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American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly

Volume 85, Issue 4, Fall 2011


Eric O. Springsted
Pages 547-563
DOI: 10.5840/acpq201185443

The Concept of Mystery and the Value of Philosophy in the Later Wittgenstein

Alasdair MacIntyre has urged a project for philosophers of faith to do philosophy in such a way as to address the deeper human concerns underlying philosophy’s basic questions. This essay examines where Wittgenstein’s later philosophy makes a contribution to that sort of project. It notes the importance of his doctrine of “meaning as use” for thinking philosophically about religion; it is centered in the life-world of religious people. But it also deals with issues arising from Wittgenstein’s view that philosophy should be a sort of conceptual therapy that undoes confusion and leaves everything as it is, i.e., his defactoism. It argues that there is an underlying sense of value. This changes from the Tractatus to the Philosophical Investigations. In the latter, he ultimately shows a commitment to a philosophical value of openness and willingness to transform one’s mind by the discovery of what is given.

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