Volume 3 · Number 3 · Pages 221–225
Dualism Still at Work. On Wittgenstein’s Certainty

Sven Grampp

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Abstract

Problem: A dualistic position faces considerable problems as Mitterer, inter alia, clearly pointed out. Mitterer not only wants to name these problems, but to provide a genuine alternative with his non-dualism. However, this non-dualistic alternative also contains severe problems. Thus this text suggests preferring Wittgenstein’s concept of a pragmatic investigation of language-games to Mitterer’s non-dualism in order to tackle the problems of dualism. Solution: With recourse to Wittgenstein’s pragmatic investigation of language-games, a fundamental problem of dualism can be solved. With the concept of certainty, Wittgenstein succeeds in avoiding an ontological grounding in an independent world – or, as Mitterer would put it, the assumption of a “beyond of discourse.” At the same time, the assumption of an independent world as a concept that provides a basis for our language-games is maintained on an epistemological level. This assumption, however, is not maintained as a phenomenon that requires to be substantiated but as a certainty that is constitutive for language-games and does not need to be substantiated. Such a concept is suitable for preventing epistemological operations such as knowledge, doubt, giving reasons, etc., from being made void, without having to provide an ontological basis for them. Implications: Wittgenstein’s point of view therefore provides an attractive alternative to Mitterer’s non-dualism. By getting rid of the “beyond of discourse,” Mitterer’s non-dualism faces the problem of not being able to explain how we can manage to understand epistemological operations within our language-games without referring to a “beyond of discourse.” From this point of view arises the consequence that it would make sense to analyze language-games from a pragmatic standpoint rather than to keep on honing non-dualistic vocabulary.

Key words: dualism, pragmatic analysis, certainty, skepticism, language-games, Wittgenstein vs. Mitterer

Citation

Grampp S. (2008) Dualism still at work. On wittgenstein’s certainty. Constructivist Foundations 3(3): 221–225. http://constructivist.info/3/3/221

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