Wittgenstein on Understanding and Interpretation (Comments on the Work of Thomas Morawetz)

Philosophical Investigations, Vol. 29, No. 2, April 2006

12 Pages Posted: 25 Jan 2006  

Dennis Patterson

European University Institute; Rutgers University School of Law, Camden; Swansea University School of Law; European University Institute - Department of Law (LAW)

Abstract

Wittgenstein's distinction between understanding and interpretation is fundamental to the account of meaning in Philosophical Investigations. In his discussion of rule-following, Wittgenstein explicitly rejects the idea that understanding or grasping a rule is a matter of interpretation. Wittgenstein explains meaning and rule-following in terms of action, rejecting both realist and Cartesian accounts of the mental. I argue that in his effort to employ Wittgenstein's views on meaning and rule-following, Professor Morawetz embraces the position Wittgenstein rejects. In the course of making his case for law as a "deliberative practice," Professor Morawetz embraces interpretation as a fundamental element of human practices, thereby taking up precisely the view Wittgenstein rejects.

Keywords: jurisprudence, legal philosophy, wittgenstein, law

Suggested Citation

Patterson, Dennis, Wittgenstein on Understanding and Interpretation (Comments on the Work of Thomas Morawetz). Philosophical Investigations, Vol. 29, No. 2, April 2006. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=877284

Dennis Patterson (Contact Author)

European University Institute ( email )

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Rutgers University School of Law, Camden ( email )

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Swansea University School of Law

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European University Institute - Department of Law (LAW) ( email )

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