“A Spontaneous Following”: Wittgenstein, Education and the Limits of Trust
It is now commonly argued that trust is fundamental to numerous and varied sorts of human relationships and activities and that education takes place within a fiduciary framework: that a basic trust is essential to child development and the very possibility of initiate learning . It has also been suggested that Wittgenstein’s remarks in On Certainty describe a “fundamental attitude of trust”. I argue that accounts of a generalized, background attitude of trust misuse the term “trust” and that no such notion is to be found in Wittgenstein’s remarks. Rather, Wittgenstein’s soft naturalism suggests that the phenomenon described is better understood as ein spontanes Mitgehen (a spontaneous following), something that he appears to have relied upon in his own, idiosyncratic approach to teaching .
KeywordsBasic attitude of trust Initiate learning On Certainty Soft naturalism
- Bartley, W. W., III. (1973). Wittgenstein. Philadelphia, PA: J.B. Lippincott Co.Google Scholar
- Bollnow, O. F. (1989). The pedagogical atmosphere: The perspective of the child (M. van Manen & P. Mueller, Trans.). Phenomenology + Pedagogy, 7, 12–36.Google Scholar
- Bouwsma, O. K. (1986). J. L. Craft & R. E. Hustwitt, (Eds.). Wittgenstein: Conversations 1949–1951. Indianapolis, IL: Hackett Publishing Co.Google Scholar
- Böwadt, P. R. (2009). Education of life itself. A discussion of Lebensphilosophie, education and religious education according to K.E. Løgstrup and O.F. Bollnow. In G. Skeie (Ed.), Religious diversity and education: Nordic perspectives (pp. 69–82). Münster: Waxman.Google Scholar
- Britton, K. (1967). Portrait of a philosopher. In K. T. Fann (Ed.), Ludwig Wittgenstein: The man and his philosophy (pp. 56–63). New York: Dell Publishing Co.Google Scholar
- Burbules, N. C. (2008). Tacit teaching. In M. A. Peters, N. C. Burbules, & P. Smeyers (Eds.), Showing and doing: Wittgenstein as a pedagogical philosopher (pp. 199–214). Boulder, CO: Paradigm Publishers.Google Scholar
- Dilman, I. (1993, December 15). Obituary: Professor John Wisdom. Independent. http://www.independent.co.uk/news/people/obituary-professor-john-wisdom-1467546.html. Accessed February 24, 2016.
- Erikson, E. H. (1950). Childhood and society. New York: W.W. Norton & Co.Google Scholar
- Hartmann, M. (2015). On the concept of basic trust. Behemoth, 8(1), 5–23.Google Scholar
- Hausmann, L. (1982). Wittgenstein in Austria as an elementary-school teacher (E. C. Hargrove, Trans.). Encounter, 58(4), 16–24. https://www.unz.org/Pub/Encounter-1982apr-00016. Accessed February 24, 2016.
- Jones, K. (2004). Trust and terror. In P. DesAutels & M. Urban Walker (Eds.), Moral psychology. Feminist ethics and social theory (pp. 3–17). Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield.Google Scholar
- Kitchen, W. H. (2014). Authority and the teacher. London: Bloomsbury.Google Scholar
- Leavis, F. R. (1984). Memories of Wittgenstein. In R. Rhees (Ed.), Recollections of Wittgenstein (pp. 50–67). Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
- Marcuse, H. (1964). One-dimensional man: Studies in the ideology of advanced industrial society. Boston, MA: Beacon Press.Google Scholar
- McDowell, J. (1996). Mind and world (2nd ed.). Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
- Monk, R. (1990). Wittgenstein: The duty of genius. London: Jonathan Cape.Google Scholar
- Moore, G. E. (1925). A defence of common sense. In J. H. Muirhead (Ed.), Contemporary British philosophy (pp. 193–223). London: Allen and Unwin.Google Scholar
- O’Neill, O. (2002). The Reith lectures 2002: A question of trust, Lectures 1–5. http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/reith2002/. Accessed December 13, 2015.
- Peters, M. A. (2012). Education, philosophy and politics: The selected works of Michael A. Peters. Abingdon, Oxon: Routledge.Google Scholar
- Polanyi, M. (1958). Personal knowledge: Towards a post-critical philosophy. London: Routledge and Kegan Paul.Google Scholar
- Robins, S. (2015, March 5). Wittgenstein, schoolteacher. The Paris review. http://www.theparisreview.org/blog/2015/03/05/wittgenstein-schoolteacher/. Accessed February 14, 2016.
- Savickey, B. (1999). Wittgenstein’s art of investigation. London, New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
- Sharpe, R. A. (1997). The moral case against religious belief. London: SCM Press.Google Scholar
- Slote, M. (1983). Good and virtues. Oxford: Clarendon Press.Google Scholar
- Strawson, P. F. (1985). Skepticism and naturalism: Some varieties. London: Methuen.Google Scholar
- von Wright, G. H. (1982). Wittgenstein. Oxford: Blackwell.Google Scholar
- Waugh, A. (2008). The house of Wittgenstein: A family at war. London: Bloomsbury.Google Scholar
- Williams, M. (1991). Blind obedience: Rules, community, and the individual. In K. Puhl (Ed.), Meaning scepticism (pp. 93–125). Berlin: Walter de Gruyter.Google Scholar
- Williams, M. (2010). Blind obedience: Paradox and learning in the later Wittgenstein. London, New York.Google Scholar
- Wisdom, J. (1934). Problems of mind and matter. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
- Wittgenstein, H. (1984). My brother Ludwig. In Recollections of Wittgenstein (pp. 1–11, R. Rhees, Ed., M. Clark, Trans.). Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
- Wittgenstein, L. (1967). Zettel (G. E. M. Anscombe & G. H. von Wright, Eds., G. E. M. Anscombe, Trans.). Oxford: Basil Blackwell (Z).Google Scholar
- Wittgenstein, L. (1969). On certainty (G. E. M. Anscombe & G. H. von Wright, Eds., D. Paul & G. E. M. Anscombe, Trans.). Oxford: Basil Blackwell (OC).Google Scholar
- Wittgenstein, L. (1978). Remarks on the foundations of mathematics (Revised 3rd ed., G. H. von Wright, R. Rhees, & G. E. M. Anscombe, Eds., G. E. M. Anscombe, Trans.). Oxford: Basil Blackwell (RFM).Google Scholar
- Wittgenstein, L. (1980). Culture and value. (G. H. von Wright Ed., in collaboration with H. Nyman and P. Winch, Trans.). Oxford: Basil Blackwell (CV).Google Scholar
- Wittgenstein, L. (2001). Philosophical investigations (Revised 3rd ed., R. Rhees & G. E. M. Anscombe, Eds., G. E. M. Anscombe, Trans.). Oxford: Blackwell Publishing (PI 1 and PI 2).Google Scholar