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Wittgenstein as a Common-Sense Realist

Kristóf Nyíri
Published Online: 2017-01-03 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/cpt-2016-0004


The later Wittgenstein is widely held to be a relativist, indeed a constructivist. By contrast, this paper argues that all appearances to the contrary Wittgenstein was a realist, and that this fact becomes almost conspicuous in his late-1940s manuscripts. His realism was a common-sense one, the only kind of realism worthy of the name. Wittgenstein’s common-sense realism has unique traits: first, an uncompromising stress on deviations from ordinary language as a source of (bad) philosophy. Secondly, his awareness of the significance of the pictorial & the motor. Thirdly, his emphasis on established use, that is, on traditions. In the later Wittgenstein, philosophical realism and social conservatism converge.

Keywords: Wittgenstein; pictorial meaning; common-sense philosophy; realism; scepticism


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About the article

Published Online: 2017-01-03

Published in Print: 2017-01-01

Citation Information: Conceptus, Volume 42, Issue 101-102, Pages 51–65, ISSN (Online) 2196-9523, ISSN (Print) 0010-5155, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/cpt-2016-0004.

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