Going Diverse

  • Anat Biletzki
Part of the Synthese Library book series (SYLI, volume 319)


Some, indeed very many, influential, persuasive, provocative, and preposterous “interpretations” of Wittgenstein have not made their way into our map of interpretation thus far. Lest the reader think that these extraneous families have been excluded for reason of low estimate, we must clarify the intricacies of exception (which include, but not exclusively, lowly estimated interpretations as well). Our enterprise has involved the telling of a philosophical tale and, as was made clear at the beginning of the way, the jury is still out on what goes into philosophical interpretation. The attempt to classify interpretations as legitimate or illegitimate was, to begin with, problematic, perhaps even illegitimate in itself. It did, however, rest on the assumption that a philosophical interpretation deals with texts, Wittgenstein’s texts, rather than with aspects of the man, his life, his biography, his temperament, his loves, or his hates. In these times of contextualism (not to mention postmodernism or multiculturalism) such an assumption is wide open to (legitimate) attack, being seemingly arid, disassociated with factors that should be taken into consideration even while pursuing philosophical interpretation. The question then becomes not “is context relevant for philosophical interpretation?” but “what elements of context are relevant to our understanding of (a thinker’s) philosophy?” Between the two extremes — of ignoring anything but the texts, or admitting into our discussion anything having to do with the person and his times — must lie a reasonable mean.


Philosophical Text Philosophical Interpretation Extraneous Family Intellectual Influence Intellectual Change 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • Anat Biletzki
    • 1
  1. 1.Tel Aviv UniversityTel AvivIsrael

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