'Two Kinds of Use of "I"': The Middle Wittgenstein on 'I' and The Self

In David G. Stern (ed.), Wittgenstein in the 1930s: Between the Tractatus and the Investigations. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. pp. 141-157 (2018)
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The paper discusses two aspects of Wittgenstein’s middle-period discussions of the self and the use of ‘I’. First, it considers the distinction Wittgenstein draws in his 1933 Cambridge lectures between two ‘utterly different’ uses of the word ‘I’. It is shown that Wittgenstein’s discussion describes a number of different and non-equivalent distinctions between uses of ‘I’. It is argued that his claims about some of these distinctions are defensible but that his reasoning in other cases is unconvincing. Second, the paper considers the distinction drawn in the Blue Book between the use of ‘I’ as subject and the use of ‘I’ as object. A number of commentators have contended that this Blue Book distinction between uses of ‘I’ is erroneous, that Wittgenstein soon realized that, and that he dropped the idea of such a distinction from his later work. Against those claims, it is argued that Wittgenstein’s distinction between the use of ‘I’ as subject and its use as object is correct and illuminating. And it is shown that, though we do not find the ‘as-subject’/’as-object’ terminology in Wittgenstein’s subsequent work, the essential point of the Blue Book distinction is not abandoned but remains in place in Philosophical Investigations.
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