Wittgenstein: 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover


1st Edition

By William Child


288 pages

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pub: 2011-04-27
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Ludwig Wittgenstein (1889-1951) is considered by most philosophers - even those who do not share his views - to be the most influential philosopher of the 20th century. His contributions to the philosophy of language, mind, meaning and psychology - as well as to logic, mathematics and epistemology - permanently altered the philosophical landscape, and his Tractatus Logico Philosophicus and Philosophical Investigations continue to be studied in philosophy departments around in the world. In this superb introduction and overview of Wittgenstein’s life and work, William Child discusses:

  • Wittgenstein’s early work, Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus, including his account of language and thought
  • Wittgenstein’s subsequent rejection of some of the central doctrines of the Tractatus
  • Wittgenstein’s later philosophy
  • intentionality and rule-following
  • philosophy of mind and psychology in Philosophical Investigations
  • knowledge and certainty, and Wittgenstein’s final work
  • philosophy of religion
  • the legacy and influence of Wittgenstein’s ideas in philosophy, and beyond.

Including a chronology, glossary, and helpful conclusions to each chapter, Wittgenstein is essential reading for anyone coming to Wittgenstein's philosophy for the first time.


‘This introduction to the work of one of the most important figures in the history of philosophy is both accessible and reliable. Child's lucid prose demystifies Wittgenstein's main ideas and makes intelligible the key transitions in his thought from early to late. Highly recommended.’ – Michael Potter, University of Cambridge, UK

'A profound and illuminating contribution to the Wittgenstein corpus, combining scholarship and readability. Child’s engagement with various theories and themes in Wittgenstein’s writings, along with his attention to background and historical context, makes this an informative and immensely rewarding book.' – Robert Brice, Loyola University, USA

'A pellucid introduction in both style and structure, pitched at just the right level for higher level undergraduates.' - Andy Hamilton, Durham University, UK

Table of Contents

Chronology 1. Life and Works 2. The Tractatus, Language and Logic 3. The Tractatus, Reality and the Limits of Language 4. From The Tractatus to Philosophical Investigations 5. Intentionality and Rule-Following 6. Mind and Psychology 7. Knowledge and Certainty 8. Religion and Anthropology 9. Legacy and Influence. Glossary. Bibliography. Index

About the Author

William Child is a University Lecturer in Philosophy at the University of Oxford, UK, and Fellow & Tutor in Philosophy at University College, Oxford. He is author of Causality, Interpretation, and the Mind (1994), and co-editor (with with David Charles) of Wittgensteinian Themes: Essays in Honour of David Pears (2001).

About the Series

The Routledge Philosophers

Routledge Philosophers is a major series of introductions to the great Western philosophers. Each book places a major philosopher or thinker in historical context, explains and assesses their key arguments, and considers their legacy. Additional features include a chronology of major dates and events, chapter summaries, annotated suggestions for further reading and a glossary of technical terms.

An ideal starting point for those new to philosophy, they are also essential reading for those interested in the subject at any level.

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