chapter  4
Pages 10

It is often said that Wittgenstein gave us two utterly distinct and contradictory philosophies, issuing from two radically different views of meaning: supposedly, the first of these philosophies, contained in his Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus (1922), comes out of the theory that the meaning of a word is its referent, and the second one, articulated in the Philosophical Investigations (1953), comes out of a use theory of meaning. The main purpose of the present paper is to oppose this picture and to advocate an alternative. I will argue that the basis of Wittgenstein’s thought was always his view of what philosophy is rather than his view of what meaning is. From that perspective we can see the key defect in the Tractatus as a certain relatively small incoherence within its metaphilosophy, and we will be able to explain the central ideas of the Investigations as what emerge when this mistake is rectified. If that is right, then we ought to think of the Tractatus as providing a sort of flawed first draft of his mature position rather than a profoundly different and wholly rejected point of view.