Logic and Philosophy of Logic in Wittgenstein

This essay discusses Wittgenstein’s conception of logic, early and late, and some of the types of logical system that he constructed. The essay shows that the common view according to which Wittgenstein had stopped engaging in logic as a philosophical discipline by the time of writing Philosophical Investigations is mistaken. It is argued that, on the contrary, logic continued to figure at the very heart of later Wittgenstein’s philosophy; and that Wittgenstein’s mature philosophy of logic contains many interesting thoughts that have gone widely unnoticed.

Published in Australasian Journal of Philosophy 96/1 (2018), 168–82             

The Importance of Understanding Each Other in Philosophy

What is philosophy? How is it possible? This essay constitutes an attempt to contribute to a better understanding of what might be a good answer to either of these questions by reflecting on one particular characteristic of philosophy, specifically as it presents itself in the philosophical practice of Socrates, Plato and Wittgenstein. Throughout this essay, I conduct the systematic discussion of my topic in parallel lines with the historico-methodological comparison of my three main authors. First, I describe a certain neglected aspect of the Socratic method. Then, exploring the flipside of this aspect, I show that despite the fact that both Socrates and Wittgenstein understand their philosophical approaches as being essentially directed at the particular problems and modes of understanding that are unique to single individuals, they nevertheless aspire to philosophical understanding of the more ‘mundane’ kind that is directed at the world. Finally, interpreting parts of Plato’s dialogues Phaedrus and Laches, I further develop my case for seeing the role of mutual understanding in philosophy as fundamentally twofold, being directed both at the individual and what they say (the word), and at things that are ‘external’ to this human relation at any particular moment of philosophical understanding (the world).

Published in Philosophy 90/2 (2015), 213–39

Wittgenstein on Gödelian ‘Incompleteness’, Proofs and Mathematical Practice

(co-authored with Wolfgang Kienzler)

This essay argues that Wittgenstein’s philosophical perspective on Gödel’s most famous theorem is even more radical than has commonly been assumed. Wittgenstein shows in detail that there is no way that the Gödelian construct of a string of signs could be assigned a useful function within (ordinary) mathematics. — The focus is on Appendix III to Part I of Remarks on the Foundations of Mathematics. The present reading highlights the exceptional importance of this particular set of remarks and, more specifically, emphasises its refined composition and rigorous internal structure.

Published in Wittgenstein and the Creativity of Language, Sebastian Sunday Grève and Jakub Mácha, eds, Palgrave Macmillan (2016), 76–116

© 2019 Sebastian Sunday Grève