Situating Cornerstone Propositions


Ostensibly, Wittgenstein’s last remarks published in 1969 under the title On Certainty are about epistemology, more precisely about the problem of scepticism. This is the standard interpretation of On Certainty. But I contend, in this paper, that we will get closer to Wittgenstein’s intentions and perhaps find new and illuminating ways to interpret his late contribution if we keep in mind that his primary goal was not to provide an answer to scepticism. In fact, I think that the standard reading (independently of its fruitfulness with dealing with scepticism) leads to a distorted view of Wittgenstein’s contribution in On Certainty. In order to see that, scepticism will first be briefly characterised, and then I will attempt to circumscribe more precisely the standard reading of On Certainty. In section 4, three exegetical arguments against the standard reading are offered – the hope being that the weight of these three arguments, taken together, instils doubt in the reader’s mind about the correctness of the standard reading. The paper concludes with an attempt to gesture at the philosophical significance of On Certainty once we set aside the standard reading.

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Philie, P. (2012). Situating Cornerstone Propositions. Open Journal of Philosophy, 2, 260-267. doi: 10.4236/ojpp.2012.24038.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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