Wittgenstein: Readings from his late works

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Course Description: 

The course will be based on a close reading of parts of the Philosophical Investigations and other late work by Wittgenstein. We start by discussing Wittgenstein’s thoughts on the relations of brain and mind, and continue with Wittgensteinian thoughts on the imagination. This will be followed by the main topic of the course, Wittgenstein’s ideas on sensation language and concepts, and on the possibility of meaningful language about private sensations (misleadingly usually called, the private language argument), as contained primarily in PI §§243ff. In the process, we shall learn how to read the Investigations, this most influential philosophical text of the twentieth century.

A visit to the Haus Wittgenstein, the house Wittgenstein designed together with Paul Engelmann for his sister Margarethe Stonborough-Wittgenstein, is also planned.

Learning Outcomes: 

Better knowledge and understanding of Wittgenstein’s insightful and highly influential ideas. Familiarity with the way Wittgenstein’s texts should be read and studied.

A better informed and critical approach to questions in the philosophy of mind and language, and to philosophical methodology more generally.


Term paper of approximately 2500 words, preferably interpreting passages from Wittgenstein’s writings. Students should consult Ben-Yami about the paper’s subject.

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