Insurrection and Commonwealth
Chapter 4. The “Linguistic Turn” and Anti-Foundationalism
· 4 · the “linguistic turn” and anti-foundationalism 1. Wittgenstein’s Evasion of Philosophy The ideas of Ludwig Wittgenstein and Friedrich Nietzsche stand at the thresh- old of the contemporary language and logic of postmodernism. Wittgenstein’s Philosophical Investigations (PI) taught the postmoderns1 how to challenge objectivist theories of knowledge by deconstructing “metaphysics” into lan- guage, and how to debunk reflexivity and grand narration in speech in favor of a relativist epistemology and a banal functionalist analysis. This linguistic “turn” in social theory holds that the critical theory of society must first of all recognize that we use speech as a tool to get work done, and that our linguistic behavior primarily has a game-like character. Wittgenstein tells us we are to “look on the language-game as the primary thing” (PI 656). “Our 1 Lyotard, Baudrillard, Foucault, and Hardt and Negri are intended here, and will be treated briefly below. Numbers given in references to PI ([1945-49] 1999) and other volumes by Wittgenstein are not page numbers, but the references given to each of his explicitly numbered statements. Nietzsche’s Will to Power (written 1883-88, but only posthumously published in 1930) likewise has each aphoristic entry numbered; as does his (1882) Gay Science. 74 philosophy & critical pedagogy mistake [has been] to look for an explanation where we ought…to have said: this language-game is being played” (PI 654). For Wittgenstein, philosophy’s sole task was “stating the rules of the game.…” (PI 109). Philosophy was neither to explain nor analyze, rather it was but to take...
You are not authenticated to view the full text of this chapter or article.
This site requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books or journals.
Do you have any questions? Contact us.Or login to access all content.