Wittgenstein: Philosophy, Work and Legacy

Upcoming activities

For an overview of the various Wittgenstein related activities in the Department in the near future, please follow the calendar on the right on this page!


Spring 2015, conference: Wittgenstein, Philosophy of Mind, and Naturalism

Standard histories of Analytic Philosophy typically credit Ludwig Wittgenstein with having inspired two important philosophical movements, Logical Positivism and so-called Ordinary Language Philosophy, commonly associated with Oxford. It has, moreover, become a commonplace to claim that Wittgenstein was one of the most influential philosophers of the 20th century. While large numbers of articles and monographs on Wittgenstein continue to be produced, however, his thought (or Wittgensteinian philosophy more broadly) often seems absent from philosophical debates where the agenda has been set by various forms of scientific naturalism, especially in the philosophy of mind. The proposed conference, “Wittgenstein, Philosophy of Mind & Naturalism will bring together both leading thinkers and younger philosophers working in core philosophical fields to explore and hopefully attempt to remedy this situation.

Confirmed Invited Speakers include Charles Travis (Kings), Paul Snowden (UCL), Julia Tanney (Kent), and David Finkelstein (Chicago).

The main organizers of this conference are Associate Professor Kevin Cahill (UiB) and Post-doctoral fellow Thomas Raleigh (NTNU). Cahill is research coordinator and leader of the Wittgensten Research Group at UiB. Raleigh is part of the project “Representationalism or Anti-representationalism? - Perspectives on Intentionality from Philosophy and Cognitive Science” at NTNU.


Guest speakers

The department typically also invites internationally renowned philosophers whose research either directly concerns or draws on Wittgenstein’s work to come to Bergen as guest speakers. In recent years some of these have been:

Julia Tanney (University of Kent) [postponed until Spring 2014]

Thomas Raleigh (University of Trondheim)

Hans Sluga (U.C. Berkeley)

James Conant (University of Chicago)

Alice Crary (The New School for Social Research, New York)

Klaus Puhl (University of Vienna)

Danièle Moyal-Sharrock (University of Hertfordshire)

James Klagge (University of Virginia Tech)

Garry Hagberg (Bard College, New York, USA)

Géza Kállay (Loránd Eötvös University, Budapest, Hungary)

International Cooperation

Staff from the Philosophy Department are actively involved in international Wittgenstein Societies, such as the Nordic Wittgenstein Society and the Austrian Ludwig Wittgenstein Society. The first two issues of the new international journal Nordic Wittgenstein Review (NWR) were edited by members of the Philosophy Department.

International seminars

The Norwegian-French-Austrian Wittgenstein Seminar is a yearly gathering of Wittgenstein researchers from the University of Bergen, the University of Paris (8), and the University of Vienna. Each year participants from all three groups meet in the home city of one of the seminar members.

This year the conference was held in Vienna October 17-18. The conference name was «Lebensform-Darstellungsform/Form of Life-Form of Representation». The program can be viewed here:


The next meeting will be in Paris. Further information will be given at a later date.


Previous activities

December 2, 2013
Kevin Cahill gave a talk with the title «Wittgenstein’s Paganism» December 2, 2013 at the conference «Wittgenstein and Anglo American Philosophy: The Case of Normative Inquiry”.  The conference was organized by the Center for British Studies, University of California, Berkeley.


November 8, 2013

Kevin Cahill presented a paper «Naturalism and the Friends of Understanding» at the Institute Seminar, November 8, 2013. This paper is forthcoming in the journal Philosophy of the Social Sciences and is now online at the journal’s webpage.


Friday, 5th June, 2013, room 114 Sydnesplassen 12/13. Open for all!

"Wittgenstein and the Creativity of Language"

Guest researcher at WAB, Jakub Mácha, and previous guest Sebastian Greve, are arranging a workshop 14th June: "Wittgenstein and the Creativity of Language". The deadline for submissions is Monday 20th May. Notifications of (non-)acceptance will be sent out no later than 1st June. Contributions should be sent via e-mail to either macha[at]mail.muni.cz or s.greve[at]bbk.ac.uk. There is no conference fee. The workshop is open to all.


Thursday 25th April 2013, 10.15 a.m. - 12.15 p.m., room 130, Sydnesplassen 12/13. Open for all!

Christian Erbacher, "Wittgenstein's Heirs: R. Rhees, G.H. von Wright and G.E.M. Anscombe as Students, Colleagues and Friends of Ludwig Wittgenstein"

Erbacher, post.doc. in the department, will share preliminary results from his NFR FRIPRO-supported research project "Shaping a Domain of Knowledge by Editorial Processing: The Case of Editing Wittgenstein's Work".



"Scholars approach Wittgenstein's Nachlass from several angles such as philosophy, philology, text-encoding or digital humanities. Largely unexplored remains the fascinating human story in the editorial history of the Wittgenstein papers. The three philosophers Rush Rhees, Georg Henrik von Wright and Elizabeth Anscombe devoted a significant part of their lifetime to fulfil Wittgenstein's wish to publish from his writings what they thought fit. Their reasons and motives for deciding what and how to edit and the significance they attached to their editions show what philosophical inheritance may mean in a full sense of the word.

As a first chapter of such an intellectual biography of Wittgenstein's Nachlass, I want to sketch the relationships between Wittgenstein and his later literary executors, beginning with the time when they had been students of Wittgenstein until they became colleagues and friends. It is important to study these personal relationships since they put us in touch with the soil from which the editions grew: we may understand better why Wittgenstein bequeathed Rhees, Wright and Anscombe with the task of publishing his writings and we may understand better why they, as heirs, acted as they did in fulfilling their given duty.

The paper presents work in progress."