What is the course about?
Ludwig Wittgenstein had an enormous influence on the way philosophers thought about the nature of human language. This course considers the difference between Wittgenstein’s early and later philosophy, explores some central themes of his Philosophical Investigations and examines the impact of Wittgenstein’s thought on the human sciences, especially sociology.
What will we cover?
Topics will include the relationship between language, thought and reality, the difference between Wittgenstein’s early and later philosophy, ways of understanding the idea that meaning is use, Wittgenstein’s remarks on rules and rule-following, the private language argument, the project of ordinary language philosophy, the relationship between Wittgenstein and other ordinary language philosophers (Gilbert Ryle, J. L. Austin), Peter Winch’s Wittgensteinian critique of sociology, John Heaton’s Wittgenstein’s critique of psychoanalysis, the sociology of human interaction (Ervin Goffman, ethnomethodology) and Wittgenstein’s place in contemporary philosophy.
What will I achieve?
By the end of this course you should be able to...
• explain the difference between Wittgenstein’s earlier and later philosophy
• connect some central themes in Wittgenstein’s later philosophy
• give some examples of Wittgenstein’s impact on the human sciences, especially sociology
• critically assess the Wittgensteinian approach to problems of meaning in philosophy of language and the human sciences.
What level is the course and do I need any particular skills?
This is an introductory course on Wittgenstein for anyone interested in his ideas. If you’ve never studied philosophy before, you may find some of the material challenging. You’ll be encouraged to participate in small group discussion.
How will I be taught, and will there be any work outside the class?
The course will consist of presentations from the tutor and discussion activities. At the end of each session, the tutor will give you something to read in preparation for the next class.
Are there any other costs? Is there anything I need to bring?
When I've finished, what course can I do next?
Please check our website at www.citylit.ac.uk to see what other philosophy courses are on offer.