, Volume 55, Issue 3, pp 349–358 | Cite as

Wittgensteinian Foundationalism

  • Duncan Richter


The idea that there is such a thing as Wittgensteinian foundationalism is a provocative one for two reasons. For one thing, Wittgenstein is widely regarded as an anti-foundationalist. For another, the very word ‘foundationalism’ sounds like the name of a theory, and Wittgenstein famously opposed the advancing of theories and theses in philosophy. Nonetheless, in his book Moore and Wittgenstein on Certainty, Avrum Stroll has argued that Wittgenstein does indeed develop a foundationalist view in his final work, On Certainty. On this basis, Stroll goes on to argue against a number of contemporary views, including forms of relativism and scientism. In what follows I will examine what Stroll calls Wittgenstein's foundationalism (in Section 1) and argue that Stroll's reading of Wittgenstein, though original and interesting, is misguided in important ways and so cannot be used against the views he opposes (in Section 2). Finally, in Section 3, I offer a brief summary of the reading of Wittgenstein that I recommend.


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  1. Phillips, D. Z.: 1995, Faith After Foundationalism. Westview Press, Boulder, CO.Google Scholar
  2. Stroll, Avrum: 1994, Moore and Wittgenstein on Certainty. Oxford University Press, Oxford.Google Scholar
  3. Wittgenstein, Ludwig: On Certainty. Blackwell, Oxford.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2001

Authors and Affiliations

  • Duncan Richter
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Psychology and PhilosophyVirginia Military InstituteLexingtonU.S.A.

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