In this book, Rupert Read offers the first outline of a resolute reading, following the highly influential New Wittgenstein ‘school’, of the Philosophical Investigations. He argues that the key to understanding Wittgenstein’s later philosophy is to understand its liberatory purport.

Read contends that a resolute reading coincides in its fundaments with what, building on ideas in the later Gordon Baker, he calls a liberatory reading. Liberatory philosophy is philosophy that can liberate the user from compulsive (and destructive) patterns of thought, freeing one for possibilities that were previously obscured. Such liberation is our prime goal in philosophy. This book consists in a sequential reading, along these lines, of what Read considers the most important and controversial passages in the Philosophical Investigations: 1, 16, 43, 95 & 116 & 122, 130–3, 149–151, 186, 198–201, 217, and 284–6. Read claims that this liberatory conception is simultaneously an ethical conception. The PI should be considered a work of ethics in that its central concern becomes our relation with others. Wittgensteinian liberations challenge widespread assumptions about how we allegedly are independent of and separate from others.

Wittgenstein’s Liberatory Philosophy will be of interest to scholars and advanced students working on Wittgenstein, and to scholars of the political philosophy of liberation and the ethics of relation.

chapter |41 pages

0 Introduction

Thinking through Wittgenstein

chapter 1|36 pages

The Philosopher and Temptation

Wittgenstein’s Augustinian Opening Move

chapter 2|30 pages

“It Is as You Please”

PI 16 as an Icon of Wittgenstein’s Philosophy of Freedom

chapter 3|35 pages

What Is (Wittgenstein’s Own Account of) Meaning?

PI 43 and Its Critics

chapter 4|45 pages

When Wittgenstein Speaks of ‘Everyday’ Language, He Means Simply Language

A Liberatory Reading of PI 95–124

chapter 5|18 pages

Objects of Comparison to the Real (Philosophical?) Discovery

Pi 130–133

chapter 6|20 pages

Wittgenstein Dissolves the Know-How vs Knowledge-that Debate

Pi 149–151

chapter 7|34 pages

Logical Existentialism?

An Approach to PI 186

chapter 8|19 pages

The Faux-Freedom of Nonsense

Kripke’s Wittgenstein and Wittgenstein’s Wittgenstein at PI 198–201

chapter 9|18 pages

Overcoming Over-Reliance on ‘The Bedrock’?

On PI 217

chapter 10|30 pages

The Anti-‘Private-Language’ Considerations as a Fraternal and Freeing Ethic

Towards a Re-Reading of PI 284–309

chapter 11|35 pages


(A) Liberating Philosophy