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By Daniele Moyal-Sharrock, William H. Brenner

This assortment bargains new essays via eminent students on Wittgenstein's 3rd masterpiece, On simple task . even supposing Wittgenstein's language, and the issues he offers with--the nature of simple ideals, epistemic foundationalism, wisdom, simple task, skepticism--are the following a lot towards conventional philosophy, the exploratory and nonlinear personality of On sure bet make it a tough paintings to penetrate. those essays probe deep into the paintings from 4 assorted ways: the framework studying; the transcendental examining; the healing examining; and the epistemic analyzing. this can be the 1st assortment ever dedicated to On sure bet , and should end up a useful software to students and scholars of Wittgenstein who've so far in basic terms fleetingly ventured past Philosophical Investigations.

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The point he is making here is so important that I should like to elaborate on it by means of an extensive example (my own and not taken from Wittgenstein). It turns on a notion that I will call ‘negational absurdity’. If a young man is counting a large number of chairs in an auditorium and arrives at the number 239 when the correct total would be 240, we can describe the result as a mistake. He followed a normal counting procedure but in carrying it out he went astray somewhere; still, the result was close.

Russell would add that there is nothing logically impossible about this conjecture, though it is false. Wittgenstein would agree that the assertion is not logically impossible, but he would add that it is ‘absurd’. One wishes to say that Why On Certainty Matters 39 it runs counter to everything that we know. So that if a person seriously proposed such an idea we would not say he had made a mistake in his calculations, but that his conception of reality was wildly deviant. In dealing with him, we would treat him analogously to our way of dealing with a paranoid.

24. See Rhees (2003), part II, section XIII. 25. For such an argument on behalf of history see Stroll (1994), 151. 26. This is a major theme of Rhees’ Wittgenstein and the Possibility of Discourse (1998), which contains a detailed critique of the analogy between games and language. 27. See Rhees (1998). 28. As, for example, Bernard Williams does in Shame and Necessity (Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press, 1993). 29. For this tendency, see Cavell (1979). 30. See Churchill (1988).

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