Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


This dissertation will examine the role of the concept of showing in Wittgenstein's philosophy. In the early writings Wittgenstein drew a sharp distinction between what can be said and what can only be shown. Accordingly, he held that one can use language to represent the world, but one cannot represent the logic of language, since all representations already presuppose an acceptance of logical form. In the later writings this idea lives on. Although Wittgenstein abandoned his early conception of logic, he continued to hold that grammar is the inexpressible background which gives sense to everything one says and does. In both the early and later writings, he thus attempted to undermine the possibility of a science of logic.;The distinction between saying and showing is inextricably bound up with Wittgenstein's conception of philosophy. Wittgenstein always insisted that philosophy does not advance any theses; it is, rather, an activity concerned with attaining clarity about the logic or grammar of language. Philosophy does, however, have something very important to show us: it shows us the confusion and puzzlement we get ourselves into when we treat conceptual problems as if they were empirical problems. Wittgenstein attempts to lead us out of this grammatical confusion by changing our philosophical point of view: philosophy is not in the business of saying anything; it is a therapeutical and ethical activity.



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