Sraffa and the Later Wittgenstein
Posted: 22 Jun 2009
Date Written: June 2009
This paper is an attempt at establishing the philosophical underpinnings and thus a deeper understanding of Sraffa's enigmatic book, particularly in the light of his well acknowledged influence on Wittgenstein's later philosophy or perhaps their mutual influence on each other's thinking during the period of late 1920s and 30s. It identifies and highlights certain parallels between the theoretical propositions of Sraffa in the Production of Commodities and the later Wittgenstein's propositions regarding his philosophy of language and meaning. It argues that both Sraffa and the later Wittgenstein eschew essentialism; both propose descriptive as opposed to predictive theories; and both are concerned with establishing the context that distinguishes sense from non-sense. It goes on to argue that it is unconvincing to suggest, as some scholars have done, that Sraffa's influence on Wittgenstein could either be located at his purported attack on the atomism of the Tractatus or its critique from the Gramscian perspective.
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