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Janik on Hertz and the Early Wittgenstein

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Various claims have been made about the influence of Heinrich Hertz's Principles of Mechanics on Wittgenstein's work. I consider some such recent claims, made by Allan Janik, to the effect that Hertz exercised a very strong influence on Wittgenstein, early and late. I suggest they are ill-founded, in virtue of misinterpretations either of Hertz, or of Wittgenstein, or of both. I try to set the record straight on issues such as the three criteria Hertz suggests for evaluating scientific 'representations' [Darstellungen] or 'images' [Bilder], his conception of philosophy, the nature of Hertz's project and its relation to philosophy, the extent to which he agrees and disagrees with Ernst Mach, and his influence on the Tractatus.

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: April 1, 2006


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