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A “RESOLUTE” LATER WITTGENSTEIN?

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Abstract: “Resolute readings” initially started life as a radical new approach to Wittgenstein's early philosophy, but are now starting to take root as a way of interpreting the later writings as well—a trend exemplified by Stephen Mulhall's Wittgenstein's Private Language (2007) as well as by Phil Hutchinson's “What's the Point of Elucidation?” (2007) and Rom Harré's “Grammatical Therapy and the Third Wittgenstein” (2008). The present article shows that there are neither good philosophical nor compelling exegetical grounds for accepting a resolute reading of the later Wittgenstein's work. It is possible to make sense of Wittgenstein's philosophical method without either ascribing to him an incoherent conception of “substantial nonsense” or espousing the resolute readers' preferred option of nonsense austerity. If the interpretation here is correct, it allows us to recognize Wittgenstein's radical break with the philosophical tradition without having to characterize his achievements in purely therapeutic fashion.

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