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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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JOACHIM SCHULTE Does the Devil in Hell Have a Form of Life? 125


125 Does the Devil in Hell Have a Form of Life? JOACHIM SCHULTE The title of my paper comes from a little-known passage to be found in a manuscript Wittgenstein wrote in 1944. The passage is short and apparently not connected with the material surround- ing it, some of which is accessible in the last part of Wittgenstein’s Remarks on the Foundations of Mathematics. The passage reads as follows: Even the devil in hell has one form of life; and the world would not be complete without it.1 It is surely worth trying to understand what this passage means, but I shall make an attempt to do so only at the end of this paper. Before I get there, quite a few things need to be clarified. So I shall return to this nice quotation after a number of preparatory remarks. The English expression “form of life” is the usual translation of Wittgenstein’s compound noun “Lebensform”. This term enjoys a certain reputation, perhaps even notoriety, among people inter- ested in Wittgenstein’s philosophy. Like the expression “family resemblance”, for instance, it is well-known and much discussed, even though it does not occur all that often in his published writ- ings. There are three occurrences of the word in the Philosophical Investigations proper and two in the fragment on philosophy of 1 MS 127, 128: “Auch der Teufel in der Hölle hat eine Form des Lebens; & die Welt wäre nicht vollständig ohne sie”. Quotations from Wittgenstein’s manu- scripts are...

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