Institutt for filosofi og førstesemesterstudier

Mauro Engelmann: Hypotheses and Certainty in the Phenomenological Grammar

Professor Mauro Engelmann, Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais og forsker ved det nasjonale forskningsrådet i Brasil, besøker instituttet og Wittgensteinarkivet i midten av september, og holder i den forbindelse en gjesteforelesning om midt-perioden i Wittgensteins filosofi. Åpent for alle interesserte!


Wittgensteinsitat: "Philosophy is like trying to open a safe with a combination lock: each little adjustment of the dials seems to achieve nothing, only when everything is in place does the door open."


"I have pointed out in Engelmann (2013, introduction) that we should look at Wittgenstein’s not-quite-finished-books of the middle period as expressions of philosophies that are different from the Tractatus and the Philosophical Investigations. Those philosophies are obviously interesting because they might help us to understand better Wittgenstein’s two famous books. However, they are also interesting in themselves. They are original and defensible, and not merely transitional works or, what is in fact incorrect, ‘early drafts’ of the Philosophical Investigations.

In this paper I intend to indicate at least the defensibility of the ‘phenomenological grammar’ of Philosophical Remarks. I will do so by elucidating a controversial notion of sentences that Wittgenstein assumes there: sentences are hypotheses. In order to achieve my goal I first introduce the project of the phenomenological grammar and then evaluate whether the thesis that sentences are hypotheses commits Wittgenstein to a kind of solipsism.The structure of the paper is the following. In sections 1 and 2, taking the /Tractatus/ as point of departure, I intend to make clear that the expressions “hypothetical” and “character of hypotheses” express two different views concerning ordinary sentences that emerged in two different /contexts/  - phenomenological language (February – End of October 1929) and phenomenological grammar (End of October 1929 – May 1930). In section 3, I aim at explaining what “character of hypotheses” amounts to in Wittgenstein’s ‘phenomenological grammar’. It will turn out that the thesis does not commit Wittgenstein to a kind of solipsism, but it is rather part of well-argued and defensible response to it."