Occasional Lecture

Hans-Johann Glock

29th August, 2024

@ 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm

To join this event on Zoom, you must first register via Zoom Places are limited. Participants will be allowed in from the Zoom Waiting Room a few minutes before 6pm.

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About the Speaker

About the Speaker

Hans-Johann Glock is a Professor of Philosophy and a member of the Swiss National Science foundation National Centre of Competence in Research Evolving Language, as well as Visiting Professor at the University of Reading (UK) and a recipient of a Humboldt Research Prize. He has published several  monographs and anthologies with leading publishers (Wiley-Blackwell, Cambridge University Press, Oxford University Press, Routledge). He is also the author of numerours articles in international peer-reviewed journals on topics in the philosophy of language, the philosophy of mind, the philosophy of animal minds, theory of action, the history and meta-philosophy of analytic philosophy and Wittgenstein.


Selected Bibliography

Glock, H.-J. (Ed.). (2022). Normativity, Meaning and Philosophy: Essays on Wittgenstein. Anthem Press. Cite
Glock, H. J. (2008). What Is Analytic Philosophy? Cambridge University Press. Cite
Glock, H.-J., & Hyman, J. (2008). Wittgenstein and Analytic Philosophy: Essays for P. M. S. Hacker. Oxford University Press. Cite
Glock, H.-J., & Hyman, J. (Eds.). (2017). A Companion to Wittgenstein. Wiley-Blackwell. Cite


Hans-Johann Glock will be discussing his new collection of essays on Wittgenstein and Wittgensteinian themes that originally appeared between 1996 and 2019. It is divided into three parts, with a common trajectory laid out in a substantial introduction. The first part links meaning, necessity and normativity. It defends and modifies Wittgenstein’s claim that the idea of a ‘grammatical rule’ holds the key to understanding linguistic meaning and its connection to necessary propositions. The second part elucidates the connections between meaning, concepts and thought in Wittgenstein and beyond. It shows how he laid the grounds for a sound understanding of four contested issues—radical interpretation, concepts, nonsense and the scope and limits of animal thought. The third part provides a qualified defence of Wittgenstein’s influential yet extremely controversial idea that philosophical problems are conceptual, and thereby rooted in confusions concerning the meanings of and semantic relations between linguistic expressions. Against irrationalist interpretations, Glock demonstrates that Wittgenstein’s method is argumentative rather than therapeutic.

The essays reconstruct Wittgenstein’s writings in a way that identifies the often cryptic problems and arguments in his work. This sets them apart from a currently popular trend of therapeutic interpretations, as in the ‘New Wittgenstein’ school. By contrast to other critics of such interpretations, Glock acknowledges that they are to a limited extent warranted by some aspects of Wittgenstein’s work, e.g. concerning the notion of nonsense or what he calls ‘the myth of mere method’. At the same time the essays convincingly criticize these aspects and show that they are not presupposed by the more important lessons that Wittgenstein still has to teach. 

The collection brings out the abiding relevance of Wittgenstein’s reflections to contemporary debates on central themes such as the importance of normativity, the foundations of meaning and necessity, the nature of concepts, the possibility of animal thought and the proper method of philosophy. 


Available after the event.