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„Unsere Aufgabe ist es nur gerecht zu sein“

Gerichtssaalszenarien in Wittgensteins letzten Schriften

Jasmin Trächtler
From the journal Wittgenstein-Studien

Abstract

“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.

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

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