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The Fate of Wonder Wittgenstein's Critique of Metaphysics and Modernity by Kevin (Associate Professor, University of Bergen) Cahill

The Fate of Wonder Wittgenstein's Critique of Metaphysics and Modernity



The Fate of Wonder Wittgenstein's Critique of Metaphysics and Modernity by Kevin (Associate Professor, University of Bergen) Cahill

Kevin M. Cahill reclaims one of Ludwig Wittgenstein's most passionately pursued endeavors: to reawaken a sense of wonder around human life and language and its mysterious place in the world. Following the philosopher's spiritual and cultural criticism and tying it more tightly to the overall evolution of his thought, Cahill frames an original interpretation of Wittgenstein's engagement with Western metaphysics and modernity, better contextualizing the force of his work. Cahill synthesizes several approaches to Wittgenstein's life and thought. He stresses the nontheoretical aspirations of the philosopher's early and later writings, combining key elements from the so-called resolute readings of the Tractatus with the therapeutic readings of Philosophical Investigations. Cahill shows how continuity in Wittgenstein's cultural and spiritual concerns informed if not guided his work between these texts, and in his reading of the Tractatus, Cahill identifies surprising affinities with Martin Heidegger's Being and Time-a text rarely associated with Wittgenstein's early formulations. In his effort to recapture wonder, Wittgenstein both avoided and undermined traditional philosophy's reliance on theory. As Cahill relates the steps of this bold endeavor, he forms his own innovative, analytical methods, joining historicist and contextualist approaches to text-based, immanent readings. The result is an original, sustained examination of Wittgenstein's thought.


Kevin M. Cahill knows the relevant literature well and deploys it with care and sophistication, developing an interpretation that confirms and enhances the intrinsic intellectual interest of resolute and therapeutic readings of Wittgenstein. -- Stephen Mulhall, New College, Oxford University, author of Wittgenstein's Private Language: Grammar, Nonsense, and Imagination in Philosophical Investigations ...a worthy contribution to this discussion. Choice ...a book of multiple ambitions, skillfully juggled and substantially realized. -- Naomi Scheman Austrain Sstudies NewsMagazine

About the Author

Kevin M. Cahill is associate professor of philosophy at the University of Bergen, Norway. He has authored several journal publications on Wittgenstein and is coeditor, with Lene Johannessen, of Considering Class: Essays on the Discourse of the American Dream. His next work is entitled Skepticism and the Human Condition.

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Book Info

Publication date

11th October 2011


Kevin (Associate Professor, University of Bergen) Cahill

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Columbia University Press


272 pages


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