The Learner as Teacher



This paper examines Wittgenstein’s pedagogy as a learner–teacher. Having taught elementary school in Austria from 1919 until the mid-1920s, he later lectured at Trinity College, Cambridge, where Norman Malcolm, G.H. von Wright and others described his method as thinking out loud in front of his students and inviting them to co-research with him various topics of philosophical interest. He taught them how to think by personifying thinking and learning which always aimed at greater clarity and insight and he valued writing his thoughts as material for further reflection and communication. Wittgenstein emphasised the importance of seeing things in the right way and identified as a major obstacle to learning the wilful human tendency to want to see things otherwise than as they are. The importance of language, culture and belief as central aspects of learning defined his pedagogical vision which was continually sharpened by teaching others but most of all himself.


Ethics God Learner Wittgenstein Writing 


  1. Ambrose, A., & Lazerowitz, M. (Eds.). (1972). Ludwig Wittgenstein: Philosophy and language. London and New York: Allen and Unwin.Google Scholar
  2. Bouwsma, O. K. (1982). In J. L. Craft & R. E. Hustwit (Eds.). Towards a new sensibility: Essays of O. K. Bouwsma. Lincoln and London: University of Nebraska Press.Google Scholar
  3. Engelmann, P. (1967). Letters from Ludwig Wittgenstein with a memoir. Oxford: Blackwell.Google Scholar
  4. Klagge, J. (2011). Wittgenstein in exile. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.Google Scholar
  5. Rhees, R. (Ed.). (1984). Recollections of Wittgenstein. Oxford and New York: University Press.Google Scholar
  6. Winton, B. (2014). If It’s not impossible…: The life of Sir Nicholas Winton. Leicestershire: Matador.Google Scholar
  7. Wittgenstein, L. (1960). The blue and brown books. New York: Harper Torchbooks, Harper and Row Publishers (BB).Google Scholar
  8. Wittgenstein, L. (1961). Tractatus logico-philosophicus (B. McGuinness & D. F. Pears, Trans.). London: Routledge and Kegan Paul (TLP).Google Scholar
  9. Wittgenstein, L. (1975). Philosophical remarks (R. Rhees, Ed., Hargreaves & White, Trans.). Oxford: Blackwell, Chicago: The University of Chicago Press (PR).Google Scholar
  10. Wittgenstein, L. (1998). Culture and value (G. H. von Wright, Ed. in collaboration with Heikke Nyman, revised, P. Winch, Trans.). Oxford: Blackwell (CV).Google Scholar
  11. Wittgenstein, L. (2004). Notebooks 1914–16 (G. H. von Wright & G. E. M. Anscombe, Eds., G. E. M. Anscombe, Trans.). Oxford: Blackwell (N).Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Singapore Pte Ltd. 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PhilosophyAll Hallows CollegeDublinIreland

Personalised recommendations