1st Edition

Wittgenstein and Scientism

Edited By Jonathan Beale, Ian James Kidd Copyright 2017
    248 Pages
    by Routledge

    246 Pages
    by Routledge

    Wittgenstein criticised prevailing attitudes toward the sciences. The target of his criticisms was ‘scientism’: what he described as ‘the overestimation of science’. This collection is the first study of Wittgenstein’s anti-scientism - a theme in his work that is clearly central to his thought yet strikingly neglected by the existing literature.

    The book explores the philosophical basis of Wittgenstein’s anti-scientism; how this anti-scientism helps us understand Wittgenstein’s philosophical aims; and how this underlies his later conception of philosophy and the kind of philosophy he attacked.

    An outstanding team of international contributors articulate and critically assess Wittgenstein’s views on scientism and anti-scientism, making Wittgenstein and Scientism essential reading for students and scholars of Wittgenstein’s work, on topics as varied as the philosophy of mind and psychology, philosophical practice, the nature of religious belief, and the place of science in modern culture.

    Contributors: Jonathan Beale, William Child, Annalisa Coliva, David E. Cooper, Ian James Kidd, James C. Klagge, Danièle Moyal-Sharrock, Rupert Read, Genia Schönbaumsfeld, Severin Schroeder, Benedict Smith, and Chon Tejedor.

    Introduction: Wittgenstein and Scientism Jonathan Beale and Ian James Kidd

    1. Scientism as a Threat to Science: Wittgenstein on Self-Subverting Methodologies Chon Tejedor

    2. Superstition, Science, and Life David E. Cooper

    3. Rituals, Philosophy, Science, and Progress: Wittgenstein on Frazer Annalisa Coliva

    4. Wittgenstein’s Anti-scientistic World View Jonathan Beale

    5. Wittgenstein, Scientism, and Anti-Scientism in the Philosophy of Mind William Child

    6. Reawakening to Wonder: Wittgenstein, Feyerabend, and Scientism Ian James Kidd

    7. "Too Ridiculous for Words": Wittgenstein on Scientific Aesthetics Severin Schroeder

    8. How to Think about the Climate Crisis, via Precautionary Reasoning: A Wittgensteinian Case-study in Overcoming Scientism Rupert Read

    9. The Myth of the Quietist Wittgenstein Danièle Moyal-Sharrock

    10. Meaning Scepticism, and Scientism Genia Schönbaumsfeld

    11. Wittgenstein, Science, and the Evolution of Concepts James C. Klagge

    12. Wittgenstein, Naturalism, and Scientism Benedict Smith.




    Jonathan Beale is a Teacher of Philosophy in the Department of Classics, Philosophy and Theology at Queen Anne’s School, Caversham, UK.

    Ian James Kidd is Associate Professor in the Department of Philosophy at the University of Nottingham, UK.

    "[T]his collection is a fine starting point for those interested in understanding the various ways in which Wittgenstein’s remarks both in philosophy and in general can be seen as in large part concerned with a defence against various forms of scientism." - Ryan Manhire, British Wittgenstein Society

    "This wonderful collection of essays helps to put Wittgenstein’s work in a historical and contemporary perspective vis-à-vis important questions about scientism. ... [T]his is a very good volume with which to plunge into the contemporary debates swirling around scientism, in and out of scholarly exchanges."  Mariam Thlaos, Metascience 

    "By bringing together essays written from different perspectives and focusing on different aspects of the issue, [this book] offers a wide-ranging overview not only of its many facets, but also of its complex interrelation with the most profound threads of Wittgenstein's thought. … [I]t is an important contribution that opens up several new vistas onto a familiar, though central, area of Wittgenstein's philosophy." - Anna Boncompagni, Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews 

    "A volume of fascinating and eminently valuable chapters. It successfully highlights the resources Wittgenstein brought to bear in resisting scientism not only within our culture and general world-view, but also in specific activities such as the philosophy of religion, philosophy of mind, philosophy of anthropology, philosophy of language, and aesthetics. Looking forward and further afield, it also indicates a range of ways in which his critique might be developed, and have a bearing on other sites of scientism." - John Preston, University of Reading, UK