THE FATE OF ANALYSIS, #32–A Map of Wittgenstein’s “Philosophical Investigations.”

By Robert Hanna

THE FATE OF ANALYSIS: Analytic Philosophy From Frege to The Ash-Heap of History



II. Classical Analytic Philosophy

II.1 What Classical Analytic Philosophy Is: Two Basic Theses

II.2 What Classical Analytic Philosophy Officially Isn’t: Its Conflicted Anti-Kantianism

II.3 Classical Analytic Philosophy Characterized in Simple, Subtler, and Subtlest Ways

II.4 Three Kinds of Analysis: Decompositional, Transformative, and Conceptual

II.5 Frege, The First Founding Father of Classical Analytic Philosophy

II.6 Frege’s Project of (Transformative or Reductive) Analysis

II.7 Frege’s Dead End

II.8 Frege’s Semantics of Sense and Reference, aka Meaning

II.9 Some Biggish Problems For Frege’s Semantics

II.10 Husserl, Logic, and Logical Psychologism, aka LP

II.11 What LP is, and its Three Cardinal Sins

II.12 Husserl’s Three Basic Arguments Against LP

II.13 Has Husserl Begged the Question Against LP? Enter The Logocentric Predicament, and a Husserlian Way Out

II. Moore, Brentano, Husserl, Judgment, Anti-Idealism, and Meinong’s World

III.1 G.E. Moore, the Second Founding Father of Classical Analytic Philosophy

III.2 Brentano on Phenomenology, Mental Phenomena, and Intentionality

III.3 Husserl on Phenomenology and Intentionality

III.4 Moore and the Nature of Judgment

III.5 Moore and the Refutation of Idealism

III.6 Meinong’s World

IV. Russell, Unlimited Logicism, Acquaintance, and Description

IV.1 Russell Beyond Brentano, Husserl, Moore, and Meinong

IV.2 Russell and Mathematical Logic versus Kant

IV.3 Russell’s Unlimited Logicist Project

IV.4 Pursued by Logical Furies: Russell’s Paradox Again

IV.5 Russell’s ‘Fido’-Fido Theory of Meaning

IV.6 Knowledge-by-Acquaintance and Knowledge-by-Description

IV.7 Russell’s Theory of Descriptions

IV.8 Russell’s Multiple-Relation Theory of Judgment

IV.9 Russellian Analysis, Early Wittgenstein, and Impredicativity Again

IV.10 Russell and The Philosophy of Logical Atomism

V. Wittgenstein and the Tractatus 1: The Title, and Propositions 1–2.063

V.1 A Brief Synopsis of the Tractatus

V.2 The Tractatus in Context

V.3 The Basic Structure of the Tractatus: A Simple Picture

V.4 Tractarian Ontology

V.5 Reconstructing Wittgenstein’s Reasoning

V.6 What Are the Objects or Things?

V.7 The Role of Logic in Tractarian Ontology

V.8 Colorless Objects/Things

V.9 Tractarian Ontology, Necessity, and Contingency

V.10 Some Initial Worries, and Some Possible Wittgensteinian Counter-Moves

VI. Wittgenstein and the Tractatus 2: Propositions 2.013–5.55

VI.1 What is Logical Space? What is Real Space?

VI.2 Atomic Facts Necessarily Are in Manifest or Phenomenal Space, But Objects or Things Themselves Necessarily Aren’t in Manifest or Phenomenal Space

VI.3 Logical Space is Essentially More Comprehensive than Manifest or Phenomenal Space

VI.4 Why There Can’t/Kant Be a Non-Logical World

VI.5 A Worry About Wittgenstein’s Conception of Logic: Non-Classical Logics

VI.6 What is a Tractarian Proposition?

VI.7 Naming Objects or Things, and Picturing Atomic Facts

VI.8 Signs, Symbols, Sense, Truth, and Judgment

VI.9 Propositions Again

VI.10 Language and Thought

VII. Wittgenstein and the Tractatus 3: Propositions 4–5.61

VII.1 The Logocentric Predicament, Version 3.0: Justifying Deduction

VII.2 The Logical Form of Deduction

VII.3 Logic Must Take Care of Itself

VII.4 Tautologies and Contradictions

VII.5 What is Logic?

VII.6 Logic is the A Priori Essence of Language

VII.7 Logic is the A Priori Essence of Thought

VII.8 Logic is the A Priori Essence of the World

VIII. Wittgenstein and the Tractatus 4: Propositions 5.62–7

VIII.1 Tractarian Solipsism and Tractarian Realism

VIII.2 Tractarian Solipsism

VIII.3 Tractarian Realism

VIII.4 Is the Tractatus’s Point an Ethical One?

VIII.5 The Meaning of Life

VIII.6 Three Basic Worries About the Tractatus

VIII.7 Natural Science and the Worry About the Simplicity of the Objects or Things

VIII.8 Natural Science and the Worry About the Logical Independence of Atomic Facts

VIII.9 Tractarian Mysticism and the Worry About Metaphilosophy

IX. Carnap, The Vienna Circle, Logical Empiricism, and The Great Divide

IX.1 Carnap Before and After the Tractatus

IX.2 Carnap, The Vienna Circle, and The Elimination of Metaphysics

IX.3 The Verifiability Principle and Its Fate

IX.4 The Davos Conference and The Great Divide

X. Wittgenstein and the Investigations 1: Preface, and §§1–27

X.1 From the Tractatus to the Investigations

X.2 The Thesis That Meaning Is Use

X.3 A Map of the Investigations

X.4 The Critique of Pure Reference: What the Builders Did

XI. Wittgenstein and the Investigations 2: §§28–242

XI.1 The Picture Theory and the Vices of Simplicity

XI.2 Wittgenstein’s Argument Against The Picture Theory: A Rational Reconstruction

XI.3 Understanding and Rule-Following

XI.4 Wittgenstein’s Rule-Following Paradox: The Basic Rationale

XI.5 Wittgenstein’s Rule-Following Paradox: A Rational Reconstruction

XI.6 Kripkenstein’s Rule-Following Paradox: Why Read Kripke Too?

XI.7 Kripkenstein’s Rule-Following Paradox: A Rational Reconstruction

XI.8 How to Solve The Paradox: Wittgenstein’s Way and Kripkenstein’s Way

XI.8.1 Wittgenstein and The Rule-Following Paradox: A Rational Reconstruction

XI.8.2 Kripkenstein and The Rule-Following Paradox: A Rational Reconstruction

XII. Wittgenstein and the Investigations 3: §§242–315

XII.1 What is a Private Language?

XII.2 The Private Language Argument: A Rational Reconstruction

XII.3 Is Wittgenstein a Behaviorist? No.

XII.4 Wittgenstein on Meanings, Sensations, and Human Mindedness: A Rational Reconstruction

XIII. Wittgenstein and the Investigations 4: §§316–693 & 174e-232e

XIII.1 Linguistic Phenomenology

XIII.2 Two Kinds of Seeing

XIII.3 Experiencing the Meaning of a Word

XIII.4 The Critique of Logical Analysis, and Logic-As-Grammar

XIV. Coda: Wittgenstein and Kantianism

XIV.1 World-Conformity 1: Kant, Transcendental Idealism, and Empirical Realism

XIV.2 World-Conformity 2: Wittgenstein, Transcendental Solipsism, and Pure Realism

XIV.3 World-Conformity 3: To Forms of Life

XIV.4 The Critique of Self-Alienated Philosophy 1: Kant’s Critical Metaphilosophy

XIV.5 The Critique of Self-Alienated Philosophy 2: Wittgensteinian Analysis as Critique

XV. From Quine to Kripke and Analytic Metaphysics: The Adventures of the Analytic-Synthetic Distinction

XV.1 Two Urban Legends of Post-Empiricism

XV.2 A Very Brief History of The Analytic-Synthetic Distinction

XV.3 Why the Analytic-Synthetic Distinction Really Matters

XV.4 Quine’s Critique of the Analytic-Synthetic Distinction, and a Meta-Critique

XV.5 Three Dogmas of Post-Quineanism

XVI. Analytic Philosophy and The Ash-Heap of History

XVI.1 Husserl’s Crisis and Our Crisis

XVI.2 Why Hasn’t Post-Classical Analytic Philosophy Produced Any Important Ideas in the Last Thirty-Five Years?

XVI.3 On Irad Kimhi’s Thinking and Being, Or, It’s The End Of Analytic Philosophy As We Know It (And I Feel Fine)

XVI.4 Thinking Inside and Outside the Fly-Bottle: The New Poverty of Philosophy and Its Second Copernican Revolution


But you can also read or download a .pdf version of the complete book HERE.


Ludwig Wittgenstein (1889–1951)

X.3 A Map of the Investigations

The thoughts that I publish in what follows are the precipitate of philosophical investigations which have occupied me for the last sixteen years. They concern many subjects: the concepts of meaning, of understanding, of a proposition, of logic, the foundations of mathematics, states of consciousness, and other things…. It was my intention at first to bring all this together in a book whose structure I pictured differently at different times. But the essential thing was that the thoughts should proceed from one subject to another in a natural order and without breaks. After several unsuccessful attempts to weld my results together into such a whole, I realized that I should never succeed. The best that I could write would never be more than philosophical remarks; my thoughts were soon crippled if I tried to force them on in any single direction against their natural inclination. — And this was, of course, connected with the very nature of the investigation. For this compels us to travel over a wide field of thought criss-cross in every direction. — The philosophical remarks in this book are, as it were, a number of sketches of landscapes which were made in the course of these long and involved journeyings. The same or almost the same points were always being approached afresh from different directions, and new sketches made. Very many of these were badly drawn or uncharacteristic, marked by all the defects of a weak draughtsman. And when they were rejected a number of tolerable ones were left, which now had to be arranged and sometimes cut down, so that if you looked at them you could get a picture of the landscape. Thus this book is really only an album. (PI, ixe)

The logical structure of the Investigations is analagous to the structure of a landscape: it cannot be digitally computed and recursively generated, like a decidable theorem in classical truth-functional logic or the monadic fragment of first-order classical predicate logic.

But at the same time, it’s not in any way amorphous.

On the contrary, it is replete with rich logical structure of a non-computable and indeed even unprovable kind.

Its non-classical logical structure can still be mapped.

In light of that fact, and more explicitly now, I want to say that the basic argument- structure of the Investigations has seven distinct logical parts or “regions,” as follows.

First, the main thesis of the book is that linguistic meaning is use, where the concept of use is the conjunction of the sub-concepts of

(i) word-function, or the normatively rule-governed role of words in the whole language, and

(ii) word-application, or the actual deployment of words by the linguistic acts of individual users, in communities, in context.

Second, the fact of linguistic use is then held to be explained by two more primitive facts:

(i) language-games, or basic human linguistic practices, and

(ii) forms of life, or actual living human beings in their actual human communities and their historically-embedded social practices, considered as unified normatively rule- governed bearers of meaning and purpose.

Third, the use theory is then indirectly demonstrated by rejecting four inadequate semantic theories:

(i) Referentialism or ‘Fido’-Fido Semantics,

(ii) The Picture Theory,

(iii) Rule-Based Semantics, and

(iv) Solipsistic Semantics.

Referentialism says that the meaning of a word is nothing but its reference.

Pure Referentialism says that all names are proper names, and the meaning of every basic proper name in a basic proposition (whether a basic singular term or a basic general term — aka, a “concept-word”) is nothing but the referent or bearer of the name, i.e., an absolutely simple individual concrete object or a definite abstract concept or universal.

Wittgenstein‘s rejection of Pure Referentialism primarily appeals to critical arguments based on negative existential propositions and family resemblance concepts.

The Picture Theory says that the meaning of a sentence is nothing but how it isomorphically models an atomic fact or else truth-functional compoundings of such sentences.

Wittgenstein‘s rejection of the Picture Theory primarily appeals to an argument against absolute simples from the impossibility of unique decompositions of macrophysical objects.

And Rule-Based Semantics says that the meaning of any linguistic sign is nothing but a rule for manipulating or operating with that sign in a logical or mathematical calculus, or other non-formalized language-system.

Wittgenstein‘s rejection of Rule-Based Semantics primarily appeals to the Rule Following Paradox.

Solipsistic Semantics says that the meaning of a name, sentence, or other linguistic sign is nothing but a conscious mental representation or “idea” in the mind of an individual speaker of a language.

Wittgenstein‘s rejection of Solipsistic Semantics primarily appeals to The Private Language Argument.

Fourth, the rejections of the four inadequate semantic theories then lead correspondingly to five positive Wittgensteinian theses about meaning:

(1) The meaning of a singular term is a partial function — or a specific contingently-determined set of mappings or “routes” — from language-games employing singular terms and forms of life onto individual objects, and each of these “routes” is literally part of the meaning itself.

(2) Concepts, the meanings of predicate expressions, are family-resemblance networks.

(3) Propositions are pictures of facts only internally to propositional language games and under a relativized ontology of object-samples.

(4) Rule-following is externally normatively justified by communal rule-following practices to which the rule-follower belongs non-cognitively by an “agreement” or Übereinstimmung with other participants in that language-game, which in turn supervenes on the deeper fact that human speakers are necessarily practically and vitally embedded in some or another form of life.

(5) Semantic anti-individualism and semantic externalism both hold for sensation-language.

Fifth, the two positive theses under (5) then conjointly lead to a further four positive theses about the mind:

(5.1) the token privacy of sensations,

(5.2) essential embodiment,

(5.3) sensation personalism, and

(5.4) an activist phenomenology of mental states and processes.

Sixth, these four theses, in turn, conjointly lead to the linguistic phenomenology of seeing (or visual experience), which also has four theses:

(1) There is a basic distinction between direct seeing (seeing-this) and interpretive seeing (seeing-as).

(2) Interpretive seeing requires direct seeing.

(3) Interpretive seeing requires conceptual abilities.

(4) The phenomenon of aspect-blindness entails that direct seeing can occur without any sort of interpretive seeing, hence direct seeing is non-conceptual.

Seventh and finally, these four theses are then extended to the linguistic phenomenology of experiencing the meaning of a word, which completes the whole account by returning full-circle to the meaning-is-use thesis and demonstrating some further positive theses about the concept of use.


Mr Nemo, W, X, Y, & Z, Monday 28 December 2020

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Formerly Captain Nemo. A not-so-very-angry, but still unemployed, full-time philosopher-nobody.

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