Skip to content
Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter March 14, 2022

„Unsere Aufgabe ist es nur gerecht zu sein“

Gerichtssaalszenarien in Wittgensteins letzten Schriften

  • Jasmin Trächtler EMAIL logo
From the journal Wittgenstein-Studien


“Our task is merely to be just”: Courtroom Scenarios in Wittgenstein’s Last Writings. As is well known, it was a Parisian court trial that inspired Wittgenstein to write his picture theory of language in the Tractatus logico-philosophicus – but less well known or at least far less reflected, are the courtroom scenarios he himself invented in his last writings, that is the writings dating from 1947 to 1951. There, Wittgenstein repeatedly sketches court proceedings by means of which he challenges the validity of certain statements and modes of expression in the manner of a thought experiment, so it seems as if the courtroom serves to check and rebuke those misleading modes of expression that distort the ordinary use of language and to which we repeatedly let ourselves be tempted when philosophising.

In the following, I will trace the role of these courtroom scenarios in Wittgenstein’s last writings and suggest that they primarily fulfil the methodological function of a touchstone for certain philosophical modes of expression and misleading images, and in this way help to survey the actual use of language. After a brief overview of the occurrences of courtroom scenarios in Wittgenstein’s Nachlass, I will take a closer look at some of these courtroom remarks in his later writings with regard to the modes of expression and misleading images problematised by Wittgenstein: these include the importance of inner processes, the ‘picture of the hidden inner’ as well as Moorean knowledge assertions and ‘unreasonable’ doubts. Based on this, I will finally elaborate on the methodological function of Wittgenstein’s courtroom scenarios.


Baldwin, Thomas: Introduction, in: Thomas Baldwin (Hrsg.): G. E. Moore. Selected Writings, London 1993.Search in Google Scholar

Boncompagni, Anna: Immediacy and Experience in Wittgenstein’s Notion of ‘Imponderable Evidence’, in: Pragmatism Today 9.2 (2018), 94 – 106.Search in Google Scholar

Burghardt, Peter: Was die frühere KZ-Sekretärin gewusst haben könnte, in: Süddeutsche Zeitung, 23. November 2021 (, Zugriff: 12. Dezember 2021).Search in Google Scholar

Fischer, Larissa & Bettina Paul, Torsten Voigt: Wahrheit unter dem Vergrößerungsglas. Vorstellungen von Subjekt und Technik in der Rechtsprechung zur Polygraphie, in: Zeitschrift für Soziologie (2019), 418 – 434.10.1515/zfsoz-2019-0029Search in Google Scholar

Hjorth, Line: Språk, spill og fortellinger i rettssalen. En studie av Orderud-saken, Bergen 2019.10.18261/issn.1504-288X-2019-02-09Search in Google Scholar

Johnston, Paul: Wittgenstein: Rethinking the Inner, London 1993.Search in Google Scholar

Majetschak, Stefan: ‚Eine irreführende Parallele‘. Wittgenstein über Begriffsverwirrung in der Psychologie und die Semantik psychologischer Begriffe, Wittgenstein Studien 11 (2020), 201 – 220.10.1515/witt-2020-0009Search in Google Scholar

Malcolm, Norman: Defending Common Sense, in: The Philosophical Review 58.3 (1949).10.2307/2181851Search in Google Scholar

Moore, George E.: Letter to Malcolm, in: Thomas Baldwin (Hrsg.): G. E. Moore. Selected Writings, London 1993.Search in Google Scholar

Moyal-Sharrock, Danièle: Wittgenstein on Psychological Certainty, in: Danièle Moyal-Sharrock (Hrsg.): Perspicuous Presentations. Essays on Wittgenstein’s Philosophy of Psychology, Hampshire 2007.Search in Google Scholar

Pichler, Alois: Wittgensteins ‚Philosophische Untersuchungen‘. Vom Buch zum Album, Amsterdam 2004.Search in Google Scholar

Schulte, Joachim: Wittgenstein. Eine Einführung, Ditzingen 2016.Search in Google Scholar

Siemer, Deanne: Federal Rules of Evidence with Cues and Signals for Making Objections, Boulder, CO 2020.Search in Google Scholar

Steinke, Ronen: U-Haft für 96 Jahre alte KZ-Sekretärin, in: Süddeutsche Zeitung, 01. Oktober 2021, (letzter Zugriff: 12. 12. 2021).Search in Google Scholar

Strafprozessordnung (StPO, § 391), (letzter Zugriff: 12. 12. 2021).Search in Google Scholar

ter Hark, Michel: Beyond the Inner and the Outer. Wittgensteins Philosophy of Psychology, Dordrecht 1990.10.1007/978-94-009-2089-7Search in Google Scholar

ter Hark, Michel: The Development of Wittgenstein’s Views about the Other Minds Problem, in: Synthese (1991), 227 – 253.10.1007/978-94-011-3552-8_8Search in Google Scholar

ter Hark, Michel: Uncertainty, Vagueness and Psychological Indeterminacy, in: Synthese (2000), 193 – 220.10.1023/A:1005251425277Search in Google Scholar

Trächtler, Jasmin: Wittgensteins Grammatik des Fremdseelischen, Stuttgart 2021.10.1007/978-3-662-64709-7Search in Google Scholar

Weiberg, Anja: Zweifeln können und zweifeln wollen. ‚Über Gewißheit‘ § 217 – 231, in: Christian Kanzian, Sebastian Kletzl, Josef Mitterer & Katharina Neges (Hrsg.): Realism – Relativism – Constructivism. Proceedings of the 38th International Wittgenstein Symposium in Kirchberg, Berlin 2017, 435 – 447.10.1515/9783110524055-033Search in Google Scholar

Weiberg, Anja: ‚12×12=144‘. Psychologische Sicherheit versus logischer Ausschluss des Irrtums in ‚Über Gewißheit‘ am Beispiel des Rechnens, in: Wittgenstein Studien 11 (2020), 271 – 282.10.1515/witt-2020-0013Search in Google Scholar

Published Online: 2022-03-14
Published in Print: 2022-03-14

© 2022 Walter de Gruyter GmbH, Berlin/Boston

Downloaded on 21.2.2024 from
Scroll to top button