Volume 8 · Number 2 · Pages 210–215
Wittgenstein, Rorty and Mitterer: On Aspects and Descriptions

Thomas Himmelfreundpointner

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Context: Josef Mitterer’s critique of Ludwig Wittgenstein’s concept of aspectual vision as elaborated in the second part of Philosophical Investigations and an attempt to develop a kind of non-dualistic “philosophy of systemic psychotherapy.” Problem: How can we ever say that we see something as some other thing when already seeing something is a kind of interpretative activity? Is everything we see an interpretation of an antecedent interpretation? Method: Analyzing and interpreting literature. Results: Wittgenstein, Rorty, and Mitterer develop their positions from a comparable kind of discomfort. The foundation of Mitterer’s critique, however, is completely different: his concept of non-dualism no longer only discusses problems resulting from aspectual vision or from the metaphor of a mirror in relation to objects but seeks to overcome the problems arising from the belief in a categorical difference between objects and the description of objects. Implications: If considered residually dualist in Mitterer’s perspective, aspectual vision in the sense of Wittgenstein is a controversial construction that needs further reflection.

Key words: Dichotomy, observation, objectivity, aspectual vision, argumentation, discourse


Himmelfreundpointner T. (2013) Wittgenstein, rorty and Mitterer: On aspects and descriptions. Constructivist Foundations 8(2): 210–215. http://constructivist.info/8/2/210

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Mitterer J. (1992) Das Jenseits der Philosophie. Wider das dualistische Erkenntnisprinzip [The beyond of philosophy: Against the dualistic principle of cognition]. Passagen, Vienna. Republished, with a new afterword, in 2011 by Velbrück Wissenschaft, Weilerswist. ▸︎ Google︎ Scholar
Mitterer J. (2001) Die Flucht aus der Beliebigkeit [The flight from contingency]. S. Fischer, Frankfurt am Main. Republished, with a new foreword, in 2011 by Velbrück Wissenschaft, Weilerswist. ▸︎ Google︎ Scholar
Rorty R. (1979) Philosophy and the mirror of nature. Princeton University Press, Princeton NJ. ▸︎ Google︎ Scholar
Wittgenstein L. (2009) Philosophy of psychology – A fragment. In: Wittgenstein L., Philosophical investigations. Revised fourth edition. Translated by G. E. M. Anscombe P. M. S. Hacker, and Joachim Schulte. Blackwell, Oxford. Originally published in 1958. ▸︎ Google︎ Scholar

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