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Wittgenstein on Thinking, Learning and Teaching

Patrick Quinn

Wittgenstein is not generally thought of as a philosopher of education, yet his views on how we think, learn and teach have the potential to contribute significantly to our contemporary understanding of pedagogy. Wittgenstein himself was a lifelong learner whose method consisted of thinking intensely about a wide range of topics, including not only the philosophy of language, logic and mathematics but also architecture, music, ethics, religion, culture and psychoanalysis. He then shared his observations and conclusions with his students as a way of teaching them how to think and learn for themselves, and his personification of the learner-teacher deeply impressed those who witnessed his pedagogical performances during his ‘lectures’. This study presents a detailed exploration of Wittgenstein’s legacy as an educationalist, now accessible to us through the extensive published collections of his thoughts on the subject.

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aeronautics xv, aesthetics 76, 84, 103 allegory 91 Ambrose, Alice 9, 26, 96, 107, 113–4 American 22 Anscombe, Elizabeth xvii–xviii, 14, 53 asceticism 18 Augustine, St 24, 31–2, 34–6, 119 belief xvii, xx, 19–22, 31, 53–6, 59–66, 68–71, 75, 85, 93, 96, 129 Berkeley, George 12, 46 Catholic Church 54, 60 certainty xvii, xx, 14, 48, 53–5, 59, 62–4, 69, 71, 96 child, children 3–5, 7–9, 31–2, 34–6, 56, 61, 70, 99, 106, 111, 128 Christ, Christian 19, 48, 59–60, 64, 66–70, 103, 129, 131 clarity 11, 14, 15, 17, 19–23, 25–6, 28–9, 65, 72, 109, 112, 129–30, 132 confession 4, 70, 105, 108, 116, 121–2 conscience 68, 76, 82, 85, 89, 99, 122 culture xv, 21–23, 47, 57, 121 definition 11–13, 23–24, 31, 41, 66, 88, 92 Descartes, Rene xx, 30, 41, 53, 59, 62–3, 72, 105 description 11–12, 30–32, 36–37, 83, 88, 93, 97, 127 dictionary 5–6, 34 dogma 60, 67 Dostoeivsky, Fyodor 31 doubt xvii, xx, 10, 13, 20, 38, 53, 55–6, 59, 61–64, 69, 96 Drury, Maurice O’Connor (Con) vii, xv, 9, 28, 67–8, 76, 110, 112, 117, 119, 125 Dublin xiii–xiv, xix, 11, 28, 33, 110 education vii, xiii–xvii, 5, 8–9, 19–20, 51, 57–8, 127–9 Engelmann, Paul 1–6, 11, 18–19, 64–66, 75, 82, 84,...

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