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Revisiting "The 'Philosophical Investigations’ children"

Lesnik-Oberstein, K. ORCID: (2018) Revisiting "The 'Philosophical Investigations’ children". Wittgenstein Studien, 9 (1). pp. 227-247. ISSN 1868-7458

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To link to this item DOI: 10.1515/witt-2018-0011


In my 2003 article “The Philosophical Investigations’ children” I offered a non-essentialist reading of the child in Wittgenstein’s work, arguing that such a reading challenged previous interpretations of the text by analysing an a priori reliance on a “real child” as part of a reliance on a “real world” somehow outside of textuality. I further argued that my anti-essentialist reading of the child is authorised by the Philosophical Investigations’ own arguments and positions and that interpretations of this text that maintain an investment in a materialist “real” (including the child as real or actual) fail fully to understand the nature of Wittgenstein’s interest in and definition of “language games” and an attendant engagement with issues of perspectives and their implications. In this article, I follow up on the current status of readings of the child in relation to Philosophical Investigations and the wider implications of those readings, including for ideas of the “pedagogy” of Philosophical Investigations itself, including demonstrating how both subsequent essentialist and non-essentialist readings of Philosophical Investigations continue to overlook implications of non-essentialist thinking about childhood.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Arts, Humanities and Social Science > School of Literature and Languages > Graduate Centre for International Research in Childhood (CIRCL)
Arts, Humanities and Social Science > School of Literature and Languages > English Literature
Arts, Humanities and Social Science > Identities
ID Code:72572
Uncontrolled Keywords:Wittgenstein; child; philosophy; pedagogy; children’s literature
Publisher:De Gruyter


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