Wittgenstein on Physics
In this paper, I explore Wittgenstein’s philosophical approach to physics, an approach that crystallises in the Tractatus and is then polished—rather than replaced—in his later writings. The question of Wittgenstein’s attitude towards science has been the subject of much scholarly debate. Wittgenstein maintained throughout his life that philosophy, ethics and religion should be kept separate from the natural sciences. In his view, any attempt to apply scientific methodologies to philosophical, ethical and religious discussions is both dangerous and futile. Some interpreters have read this aspect of Wittgenstein’s thinking as expressing a strong hostility to science: Wittgenstein, they suggest, views science in an negative light and, for this reason, wishes to protect other areas from scientific encroachment. Wittgenstein certainly conveys on occasion a deep frustration with what he regards as the increasing dominance of science over other forms of culture. In Culture and Value, we find him writing.
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