Wittgenstein’s Philosophy of Psychology
Workshop at the
University of Zurich, Faculty of Philosophy
(University College, Oxford)
23 November 2018
After the completion of Part I of Philosophical Investigations and up until his death, Wittgenstein wrote extensively about psychological and epistemological notions. In recent years, there has been a growing interest in Wittgenstein’s treatment of concepts such as certainty, doubt, and belief. This focus on the epistemological contributions of what has sometimes been dubbed ‘the Third Wittgenstein’ has somewhat overshadowed Wittgenstein’s striking and often idiosyncratic remarks about various and sundry psychological notions and his abortive attempts to arrive at a more or less systematic classification of them. This workshop aims to illuminate some of these perhaps unduly neglected aspects of Wittgenstein’s late philosophy. A special emphasis will be placed on seeing-as, since the discussion of that phenomenon is particularly elaborate and provides a unifying thread to parts of Wittgenstein’s seemingly disjointed discussions, especially in section xi of “Philosophy of Psychology: A Fragment” (formerly known as Part II of Philosophical Investigations). Apart from examining specific phenomena and notions, more general methodological issues might also be discussed, concerning in particular the legitimacy of a ‘grammatical’ approach to philosophical psychology.
For this one-day workshop we will be joined by William Child, who is Professor of Philosophy at the University of Oxford (University College). He is the author of a standard introduction to Wittgenstein’s philosophy (Wittgenstein, Routledge, 2011) and has written seminal papers on a wide range of topics in Wittgenstein’s philosophy of mind and psychology, often highlighting their relevance to contemporary debates in the field.
Call for Papers
Contributions to the workshop should deal with issues that Wittgenstein raises in his late writings on the philosophy of psychology, ideally focussing on “Philosophy of Psychology: A Fragment”. The workshop thus allows for a discussion of Wittgenstein’s remarks on various broadly speaking psychological phenomena and/or concepts, such as seeing-as, memory, meaning something, etc. Moreover, contributions that explore the ramifications between these notions and other related concepts – e.g. the relation between aspect perception and secondary meaning, or that between meaning something and rule-following – are welcome. Lastly, methodological question may be investigated: is Wittgenstein’s ‘grammatical’ (or, more generally speaking, an ordinary language inspired) approach to philosophical psychology still pertinent, or has it been completely superseded by (or integrated into) more interdisciplinary research?
Please send your abstract (maximum length 500 words) to by 28 October 2018, mentioning ‘Workshop with William Child’ in the subject line. Abstracts should be formatted for blind review and free of personal and institutional information. Applicants shall be informed about the outcome of the review process in early November and successful ones must submit their papers (maximum length 8,000 words) by 15 November 2018. The papers will then be circulated and all participants are expected to have read them before the workshop. Please note that travel costs and other expenses cannot be reimbursed, but lunch and dinner are provided for the speakers on the day of the workshop.
Attendance is free, but registration is necessary. Places are limited and will be allocated on a first-come, first-served basis. To register, please send an email to (stating your full name, academic title and institutional affiliation) by 17 November 2018.
If you have any questions, please feel free to contact the organiser.