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Hertz, Wittgenstein and Philosophical Method

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There have recently appeared claims that the influence Heinrich Hertz exerted over Wittgenstein's later work was far more abiding than previously recognised. I critically evaluate such claims by Gordon Baker and Allan Janik. I first show that Hertz was indeed concerned with the same feature, clarity, which often exercised Wittgenstein. But I then argue that Wittgenstein should not be seen as having adopted the conception of philosophical method, which Hertz deployed in The Principles of Mechanics. I show that Hertz ‘clarifies’ the concept of force only in the sense that he alters that concept, and that he is not using the sort of ‘contrastive’ methods characteristic of Wittgenstein's later works.

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-9205.2008.00333.x

Publication date: January 1, 2008

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