Ludwig Wittgenstein between Analytic Philosophy and Apophaticism
This volume initiates an inquiry into the relationship between Ludwig Wittgenstein’s “analytic stance” towards philosophy and the inherently apophatic nature of his epistemology, a subject that has been repeatedly hinted at, but hitherto never thoroughly researched through this particular hermeneutical lens. In using the term “apophaticism,” the book is not merely referring to the theological “via negativa” or to tendencies towards mysticism, but rather to a comprehensive epistemological stance that “refuses to identify truth with its formulation and to identify the understanding of the signifier with the knowledge of its signified reality,” to use Christos Yannaras’ definition. The question of whether Ludwig Wittgenstein’s work can be approached as a particularly efflorescent case of the implementation of an implicitly (and at times explicitly) apophatic epistemology is herewith addressed. As such, this volume contends that such an approach would not merely provide elucidations on apophatic epistemologies, but rather shed potentially valuable hermeneutical light on Wittgenstein’s work, functioning as an epistemological thread running through it. Consequently, the focal points here consist of questions concerning knowledge and its disclosure, ineffability, non-discursivity, the function of language, the limits of one’s language as the limits of one’s world, and the language of religion, among others. In addition, the volume’s contribution to shedding more light on the apophatic aspects of Ludwig Wittgenstein’s philosophy is enhanced by its inclusion of a broad spectrum of different approaches, with contributors ranging from Wittgenstein scholars to Patristics scholars—and beyond.
Sotiris Mitralexis is currently Assistant Professor of Philosophy at the City University of Istanbul (İstanbul Şehir Üniversitesi). He received a doctorate in Philosophy from the Freie Universität Berlin, and a degree in Classics from the University of Athens. He has taught Philosophy at Boğaziçi University (Istanbul), Berlin and Athens, and has co-organized the international conferences “Maximus the Confessor as a European Philosopher” (September 2014, Berlin) and “Ontology and History” (May 2015, Delphi). His doctoral thesis, entitled Ever-Moving Repose: The Notion of Time in Maximus the Confessor’s Philosophy Through the Perspective of a Relational Ontology (2014), is currently being prepared for publication.
“The way this book approaches Wittgenstein’s work from an entirely unique perspective, without imposing an exclusive view, is truly interesting. This way of accessing Wittgenstein reaches a – or perhaps the – central core of Wittgenstein’s philosophizing. This publication is certainly a most enriching one!”
PD Dr. Josef G. F. Rothhaupt
Faculty of Philosophy, Philosophy of Science and the Study of Religion, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München
“This collection of essays provides a variety of original insights into the relations of Wittgenstein’s philosophy to apophaticism, construed as a “comprehensive epistemological stance,” not confined to a particular religious or cultural tradition, according to which knowledge “is not exhausted by its formulation”. The authors draw on seminal texts by the author of the Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus and of the Lecture on Ethics, as well as by Maximus the Confessor, Thomas Aquinas and Søren Kierkegaard, attempting to explore the limits of conceptual thought and of intelligible expression and to assess the possibility of an ineffable access to immanent and transcendent aspects of a divine “Other” and to the realm of values. It is recommended to Wittgenstein scholars, philosophers of religion and Orthodox theologians interested in the resources of the apophatic tradition.”
Professor of Philosophy, University of Athens
Pui Him Ip
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