There are a number of fundamental topics, including ‘reality’, ‘meaning’ and ‘logic’, that cannot be dealt with properly without an appropriate understanding of the end and limits of philosophy. I draw on Wittgenstein’s insights concerning how we must approach these topics to challenge the idea that we face a simple, methodological choice in philosophy: to advance theory or to attempt therapy. Consideration of these matters tells against the prevalent opinion that philosophy is a kind of theorising, scientific or otherwise. Yet, this should not lead us to think that its business is purely therapeutic, designed only to help rid us of such ambitions and attendant confusions. It is possible to deny that philosophy is progressive, according to the standard conception, while also denying that it is wholly negative and deflationary. I will explore this third way by expounding, explicating and defending Wittgenstein’s claim that philosophy clarifies our understanding of important philosophical matters.
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