[SydPhil] Seminar: David Macarthur, Wittgenstein: Philosophy as Imaginative Therapy, 6 June 2018

PhilosophyatWesternSydney philosophy at westernsydney.edu.au
Tue May 29 09:48:35 AEST 2018

Philosophy @ Western Sydney – Seminar

David Macarthur (The University of Sydney) — “Wittgenstein: Philosophy as Imaginative Therapy”

A widespread image of Wittgenstein in the secondary literature is of a philosopher who produced some remarkable ideas and thought-experiments but whose methodological commitment to theoretical quietism – that is, philosophy’s aim being to describe rather than explain – stood in the way of his developing these ideas into any kind of worked-out theoretical system. The ideas are, by now, very familiar – what following a rule consists in, family resemblance concepts, seeing-as, non-descriptive uses of concepts, the normativity of concept use, anti-essentialism, etc. But since these promising ideas are wielded into no general theory or system of constructive philosophy many have had the sense that, as Simon Blackburn puts it, “Wittgenstein seems to leave unfinished business”. Indeed many philosophers see a tension between the development of these ideas – which appear to them to be proto-doctrines of a proto-theory – and Wittgenstein’s explicitly avowed quietism.
The present paper aims to present an entirely different conception of Wittgenstein’s philosophy – a different way of looking at it – against the background of which his quietism appears much less paradoxical than it might otherwise seem. From the new point of view there is no integration problem. The conception that I shall defend is of Wittgenstein as, in fundamental respects, a philosopher of the imagination and of his philosophy as taking the form of imaginative exercizes or therapies – a conception that stands in stark contrast to the standard vision of Wittgenstein as a philosopher concerned to make explicit (what is supposed to be) the more or less fixed system of implicit rules of ordinary language as a way of countering philosophical misuses of language.

David Macarthur is Associate Professor in Philosophy at The University of Sydney, Australia. His research is mostly in the areas of contemporary pragmatism, skepticism, liberal naturalism, the continuing relevance of Wittgenstein’s thought in resisting scientistic attacks on ordinary life, and the philosophy of art (especially architecture, film and photography).

Date/Time: Wednesday 6 June 2018, 3.30 pm - 5.00 pm – All Welcome
Place: Western Sydney University, Bankstown Campus, Building 3, Room 3.G.54 [How to get to Bankstown Campus]<http://www.uws.edu.au/campuses_structure/cas/campuses/bankstown>

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