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PHIL3037 Wittgenstein’s Later Philosophy

Module Overview

Wittgenstein is the most important philosopher of the twentieth century. He offers a sustained critique of many of the most common assumptions underlying much contemporary philosophy of mind and language. He explores, among other things, the questions of how meaning and rule-following are possible, whether I can know even those things that are normally taken for granted – such as that I have hands – and whether there can be such a thing as a 'private language'.

Aims and Objectives

Module Aims

Wittgenstein is the most important philosopher of the twentieth century. He offers a sustained critique of many of the most common assumptions underlying much contemporary philosophy of mind and language. He explores, among other things, the questions of how meaning and rule-following are possible, whether I can know even those things that are normally taken for granted – such as that I have hands – and whether there can be such a thing as a 'private language'. This module aims to introduce you to some of the central ideas in Wittgenstein’s philosophical writings.

Learning Outcomes

Knowledge and Understanding

Having successfully completed this module, you will be able to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of:

  • demonstrate knowledge and understanding of the main themes of Wittgenstein’s writings in his key writings and the issues he addresses.
  • demonstrate understanding of the development of Wittgenstein’s philosophy and the relationship of the issues he discusses to other areas of philosophy.
Transferable and Generic Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • undertake, with appropriate supervision, independent work, including identifying and using appropriate resources.
  • extract key information from difficult texts.
  • work effectively to deadlines.
  • take notes effectively from talks and written materials.
Subject Specific Intellectual and Research Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • present and debate ideas, both orally and in writing, in an open-minded but rigorous way.
  • defend your views with cogent arguments, taking into account possible criticisms.
  • to interpret, synthesise and criticise complex texts and positions.

Syllabus

This module will introduce students to the main themes of Wittgenstein’s philosophical writings. Issues that might be addressed include: the nature of philosophical inquiry, the limitations of philosophical and logical analysis, the method of language-games, the attack on `the Augustinian picture of language’, following a rule, the impossibility of a private language, intentionality, seeing aspects and the correct response to scepticism.

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

Lectures and discussion hours ? Independent study, research and revision ? Discussions with module co-ordinator during office hours or by appointment

TypeHours
Teaching33
Independent Study117
Total study time150

Resources & Reading list

M. McGinn (1997). Routledge Guidebook to Wittgenstein and the Philosophical Investigations. 

L Wittgenstein (1969). The Blue and Brown Books. 

L Wittgenstein (2009). Philosophical Investigations. 

Assessment

Formative

Essay

Summative

MethodPercentage contribution
Essay  (1500 words) 50%
Examination  (90 minutes) 50%

Referral

MethodPercentage contribution
Examination  (120 minutes) %

Repeat Information

Repeat type: Internal & External

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