Carved in Stone or Carried by the Wind?
The title “Beyond Certainty” is ambiguous in a way that can, but need not, be misleading. Wittgenstein did not claim that we can arrive at no kind of Certainty: merely that the philosophers deceive us if they pretend that the only kind of Certainty that has any intellectual relevance is a formal, geometrical kind. He did not direct us beyond all Certainty, only beyond the monopoly of inappropriate, formal Certainty (decontextual logical necessity) and toward an appropriate, pragmatic Certainty, a well grounded, situated certitude. With the Death of Cartesian foundational epistemology, we do not lose all hope of certainty, only the illusion that the only Certainty worth having is a formal, eternal feature of knowledge, exemplified in the logical coherence of texts. In its place, we recover an alternative Certitude: a timely, pragmatic feature of knowledge, within particular situations and modes of praxis.
KeywordsPractical Wisdom Philosophical Theory Deductive Inference Practical Philosophy Moral Doctrine
Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.