Winds of Change: The Later Wittgenstein’s Conception of the Dynamics of Change


  • Cecilie Eriksen Aarhus University



later Wittgenstein, dynamics of change, historical explanation


The theme of change is one of the most prominent traits of Wittgenstein’s later work, and his writings have inspired many contemporary thinkers’ discussions of changes in e.g. concepts, ‘aspect-seeing’, practices, worldviews, and forms of life. However, Wittgenstein’s conception of the dynamics of change has not been investigated in its own right.

The aim of this paper is to investigate which understanding of the dynamics of changes can be found in the later Wittgenstein’s work. I will argue that what emerges is a rich and complex picture that has the potential to aid our thinking in politics and elsewhere when developing strategies for creating changes. It can do so both as source of inspiration and by countering tempting, yet ultimately problematic ways of conceptualizing change like the hope for transforming harmful traditions and social practices with the help of a general explanatory theory of the fundamental dynamics of changes.

Author Biography

Cecilie Eriksen, Aarhus University

Cecilie Eriksen is educated from Aarhus University, Denmark. She has a master’s degree in philosophy and a PhD in law. Eriksen has mainly been publishing within moral philosophy. Currently, she is part of a research project on Moral Community, and she is editing a special issue of Sats on Contextual Ethics together with Anne-Marie S. Christensen. Her forthcoming book is called Moral Change – Dynamics and Normativity (Palgrave Macmillan).