Department of Philosophy

NB! RESCHEDULED: Rico Gutschmidt: Neither Context nor Foundation - Wittgenstein and Cavell on Acknowledgement in Skepticism

Dr. Rico Gutschmidt from Technische Universität Dresden will give a guest lecture on Friday 29 May in room 210 in Sydnesplassen 12/13.

Rico Gutschmidt
Technische Universität Dresden

Main content


The relation of Wittgenstein's later philosophy to skepticism seems to be ambiguous, since he rejects radical skepticism but also highlights the groundlessness of our beliefs. In my presentation, I am going to discuss Wittgenstein's hinge propositions in this respect. Against the usual view, I will show that they do not function as a contextualist or foundationalist refutation of skepticism. What is more, they also do not confirm skepticism. In contrast, I will argue that following Wittgenstein skepticism is neither false nor true, but describes our finite situation in respect to our knowledge. This is in line with Stanley Cavells truth of skepticism, which roughly states that we can not know about the existence of the world and the others, but that we have to acknowledge them. With the help of Wittgenstein, I am going to clarify this position. The key idea is that our practice can not be theoretically secured, but rests on a practical certainty, which has to be and can be acknowledged.