On Wittgenstein’s Comparison of Philosophical Methods to Therapies

International Journal of Philosophical Studies 23 (4):566-583 (2015)
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Abstract

Wittgenstein’s comparison of philosophical methods to therapies has been interpreted in highly different ways. I identify the illness, the patient, the therapist and the ideal of health in Wittgenstein’s philosophical methods and answer four closely related questions concerning them that have often been wrongly answered by commentators. The results of this paper are, first, some answers to crucial questions: philosophers are not literally ill, patients of philosophical therapies are not always philosophers, not all philosophers qualify as therapists, the therapies are not necessarily to be thought of as psychological therapies and the ideal of health does not consist in the end of philosophy. Second, the paper shows that the comparison has had a misleading effect, because properties of therapies have been illegitimately projected onto the philosophical methods advanced by Wittgenstein

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