inversion of precisely the sorts of philosophical assumptions Wittgenstein is calling into question:

"When we do philosophy we are like savages, primitive people, who hear the expressions of civilized men, put a false interpretation on them, and then draw the queerest conclusions from it" (§194).