Gordon Baker, Wittgensteinian Philosophical Conceptions and Perspicuous Representation: the Possibility of Multidimensional Logical Descriptions

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Oskari Kuusela


This paper discusses Gordon Baker’s interpretation of the later Wittgenstein, in particular his interpretation of the notion of Wittgensteinian philosophical conceptions (Auffassungen) and the notions of non-exclusivity, local incompatibility, non-additivity and global pluralism which Baker uses to characterize Wittgensteinian conceptions. On the basis of this discussion, and a critique of certain features of Baker’s interpretation of Wittgensteinian conceptions, I introduce the notion of a multidimensional logical description of language use, explaining how this notion, which Baker’s interpretation excludes, constitutes and important element of the later Wittgenstein’s philosophical method of clarification and perspicuous representation. I conclude by explaining how Baker’s problematic notions of local incompatibility and non-additivity, if they are seen in the light of Wittgenstein’s criticisms of certain views of the completeness of philosophical or logical accounts, nevertheless point in the right direction.

Author Biography

Oskari Kuusela, University of East Anglia

Oskari Kuusela is a Senior Lecturer in philosophy at the University of East Anglia, UK. His main research interests relate to philosophical methodology, the philosophy of logic and language, and ethics. He is the author of The Struggle against Dogmatism: Wittgenstein and the Concept of Philosophy (Harvard UP, 2008), Key Terms in Ethics (Continuum, 2011), and a co-editor of The Oxford Handbook of Wittgenstein (Oxford UP, 2011/2014) as well as Wittgenstein’s Interpreters: Essays in Memory of Gordon Baker (Wiley, 2007/2013).


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