„Eine irreführende Parallele“

Wittgenstein über Begriffsverwirrung in der Psychologie und die Semantik psychologischer Begriffe

Stefan Majetschak
Stefan Majetschak


“A Misleading Parallel”. Wittgenstein on Conceptual Confusion in Psychology and the Semantics of Psychological Concepts. After the Philosophical Investigations, except for details, were largely finished in 1945, Wittgenstein, in his final years, undertook an intensive study of the grammar of our psychological concepts and the philosophical misinterpretations we often assign to them. Anyone looking through these extensive collections of philosophical remarks will probably quite often find it difficult to understand which questions Wittgenstein was addressing with individual remarks or groups of remarks and where the philosophical problems lay for which he was trying to find a solution, whether therapeutic or otherwise appropriate.

In the article at hand I do not claim to fathom the full range of Wittgenstein’s thoughts on the philosophy of psychology even in the most general way. Rather it is my intention to shed some light on a diagnosis which he made for the psychology of his time. In part 1 of this paper I would like to provide a brief sketch of what Wittgenstein considered to be the conceptual confusion prevalent in psychology and to suggest why he did not expect the methods of an experimental (natural) science to be successful in solving the problems that concern us in psychology. In part 2 I’ll attempt to analyze how psychological concepts, according to Wittgenstein, might be construed in order to avoid any type of conceptual confusion.

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The yearbook is designed as an annual forum for Wittgenstein research. Wittgenstein-Studien [Wittgenstein Studies] publishes articles and materials on Ludwig Wittgenstein’s life, work and philosophy and on his philosophical and cultural environment.