Philosophical Topics

Volume 42, Issue 2, Fall 2014

Contemporary Tractatus

Kelly Dean Jolley
Pages 101-127

Resolute Reading

What is it to read Wittgenstein resolutely? In this essay, I make a suggestion about how to answer that question. I backtrack in time to a debate about Philosophical Investigations (PI) between O. K. Bouwsma and Gilbert Ryle. I selectively reconstruct that debate, highlighting features of it that I take to be interesting in their own right and in relation to debates about PI, but also interesting in analogy with debates about resolute and standard readings of Tractatus logico-philosophicus (TLP). As will be clear, my sympathies are with Bouwsma against Ryle, and with resolute readers against standard readers. But I do not vindicate Bouwsma; I will, in fact, be critical, carefully or guardedly critical of him. Nor do I vindicate resolute reading of TLP. I suggest a way of seeing resolute reading that makes clearer what it is and how it contrasts with standard reading, and, in so doing, that makes clearer what some of the difficulties of the debate between the readings really are, whether about TLP or about PI.