Graham McFee

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Baker and Hacker without Baker? Wittgenstein: Text and Context
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Everything Goes with Beer

Baker and Hacker without Baker?

[November, 2005] This is a work-in-progress paper I intend to develop for publication. My thought is that Gordon Baker's contribution to Wittgenstein scholarship is being grossly misrepresented in the 'new edition' of what began life as the first volume of his commentary on Philosophical Investigations (written jointly with Peter Hacker) -- this 'new edition' being entirely Hacker's work. And the context of the discussion is that Gordon Baker's death (in 2002) means that he is no longer able to 'fight his corner' here. In effect, my objection is that -- although Hacker could easily have highlighted Baker's objections to the account of Wittgenstein's philosophical project that the 'new edition' contains -- he does not do so. And this is not like dealing with other elements of the secondary literature, discussion of which they had explicitly put aside. For Baker remains on the title page as author. So it would at least be useful to know where Baker's objections might be found. Moreover, the justification Hacker uses for producing the 'new edition' strikes me as inadequate: we lose a text which is a genuine moment in their thinking on Wittgenstein, to replace it with one reflecting only Hacker's present thinking, but with Baker still (apparently) implicated. And, as both paper and 'new edition' make plain, Baker had strong reservations about the account of philosophy (and hence of Wittgenstein) that Hacker had developed -- these disagreements led to his withdrawing from the original project after two volumes.

One consequence of the high level of scholarship in the commentary on Wittgenstein's Philosophical Investigations begun (in 1980) by Gordon Baker and Peter Hacker is that this commentary (deservedly) became a resource for all (or almost all) who wished to take seriously the study of Wittgenstein. That work, and especially that first volume, was the cornerstone of what was (affectionately?: see Baker, 2004 p. 2) termed "B&H". At the least, it offered a shared background for disputes in detail. As time passed, two important changes modified the project: the first was a change both in the general availability of Wittgenstein's Nachlass and in the ease of access to it -- especially given the Bergen/OUP CD-ROM version. This permitted some easy access to some questions about precursors of particular remarks, although (as would be attested by anyone who has used computer programmes as tools for searches of this kind) it was nothing like as straightforward as is sometimes supposed. The second change was the emergent dispute between B and H, leading to Gordon Baker's departure from the project after the second volume (which [recall] was published in 1985 and takes us up to PI §242[1]). A primary explanation of this split resided in irreconcilable differences on how Wittgenstein's philosophical concerns were to be understood; and, crucially, how those concerns were reflected in Wittgenstein's comments about perspicuous representation and about surveyability. For these comments bear centrally on how the project of philosophy was to be understood. This too was of major significance since, given its root in the fundamentals of Wittgenstein scholarship, such a difference between their views was clearly a very serious one. So what should happen next?

          The context for this discussion, then, is the modification of that original scholarly achievement. And, of course, any changes must be seen in the light of Gordon Baker's death in 2002. Moreover, the issues here concern not merely this text, and not merely the vagaries of Wittgenstein scholarship, but how we should regard our relationship (more specifically, our obligations) to the posterity of philosophy.

           As Peter Hacker (2005a p. xiv) now describes it, the first of the changes noted above lies behind his decision to 're-issue' the first volume of that commentary (now split into a volume of essays [Hacker, 2005a] and a volume of exegesis [Hacker, 2005b]), in a " second edition, extensively revised", where this new edition reflects exclusively Hacker's " understanding of Wittgenstein's philosophy and interpretations of his text" (Hacker, 2005a p. xiv). Further, Hacker (2005a p. xiv) plainly states that " Gordon Baker bears no responsibility for the many changes I have made". The problem, of course, is that -- in thus reflecting the first of the changes noted above -- the text puts aside the second: but it does so while leaving Baker's name on the title page.

           I will come shortly to some key differences with Baker which, to my mind, Hacker leaves insufficiently acknowledged (and with insufficient references). But it is worth recognising the difficulty of his problem: much of the scholarly work in the exegesis and some of the material retained in the essays (for instance, in the essay on "Explanation") is the result of the earlier joint endeavour of B&H. Clearly Baker's contributions here could not with justice simply be set aside. And this difficulty would be intensified in proportion to one's taking seriously Hacker's repeated acknowledgement in other places (too) of his debt to Baker. How best to give due weight to Baker's contribution and to his (positive) influence here? For, as it stands, this 'revised' work (in both volumes: Hacker, 2005a, 2005b) is substantially a text by Hacker. The possibility apparently considered when the idea of a revised edition was mooted, to " leave the original text as it stood" (Hacker, 2005a p. xiv) where no mutually agreeable solution could be found, was clearly impractical once Gordon's illness (and subsequent death) precluded his taking any role in the new project. Therefore acting on their agreement have precluded any changes. And it is these facts that Hacker recognises, in moving towards the new version. As he grants, the guiding light there will be pure Hacker: it will be 'all his own work'. Then retaining Gordon on the title page just acknowledges his contribution to the project in its original phase. Yet that will mean that the fundamental differences between the original authors will be given no explicit place in these volumes. So this is a text where -- if one consults, for instance, -- a (or the) primary author would have been profoundly unhappy at the content of an obviously new work. And that cannot be 'justice' either.

           In discussions with me, Gordon Baker identified some ways in which -- from his perspective -- the exegesis sections from the first volume of commentary were deficient in detail: for instance, they failed to distinguish single-quotes from double-quotes in ways Gordon had come to see (if he hadn't initially) were pernicious for our understanding of a meticulous writer like Wittgenstein. [In fact, he typically presented this to me as a battle he had failed to fight (or, anyway, win) with the publishers.] But these were not really fundamental issues.

           When one turns to the essays, however, far more must be said: here the disputes with Hacker concerned issues that were fundamental for any reading which granted Wittgenstein's importance. And this was an area where (for Gordon) the B&H commentary has gone astray. For instance, the conception of philosophy presented there -- in particular, in the essay of that title -- was (Gordon thought) demonstrably not Wittgenstein's. And if there was one place in the early sections of PI where this was crucial, it was in respect of the idea of perspicuous representation, or übersicht, and the corresponding 'requirement' for surveyability. [There was a yet more important, if later, case: the so-called Private Language Argument -- Gordon became a tireless critic of what he took to be fundamental misreadings of the intention behind, and direction of, the passages in PI. And a major target of these criticisms (perhaps unsurprisingly) was the volume of the commentary on PI in which Hacker developed his account of PLA (see Baker, 1998 p. 326 note, p. 331 note). Luckily, much of that material is readily available in Baker's book Wittgenstein's Method: Neglected Aspects (Baker, 2004) and articles (such as Baker, 1998) -- although I doubt references to it will now be introduced into the commentary.]

           A key point here: in the new edition we are not told the substance (or even the gist) of Baker's argument against the 'B&H' view of perspicuous representation: perhaps this is understandable, if Hacker regards that argument as misconceived. For a guiding light of the commentary had been that the 'secondary-lterature' disputes should not feature. But that line of reasoning seems so much weaker when the 'secondary source' at issue is the dissenting voice of one the authors! More importantly, we are not directed to where Baker's argument on these points might be found (or even reminded [from Hacker, 2005a p. xvii] that it is in the public domain). Yet it was initially published in a widely cited collection from 1991 (and thereafter reprinted in Baker, 2004 pp. 22-51). The upshot: the reader is not offered a way to fill in this gap. And all this despite Baker appearing as an author (in the end, the first author) of this text, as reflected in its title page, ISBN reference, and such like.

           Now, Hacker (2005a p. xvii) does explicitly recognise that the discussion of perspicuous representation " aroused grave doubts and misgivings in Gordon Baker". However, as I shall show, the new text displays scant regard for these concerns, claiming that, in the "extensively revised" edition, the new essay on this topic " supports the old interpretation with detailed evidence from the Nachlass" (Hacker, 2005a p. xvii). But (as we will see) much of what is offered is not detailed and not (strictly) from the Nachlass. Still, there is reiteration of the view on which Wittgenstein's philosophy is characterised by " clarification of conceptual problems by descriptions of grammar and by comparative grammatical morphology" (Hacker, 2005a p. 333). In particular, this view is to be contrasted with those places where Wittgenstein stresses or constructs " objects of comparison" (Hacker, 2005a p. 332). Thus, this view might be accurately characterised as one where:

the general aim of the philosopher must be to produce surveyable descriptions of the uses of words which have a high degree of comprehensiveness and which can therefore be employed to clarify sizeable domains of grammar and to dissolve many different philosophical problems all at once. (Baker, 2004 p. 26)

This version of the nature of the philosophical project, and hence of perspicuous representation, reflects a fundamental and pervasive feature of the reading of Wittgenstein by Hacker that these volumes (Hacker, 2005a; Hacker, 2005b) instantiate. And one Baker would reject.

           How can sufficient of that complexity be introduced so that we might contest it, without discussing all of the material in a long and complex text? Or, more exactly, a pair of them?

           In fact, the issue can be raised by focusing on one topic: that is, considering whether, on Hacker's view, " Wittgenstein left room for a positive role for philosophy that stands in contrast [to] and supplements its predominantly negative or therapeutic task" (Baker, 2004 p. 26). At the least, what is at issue generates a particular view of the therapeutic nature of philosophy -- one which Wittgenstein sometimes drew by comparison with psychoanalysis. And Baker in turn had drawn, in his reading of Wittgenstein, on passages found among Waismann's papers (now published in Voices of Wittgenstein [ed. Baker]: VoW[2]) -- although Baker's account explained the Wittgensteinian pedigree of these ideas. Then one way of taking these passages suggests a reading of Wittgenstein deeply antithetical to Hacker. For these passages can be read as including both a presentation of a radical version of the therapeutic conception of philosophy and (sustaining and explaining it) a comparison with psychoanalysis. And Hacker is keen to minimise the impact of such a comparison. For that conception will make philosophical dispute much more occasion-specific, and less concerned with an abstract version of the identification of nonsense, than (as we shall see) Hacker supports. This, then, grounds many of the disputed details. So, in these volumes, much of the material generated is apparently directed against ideas from Waismann -- although without the reason being made explicit. And that reason, of course, is that Gordon Baker thought these passages revealing of an aspect of Wittgenstein's conception of philosophy regularly neglected. But Hacker clearly rejects this reading; and one of his tools is (implicitly) to reject the argument for the Wittgensteinian pedigree of these passages by presenting Waismann (in his later writing, at least) as seeking to offer a picture of philosophy to contrast with Wittgenstein's. Thus, in another place, Hacker (1996 p. 312 note 90) writes:

"Since this conception [of philosophy] was propounded deliberately in opposition to Wittgenstein, it is striking to find it currently being revived and attributed to Wittgenstein, by, e.g., G P Baker "

A key element of this conception of philosophy can be brought out through its relation to psychoanalysis, since (in a passage dictated to Waismann) Wittgenstein wrote that "[o]ur method resembles psychoanalysis in a certain sense" (VoW p. 69). Here, we should be struck by the shared expression ("our method") and go on to ask in what sense that method in philosophy resembles psychoanalysis.

           Yet Hacker thinks that this reference to psychoanalysis -- perhaps any such reference -- is misplaced. If he can demonstrate that, he will have offered a different background to any 'therapeutic' reading of Wittgenstein. And, for Hacker, this is evident from Wittgenstein's own treatment of such a comparison. Thus, as Hacker (2005a p. 287) reports, Wittgenstein could " become exceedingly angry when Wisdom and Ayer exaggerated the psychoanalytic analogy and attributed it, thus exaggerated, to him".

           But is this in fact a rejection of this 'analogy' (as Hacker both suggests and requires)? As we have it explained here, surely this remark has more to do with the mistaken (because exaggerated) character of the view thus attributed, and hence with the exaggeration here, than with anything else. As we know from the "Preface" to PI, Wittgenstein was irritated that his ideas " more or less mangled or watered down" were put about by others. [Compare here Malcolm (1958 p. 57) where Wittgenstein complains that his friends regard him as " 'Vogelfrei', as an outlaw, a bird at whom anyone had a right to shoot".] Perhaps, too, his objection relates to the ways in which an object of comparison might be treated by others as though it had an exact congruence -- so that, having acknowledged a comparison, profitable on some occasions or for some purposes, Wittgenstein then finds himself confronted with others claiming (on his authority) that this was more than a comparison. [Compare Keynes as reported in Bouwsma's Conversations (1986) p. 36.] Again, the problem here is then with the misunderstanding or misuse of the comparison. So this shows us nothing about the plausibility of some analogy -- or something similar -- here. Indeed, Hacker (2005a p. 287) approximately quotes Wittgenstein (MS 138a, 17a) to the effect that, in writing in this way, these authors " flaunt the keys that they have stolen but they can't open any locks with them." Yet, of course, this does not say that these are not keys (in the right hands), but only that they do not so function in these expositions. Further, this remark implicitly attributes the keys correctly used to Wittgenstein (from whom -- as he sees it -- they have been stolen).

           On the basis of this evidence, then, there is no reason to suppose that Wittgenstein rejected some 'analogy' here -- indeed, if the account Hacker gives is accurate, it shows rather more. For, as Hacker describes it, the objection is clearly not to this analogy as such: rather it is to the exaggeration. And Wittgenstein need not have put his point that way: he could easily have rejected the whole analogy, root-and-branch, had he thought there was nothing in it. So this cannot provide a basis for Hacker's conclusion.

           In elaboration, I would offer three or four points here: the first is simply to repeat that this discussion by Hacker is just a concealed attack on the views of Gordon Baker -- and I (for one) object to this indirect targetting! (At least Hacker was more explicit elsewhere: see the passage from Hacker, 1996 p. 312 note 90, quoted earlier.) And I resent this especially since its character as an attack is barely acknowledged here; and since Gordon cannot confront it himself. Moreover, his name on the title page might make Gordon seem complicit in this line of objection. Then, second, we should be aware that the context of Hacker's discussion is his claim that Wittgenstein " argues that certain positions, certain putative doctrines, make no sense" (Hacker, 2005a p. 287): in this way it presents Wittgenstein's philosophy as policing sense. Even were this granted (contrast Baker, 2004 p. 1), the difficulty would still be to see whether these positions make no sense (punkt) or whether they make no sense as answers to questions to which their proponents take them to be addressed -- that is, where the senselessness (or otherwise) is itself contextual. For this latter view does not, as the former does, conflict with an emphasis on the therapeutic nature of philosophy, understood as contextually specific. And that is one key difference here between Baker and Hacker. (To be more blunt, this emphasis on making sense does not support Hacker in his battle with Baker.)

           And what of Hacker's evidence here? Again, it is inconclusive. For example, Hacker (2005a p. 321) quotes LA 29, in speaking of "certain comparisons -- grouping together of certain cases". But, first, these remarks from LA are ambiguous in precisely the crucial or disputed way noted above -- are these permanent comparisons or merely comparisons for some purpose or on some occasion? This passage does not tell us. And we might see Hacker endorsing one reading, Baker the other (respectively). Then, second, this is a passage from students' notes: it does lack just the kind of the specificity we might have expected to find lacking here. For it misses just those modal qualifications, such as "Here I might say ", which pepper Wittgenstein's own writings. So the source too is at best ambiguous[3]. (In fact, we might feel that, if the extant version in LA seems to coincide better with Hacker's view, this might even be evidence for Baker's view, given the provenance of these remarks: the students might miss out precisely those contextualisations Wittgenstein's own writing suggest are key.)

           The third point asks whether Wittgenstein was as opposed to the psychoanalytic comparison (for philosophy) as Hacker takes his exasperation with (say) Ayer or Wisdom to indicate. Well, we know this was a doctrine Wittgenstein once thought important: as quoted previously, he dictated to Waismann that "[o]ur method resembles psychoanalysis in a certain sense" (VoW p. 69). Could he have given up this idea entirely? That strikes me prima facie implausible. Instead, his biography shows that it was a kind of account he continued to deploy. For instance, speaking in the USA in 1949 to O. K. Bouwsma -- clearly both a perceptive reader of Wittgenstein and one thought perceptive by Wittgenstein (who once described himself as " good enough to eat apple-sauce with a philosopher": Malcolm, 1958 p. 98) -- Wittgenstein " had himself talked about philosophy as in certain ways like psychoanalysis" (Bouwsma, 1986 p. 36). Moreover these comments mention a text, which we take to be TS 220, a pre-war version of PI (compare Baker, 2004 p. 219 note 4). Bouwsma's notes report the conversation as follows:

When he became a professor at Cambridge he submitted a typescript to the committee Of 140 pages, 72 were devoted to the idea that philosophy is like psychoanalysis. (Bouwsma, 1986 p. 36)

In reality, that typescript is, of course, not as specifically about the comparison with psychoanalysis as Bouwsma's account relates: but, clearly, this is the impression of it that Wittgenstein left with him. There is no suggestion here (at least) that this was a view Wittgenstein wished to repudiate entirely. For he must have both recognised Bouwsma's understanding and been in a position to contradict (or elaborate) it, had he wanted to. And this was discussion from 1949: that is, from late in Wittgenstein's life. So the biographical information suggests that this comparison was not something for wholesale rejection: then we are left with consideration of the degree to which (or, better, the places where) this was a profitable comparison.

           One segment of Hacker's argument here (in both Hacker, 2005a p. 323 and Hacker, 1996 p. 312 note 90, where he is much blunter) is (a) that Waismann stressed this analogy (for instance, in HISP) and (b) that, as above, this was done " to stake out Waismann's own distinctive position" (Hacker, 2005a p. 323 note) -- that is, to distinguish his position from Wittgenstein's. Yet was this conception so clearly and distinctly not Wittgenstein's? Now, it would obviously be a mistake to simply read back into Wittgenstein the upshot of remarks in Waismann (even when the remarks are based on Wittgenstein's dictations) -- as is often done with Waismann's remarks on open texture[4]. But that does not mean that nothing is ever learnable here from Waismann's texts. As Baker (2004 p. 179) points out, much of this material in Waismann is " very closely based on material which Wittgenstein dictated to Waismann during the period 1931-1935", material to which we now have access through PLP (better, LSP) and VoW. So it had clearly begun life with Wittgenstein. And where (as here[5]) these passages suggest little input from Waismann, it does make sense to attribute the ideas to Wittgenstein (at least tentatively). For (even when we come to HISP[6]), we know already that Waismann was trying to state as bluntly as possible an account of 'our method' which Wittgenstein had been content to leave implicit in the practice of philosophical investigation. So this alone might explain some (apparent) difference of emphasis[7]. Then the discussion with Bouwsma suggests Wittgenstein still thought the comparison valuable. So we should not preclude seeing Wittgenstein's incursions into philosophy in that light.

           This takes us to the final (fourth) point: that what Waismann offered (or, better, what Wittgenstein first presented) was more than a mere analogy -- rather, it was "a revolutionary programme" (Baker, 2004 p. 179) for philosophy, a programme Wittgenstein had seen -- at least at one time -- as "our method" (VoW p. 69). And the heart of that method was the therapeutic conception: as Baker (2004 p. 181) puts it:

'Our method' is radically therapeutic. It is a method for treating thinkers and their troubles, not abstract problems, confusions or nonsense.

The outcome of such a conception is to make philosophical issues context-specific, purpose-specific, and even person-specific. So that Baker's (later) conception of Wittgenstein's project grew from exactly those ideas which Hacker sought to put aside. And, of course, one distinctiveness of "our method" is that there is no implication here that this was the method in philosophy, or a method regularly used (if all unnoticed) by philosophers of the past. But, of course, this is precisely to record a conception of philosophy that (as we have seen) is not how Hacker views the project of philosophy!

           For, to elaborate, the comparison with psychoanalysis generates a view on which philosophy (at least as deployed through "our method") " focuses on individuals" (Baker, 2004 p. 181). And then one cannot simply be dismissing, as a position making no sense, what those individuals are drawn to ask or urge. For the motivations for the utterances were not grounded in philosophical puzzlement. Instead, we must do justice to the 'propositions' of those considered, exploring whether or not -- as understood by their 'authors' -- they are being treated in ways that generate philosophical perplexity: that is, whether they do in fact, not whether they might in principle. And this will be so even when (as with Heidegger's "The Nothing noths": discussed VoW p. 69) the claims seem inherently problematic (Baker, 2004 p. 208). Moreover, this consideration cannot mean saying simply, "These are nonsense". [I am reminded of John Wisdom (1963 p. v) pointing out the limitation of one simply noting that certain views are false or nonsensical:

Anyone who as soon as he has noticed this gives no more attention to these propositions or the arguments which have been adduced for them will do as little philosophy as I do in Problems of Mind and Matter.

The implication was that this was not much philosophy!] Rather, we must attend to what contrasts and comparisons the author meant to draw, even if his utterance brings them out rather badly. So that, when a remark could be read as embodying a mistaken dualism, we must consider if it should be so read. Doing so will make better sense of those passages where Wittgenstein does not simply dismiss kinds of dualism. Moreover, suppose comparative devices such as analogies, similes and the like " are pivotal both in the genesis and in the cure of diseases of the understanding" (Baker, 2004 p. 187): that is, suppose the point were sometimes to shake off the 'gravitational pull' of one picture or analogy simply by acknowledging another one -- so that we no longer take the first as 'necessary' or 'obvious' or 'natural'. Even without taking this line, we are already along the path to enlightenment in recognising diversity here. Indeed, the context of such-and-such a particular claim, and what we take to follow from it, must be contrasted (and compared) with others that might be made in the same words. For what might, in some circumstances, be misleading need not actually mislead. Further, this picture of philosophy works against the view that there are some fixed (yet nonsensical) positions into which we either fall or do not. But, if this is right, the claims of persons (especially in respect of their own actions) will rarely be nonsense punkt but only become nonsense in respect of this question or in this context; or when extended into a new domain. And such contextualism is one dimension of Baker's difference from Hacker.

           Many of these differences might seem fairly subtle until one tries to 'run' with them in practice. For, on the Baker reading, it makes sense to find someone speaking of, say, the importance of images or of the kinaesthetic for the understanding of dance or music, and to ask:

How then do we explain to someone what it means "to understand music"? By naming the images, kinaesthetic sensations, etc. experienced by someone who understands? Morelikely, by pointing out the expressive movements of one who understands (CV p. 80; MS 137 20b; 15 Feb. 1948)

Then the force of the "more likely" will be that sometimes even that way of explaining musical understanding - which Wittgenstein earlier spoke of as involving banalities - is appropriate. So the quoted remark is a criticism in some contexts of occasions in which terms like "image", "kinaesthetic sensation" are deployed. (and we could go on to say something about which). But it is not a criticism of every occasion of the deployment of terms like these. Rather, if appeal to these conceptions is sometimes misplaced, it follows -- from the logic of "more likely" -- that sometimes it is not: hence, there will be occasions where this will be a perfectly satisfactory account. Then this whole picture will be occasion-specific. But if Wittgenstein is willing to grant this kind of contextual difference, and to this degree, it will be hard for the Hacker interpretation to maintain that Wittgenstein's primary concern is with a conception of a fixed 'perspicuous representation' of our concepts, suitable for all occasions. And that had been Baker's point (see, for instance, Baker, 2004 p. 41-44). Instead, we would be moving towards the thought that such perspicuous representation was context-specific and perplexity-specific: that it would be "a representation that makes perspicuous what is represented" (Baker, 2004 p. 42) with "[t]he criteria of success strictly relative to particular situations" (Baker, 2004 p. 43). And, of course, this is just what the (for Hacker) rejected psychoanalytic model of therapy would generate.

           Fundamental to my concern here is the view posterity might take if a judicious assessment of the commentary on PI were requested, faced with a final "B&H" composed (as this is) almost entirely of H -- especially on fundamental issues. That relates (again) to, as it were, the spine of the books, and especially the volume containing the essays. On the basis of these volumes, I can see posterity awarding laurels to Baker for views he thought not merely mistaken but positively pernicious. So this does no justice to the realities of authorship. But just such a verdict has the title page of the book on its side. So I concluded that, possibly in a misguided spirit of generousity towards a former fellow-worker and friend, Hacker has saddled Baker's name with a huge amount of text the substance of which he (Baker) would have rejected. Certainly the best thing here would be to remove Baker's name from this text -- as well, at least, from any reworking of the second volume of 'their' commentary, Wittgenstein: Rules, Grammar and Necessity (Blackwell, 1985). Moreover I would be less concerned if I did not think that same posterity deserved the best, and most authoritative, version of the commentary on PI: that seems a necessary step in any rehabilitation of Wittgenstein. At the least, posterity should know clearly what it is reading --  and, ideally, the mature views of those listed as the text's authors should at least be referenced. For one wants to be fair, not only to Wittgenstein, but also to Gordon Baker. And, while these texts might make both problematic, they certainly mislead to an unacceptable degree anyone to thinks to find Baker's later views in them. (At least the first version fits into a broad periodisation of his work, of the kind presented in Baker, 2004 pp. 1-2.) Moreover, while that point invites us to consider the complex question of how best to do justice to Wittgenstein, I cannot approach that here. Yet, if I did, it would certainly be in a style learned from Baker's work. Here, then, I see myself as an advocate of B (and hence of the importance, for Wittgenstein studies, of Baker, 2004): but it is important to consider the footprints we leave for posterity. In that light, I continue to prefer B&H to H alone. And I hope this discussion explains why[8].


 [1]        Throughout, standard abbreviations to primary and secondary Wittgenstein sources are used. In particular,

         · Wittgenstein, 1953 [2001] cited as "PI";

         · Wittgenstein, 1993 cites as "PO";

         · Student notes published as Wittgenstein, 1966 cited as "LA";

         · Exerpts published as Wittgenstein, 1994 cited as "CV".

[2]        Throughout standard abbreviations to works by Waismann: in particular;

         · Waismann, 1965 [2nd Ed. 1996] cited as "PLP" ;

         · Waismann, 1968 cited as "HISP";

         · Waismann, 1976 cited as "LSP";

         · Wittgenstein & Waismann, 2003 cited as "VoW".

[3]        Hacker (2005a p. 331) takes certain remarks to be "subsequently repudiated", giving the reference to the exegesis of §122: but, of course, that is his exegesis -- so this is at best repetition of the point, not new evidence. But the details given (Hacker, 2005b pp. 261-264) do not decide the matter either way. Thus, for instance, MS 116 p. 55 (quoted Hacker, 2005b p. 264) requires: "The complete overview of everything that may produce unclarity". Yet what is thus required would be far from a complete overview if we regard the unclarity at issue as some person's unclarity.

[4]        One culprit here was Morris Weitz, especially in writing in aesthetics - see Weitz, 1977. For discussion, see McFee, 2003.

[5]        Waismann called this document a dictation for Schlick; and its pedigree is implicit in its place (as DS 302) in Von Wright's catalogue of Wittgenstein's work: PO p. 492.

[6]        The relationship between some of Waismann's HISP material and LSP may be important here: see VoW pp. xxx. We know, for instance, that when Waismann first came to England, he had " several chapters [of LSP translated] into English for him to read as lectures or papers" (PLP [2nd Ed, 1996] p. xvii), and that he continued to drawn on, and work on, this material. Indeed, some of the papers published in HISP are more or less transcriptions from LSP.

[7]        Two points: (a) it may be that no exceptionless account can be given -- still, we might see Waismann as trying, even if the task was hopeless; (b) none of this speaks to the personal relationsbetween Wittgenstein and Waismann, which had deteriorated markedly.

[8]        My thanks to Rupert Read for his suggestions, especially in respect of the last paragraph (where I have adopted a few of his formulations); and to Katherine Morris for discussion of some of the issues embodied here.



Baker, Gordon "The Private Language Argument" Language and Communication Vol. 18, 1998 pp. 325-356.

Baker, Gordon Wittgenstein's Method: Neglected Aspects. Oxford: Blackwell, 2004.

Bouwsma, O. K. Wittgenstein: Conversations 1949-1951. Indianapolis: Hackett, 1986.

Hacker, Peter Wittgenstein's Place in Twentieth-Century Philosophy. Oxford: Blackwell, 1996.

Hacker, Peter Wittgenstein: Understanding and Meaning (Part I -- Essays) [Second Edition, Extensively Revised]. Oxford: Blackwell, 2005a.

Hacker, Peter Wittgenstein: Understanding and Meaning (Part II -- Exegesis §§1-184) [Second Edition, Extensively Revised]. Oxford: Blackwell, 2005b.

Malcolm, Norman Ludwig Wittgenstein: A Memoir. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1958.

McFee, Graham "Art, Essence and Wittgenstein" in S. Davies (ed.) Art and Essence. Westport, CT: Praeger, 2003 pp. 17-38.

Weitz, Morris The Opening Mind. Chicago: University of Chicago, 1977.

Waismann, Fredrich The Principles of Linguistic Philosophy. London: Macmillan, 1965.[2nd Edition (ed. Gordon Baker) 1996]

Waismann, Fredrich How I See Philosophy. London: Macmillan, 1968.

Waismann, Fredrich Logik, Sprache, Philosophie. Stuttgart: Reclam, 1976.

Wisdom, John Problems of Mind and Matter. [1934] (Paperback Edition) Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1963.

Wittgenstein, Ludwig Philosophical Investigations. Oxford: Blackwell, 1953 (50th Anniversary edition: 2001)

Wittgenstein, Ludwig Lectures and Conversations on Aesthetics, Psychology and Religious Belief. [ed. C. Barrett] Oxford: Blackwell, 1966.

Wittgenstein, Ludwig Philosophical Occasions (edited J. Klagge & A. Nordmann. Indianapolis: Hackett Publishing Company, 1993.

Wittgenstein, Ludwig Culture and Value. [revised edition] Oxford: Blackwell, 1994.

Wittgenstein, Ludwig & Waismann, Fredrich Voices of Wittgenstein. [ed. G. Baker] London: Routledge, 2003.


November, 2005


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