The Wittgensteinian Fallacy

Wittgenstein proposes a philosophy that is more a propaedeutic to a future pluralism than its attainment. Primacy is given to negativity in the dissolution of philosophical problems, despite Wittgenstein’s own critique of Cartesian negativity as global posture of doubt. Ultimately this failure to imagine the transformation of our current forms of life is tied to an implicit Eurocentrism, ignoring or devalorising the actually existing diversity of forms of life.

In Search of an Ideal

Wittgenstein argued that traditional philosophy questions are incoherent and a kind of nonsense. For example, Descartes asks in The First Meditation if the world he is experiencing is an illusion. How does he know he is not dreaming or that an evil demon isn’t deceiving him?

To this Wittgenstein responds: “What nonsense! There is no such thing as experiencing the whole world as an illusion. There are particular illusions: experiencing an oasis in the desert, seeing the stick as bent in the water, etc. But in these cases we can recognize the illusion because overall we know we are experiencing the world. To show someone the bent stick is illusion, you take the stick out of the water. The doubt Descartes considers has no such grounding, and so is ill conceived: it has the outward form of a legitimate doubt, but that itself is an illusion. The doubt is only…

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