Wittgenstein’s Discussion of “Use of Such a Word as ‘God’”

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The following excursions must first be put in context. In the case of the subject of religion as it appears in Moore’s notes of Wittgenstein’s lectures in 1930–1933 (M), the idea of “context” itself is complicated. There is the issue of where and when (and for how long) in these lectures Wittgenstein spoke about religion, complicated by what we mean by “religion” and other implicit words or subjects thought to be implicated in the topic. There is the matter of how to identify these lectures in general in the saga of “Middle Wittgenstein,” as between the early and later Wittgensteins in general, complicated by the dearth of explicit work by the “other” Wittgensteins on religion. There is the context of interpretative scholarship on Wittgenstein on religion, with complications that are legion – but perhaps no more so than in the general story of Wittgensteinian (over-)interpretation – simply because Wittgenstein on religion has engendered deep disagreements. These contextual offerings are meant, then, to lead us to a sensible reading of those parts of Moore’s notes that do indeed talk about religion and to a tentative thesis on the identifiable character of what Wittgenstein was saying about religion in these lectures.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationWittgenstein in the 1930s
Subtitle of host publicationBetween the Tractatus and the Investigations
PublisherCambridge University Press
Number of pages17
ISBN (Electronic)9781108349260
ISBN (Print)9781108425872
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2018


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