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Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter September 18, 2023

How to Read Wittgenstein as x: An Exercise in Selective Interpretation

  • Thomas J. Brommage

    Sam Houston State University, USA;

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I wish here to outline a new methodology for the history of philosophy, which is inspired from the practice of scholarship on Wittgenstein; I will call it “selective interpretation.” It is a method by which an historical figure is read so as to make any philosopher sound like they completely agree with one’s own personal stand on philosophical issues. First, I seek to systematize a set of rules which will aid one in reading the text any damn way one pleases. The next section lays out these rules, outlining the necessary tools to read any text exactly as you want it to read. In the rest of the paper, I plan to give a few specific examples of selective interpretation of the early Wittgenstein: reading the Tractatus so that it sounds like David Hume, Immanuel Kant and Arthur Schopenhauer, respectively. I hope that my analysis here will be therapeutic to Wittgenstein scholars. And I hope also to help other historians of philosophy come to understand this daring methodological proposal.

About the author

Thomas J. Brommage

Sam Houston State University, USA;


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Published Online: 2023-09-18
Published in Print: 2023-09-18

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