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Wittgenstein's later writings generate a great deal of controversy and debate, as do the implications of his ideas for such topics as consciousness, knowledge, language and the arts.
Oswald Hanfling addresses a widespeard tendency to ascribe to Wittgenstein views that go beyond those he actually held. Separate chapters deal with important topics such as the private language argument, rule-following, the problem of other minds, and the ascription of scepticism to Wittgenstein. Describing Wittgenstein as a 'humanist' thinker, he contrasts his views on language, art humanity and philosophy itself with those of scientifically minded philosophers. He argues that 'the human form of life' calls for a kind of understanding that cfannot be achieved by the methods of emirical science; that consiousness, for example, cannot properly be regarded as a property of the bran; and that the resulting 'problem of consoiusness is an illusion.
Wittgenstein and the Human Form of Life is essential reading for anyone interested in Wittgenstein's approach to what it means to be human. It will be invaluable to all Wittgenstein scholars, and all who are interested in the philosophy of mind, language and aesthetics.
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Oswald Hanfling is a former Professor of Philosophy at the Open University. In addition to his many papers on Wittgenstein, he is the author of several books including Wittgenstein's Later Philosophy (1989) and Philosophy and Ordinary Language (Routledge, 2000).Review:
"This is a most refreshing book. The later work of Wittgenstein is apt to provoke strong reactions, whether of dissent or approbation. The cool and even light that Prof. Hanfling brings to bear on the work serves admirably to correct exaggerated interpretations of all kinds. Overall, the book is a splendid vindication of the author's choice of title. Although not used by Wittgenstein himself, the phrase, 'the human form of life' is here peculiarly apt."
-P.F. Strawson, University College Oxford
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