Later Wittgenstein's Anti-Philosophical Therapy

Jacquette, Dale (2014). Later Wittgenstein's Anti-Philosophical Therapy. Philosophy, 89(2), pp. 251-272. Cambridge University Press 10.1017/S0031819114000011

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The object of this essay is to discuss Ludwig Wittgenstein's remarks in Philosophical Investigations and elsewhere in the posthumously published writings concerning the role of therapy in relation to philosophy. Wittgenstein's reflections seem to suggest that there is a kind of philosophy or mode of investigation targeting the philosophical grammar of language uses that gratuitously give rise to philosophical problems, and produce in many thinkers philosophical anxieties for which the proper therapy is intended to offer relief. Two possible objectives of later Wittgensteinian therapy are proposed, for subjective psychological versus objective semantic symptoms of ailments that a therapy might address for the sake of relieving philosophical anxieties. The psychological in its most plausible form is rejected, leaving only the semantic. Semantic therapy in the sense defined and developed is more general and long-lasting, and more in the spirit of Wittgenstein's project on a variety of levels. A semantic approach treats language rather than the thinking, language-using subject as the patient needing therapy, and directs its attention to the treatment of problems in language and the conceptual framework a language game use expresses in its philosophical grammar, rather than to soothing unhappy or socially ill-adjusted individual psychologies.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


06 Faculty of Humanities > Department of Art and Cultural Studies > Institute of Philosophy
06 Faculty of Humanities > Department of Art and Cultural Studies > Institute of Philosophy > Theoretical Philosophy

UniBE Contributor:

Jacquette, Dale


100 Philosophy




Cambridge University Press




Caroline Bolz

Date Deposited:

13 Mar 2015 09:32

Last Modified:

24 Aug 2016 17:27

Publisher DOI:





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