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Journal of Philosophical Research

Volume 33, 2008

Kevin M. Cahill
Pages 73-99
DOI: 10.5840/jpr_2008_12

Elucidation, Meta-Philosophy, and Hacker’s Use of “External Evidence”

In his paper, “Was He Trying to Whistle It,” P. M. S. Hacker argues that the weight of what he terms the “internal” and “external” evidence shows that the kind of interpretation of the Tractatus put forth by Cora Diamond is wrong. The internal evidence is the Tractatus itself, while the external evidence consists of some of Wittgenstein’s other philosophical writings, letters, and records of his discussions about the book. This paper critically examines the way Hacker uses some of the external evidence in building his case against Diamond and those sympathetic to her approach to the Tractatus. The main goal is not so much to defend the views that Hacker wants to attack, but to argue that given the nature of those views, the manner in which he attempts to use certain pieces of evidence against them is seriously misguided.

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