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Wittgenstein and the Limits of Language

September 8, 2016 - September 9, 2016

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A conference organized by the Centre of Excellence Reason and Religious Recognition, funded by the Academy of Finland and hosted by the Faculty of Theology at the University of Helsinki, in collaboration with the Philosophical Society of Finland.

September 8–9 2016
University of Helsinki, Finland

Confirmed Keynote Speakers are:

Bill Child (Oxford University)
Hans-Johann Glock (University of Zurich)

Abstract submission deadline: April 15 2016

In the Preface of Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus, Wittgenstein writes that “the aim of the book is to draw a limit to thought, or rather – not to thought, but to the expression thoughts: for in order to be able to draw a limit to thought, we should have to find both sides of the limit thinkable” (TLP 3). The notion of a limit of language surfaces numerous times in the Tractatus, and it is not absent from Wittgenstein’s later work either. In 1931, Wittgenstein connects the idea of a limit of language to the “Kantian solution of the problem of philosophy” (CV 13). In Philosophical Grammar we find him stating that “The links of the chain of reasons come to an end, at the boundary of the game” (PG 97). In the Philosophical Investigations, Wittgenstein mentions the “bumps that the understanding has got by running up against the limits of language” (PI § 119). How should we interpret these and other references to the limits of language in Wittgenstein’s published and unpublished manuscripts? What is the relation between Wittgenstein’s early and later use of the notion of the limits of language? What would it mean to overcome those limits? The purpose of this two-day conference is to provide a platform for Wittgenstein scholars to discuss these and related themes in Wittgenstein’s work.

We welcome paper proposals for the conference to be held in Helsinki on September 8–9 2016. Topics to be discussed may include but are not limited to:
· Nonsense and logic as the limit of language
· The metaphysical subject
· Wittgenstein’s ethics and aesthetics
· Wittgenstein’s later conception of reasons and rationality
· Wittgenstein’s philosophy of religion
· The relation between Kant and Wittgenstein.
Abstracts up to 500 words should be submitted by email to Hanne Appelqvist: hanne.appelqvist[at]helsinki.fi. Abstracts should include the author’s name, affiliation, contact information, and title of the paper. Accepted proposals will be given a presentation time of 45 minutes (30 minutes for presentation and 15 minutes for discussion). The deadline for proposals is Friday April 15 2016. Notification of acceptance will be sent out by the end of May 2016.

Organizing committee:
Sami Pihlström
Hanne Appelqvist
Panu-Matti Pöykkö

For further information, please contact Hanne Appelqvist (hanne.appelqvist[at]helsinki.fi).


September 8, 2016
September 9, 2016
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Hanne Appelqvis


University of Helsinki
Helsinki, Yliopistonkatu 4, 00100 Helsink Finland + Google Map