Wittgenstein, Education and Contemporary American Philosophy



Stanley Cavell and Cora Diamond are two contemporary American philosophers deeply influenced by the work of the early and the late Wittgenstein. Cavell and Diamond read Wittgenstein, particularly, as a romantic thinker open to the disappointments and the difficulties of our lives in language. For Cavell, the Philosophical Investigations is remarkable for its call to meaningful and responsible expression; in recognising the fragility and disappointment of everyday expression, Wittgenstein in fact calls his reader to linguistic and bodily responsiveness. For Diamond, both the Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus and the Philosophical Investigations recommend a distinctively “realistic spirit”, one where we are aware of our finitude, aware of our fleshiness, aware always that we inhabit a body and that we are never immune from pain. It is the purpose of this chapter to explore further these romantic interpretations of Wittgenstein and to consider particularly their important educational implications.


Education Wittgenstein Stanley Cavell Cora Diamond Richard Rorty 


  1. Cavell, S. (1976). Must we mean what we say? A book of essays. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  2. Cavell, S. (1979). The claim of reason: Wittgenstein, skepticism, morality and tragedy. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  3. Cavell, S. (1996). Epilogue: The investigations’ everyday aesthetics of itself. In S. Mulhall (Ed.), The Cavell reader (pp. 369–389). Oxford: Blackwell.Google Scholar
  4. Diamond, C. (1991). The realistic spirit: Essays on Wittgenstein, philosophy and the mind. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.Google Scholar
  5. Diamond, C. (2008). The difficulty of reality and the difficulty of philosophy. In S. Cavell, C. Diamond, J. McDowell, I. Hacking, & C. Wolfe (Eds.), Philosophy and animal life. New York: Columbia University Press.Google Scholar
  6. Rorty, R. (1982). Consequences of pragmatism: Essays, 1972–1980. Minneapolis, MN: University of Minnesota Press.Google Scholar
  7. Rorty, R. (1989). Contingency, irony and solidarity. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Rorty, R. (1991). Essays on Heidegger and others: Philosophical papers (Vol. 2). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Wittgenstein, L. (1973). Philosophical investigations (G. M. F. Anscombe, Trans.). London: Prentice Hall (PI).Google Scholar
  10. Wittgenstein, L. (2001). Tractatus logico-philosophicus. New York: Routledge (TLP).Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of EducationUniversity College DublinDublinIreland

Personalised recommendations