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Wittgenstein on Forms of Life and the Nature of Experience


Edited By Antonio Marques and Nuno Venturinha

To what extent is the form of our life fixed, i.e. is there a form of life or forms of life? How does this bear on the nature of experience? These are two Wittgensteinian questions in need of clarification. Wittgenstein on Forms of Life and the Nature of Experience sheds light on a much exploited but rarely analysed topic in Wittgenstein scholarship while addressing central themes of contemporary philosophy. Bringing together essays from some of the leading scholars in the field, the book concentrates on Wittgenstein’s concept of Lebensform(en), and more specifically its evolution in the author’s thought until his death in 1951.


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JESÚS PADILLA GÁLVEZ Form of Life as Arithmetical Experiment 113


113 Form of Life as Arithmetical Experiment JESÚS PADILLA GÁLVEZ Wittgenstein’s works are a continuing source of surprise and in- spiration for further philosophical thinking. The author introduced the interesting notion of “form of life” in the Philosophical Investi- gations although he used this expression only sparingly in his work.1 In the following sections I will approach this issue from different angles and try to analyse it in more detail. For instance, at the beginning of the Philosophical Investigations the author describes language as being linked to a form of life: Und eine Sprache vorstellen heißt, sich eine Lebensform vorstellen.2 This statement contains two interesting aspects, the link between language and form of life and the mental activity of imagination (Vorstellung). This raises the question of how language can actu- ally be imagined or represented. What kind of analogy is there between imagining a language on the one hand and imagining a form of life on the other? These questions may be reduced to the crucial problem of how language and form of life are interre- lated. Obviously, Wittgenstein suggests that the reader imagine lan- guage and form of life as related phenomena. However, this as- sumption gives rise to more queries because our imagination is 1 See Fred 1919 (pseudo. for Alfred Wechsler) and Hofmannsthal’s review (1979) of Wechsler’s book. The origin of the word “Lebensform” was char- acterized as remarks on the technique of social life (“Anmerkungen über die Technik des gesellschaftlichen Lebens”). 2 “And...

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