Wittgenstein is recognized as one of the greatest 20th century philosophers. Yet his legacy remains controversial. Philosophy at UEA is internationally known as a hub of Wittgensteinian philosophy, with a lively PhD community and a research seminar series attracting visiting speakers from around the globe, the UEA Wittgenstein workshop. Our research covers all aspects of Wittgenstein’s work, and represents different interpretational approaches to his work. We complement historical-exegetical scholarship with philosophical deployment of Wittgensteinian ideas and approaches in contemporary debates.
Oskari Kuusela’s work on Wittgenstein covers both Wittgenstein’s early and late philosophy, with different aspects, including ethics. Kuusela has been particularly concerned to explain what Wittgenstein means by philosophy without theories and theses, and how such an approach is consistent with advancing positive accounts of philosophical matters (pace therapeutic or quietist interpretations).
His first book explained Wittgenstein’s rejection of philosophical theories as a response to the problem of dogmatism in philosophy: a dilemma of injustice or emptiness of philosophical statements. Kuusela’s most recent work addresses related questions concerning the logical status and role of philosophical statements. It argues that Wittgenstein is first and foremost a logician throughout his philosophical career, who continues to develop Russell’s and Frege’s ideas about a logical philosophy in his later work, and introduces new logical methods, such as the method of language-games.
- O. Kuusela (forthcoming) Logic as the Method of Philosophy. Oxford UP.
- O. Kuusela, M. Ometita and T. Ucan, eds. (2018): Wittgenstein and Phenomenology. Routledge.
- O. Kuusela and M. McGinn, eds. (2011): The Oxford Handbook of Wittgenstein. Oxford UP.
- O. Kuusela The Struggle against Dogmatism. Harvard UP.
- G. Kahane, E. Kanterian, and O. Kuusela, eds. (2007): Wittgenstein and His Interpreters. Essays in Memory of Gordon Baker. Wiley.
Rupert Read is known as a representative of resolute readings of Wittgenstein. In his current work he further develops this reading, also influenced by the work of the later Gordon Baker, into a liberatory conception of Wittgenstein’s philosophy. Read also widely applies Wittgenstein’s work, for instance, to the methodology of the sciences, to film, and to politics and ecology.
- R. Read (2016): “Wittgenstein and the illusion of ‘progress’”, Royal Institute of Philosophy supplement on The History Of Philosophy, pp.265-284;
- R. Read (2013): A Wittgensteinian Way with Paradoxes. Rowman and Littlefield (Lexington).
- R. Read and P. Hutchinson (2013): ‘Practising pragmatist-Wittgensteinianism’. In A. Malachowski ed. The Cambridge Companion to Pragmatism. Cambridge University Press.
- R. Read and M. Lavery, eds. (2011): Beyond the Tractatus Wars. New York: Routledge, 2011.
- R. Read and J. Goodenough eds. (2005): Film as Philosophy: Essays on Cinema after Wittgenstein and Cavell. Palgrave.
- R. Read and A. Crary, eds. (2000): The New Wittgenstein. Routledge.
Eugen Fischer has pioneered substantive therapeutic interpretations of Wittgenstein's later work (and some work by J.L. Austin). Such readings proceed from scientifically informed and empirically grounded accounts of philosophical thought, which give content to talk of ‘diseases of the understanding', the ‘symptoms' and ‘illnesses' they engender, and philosophical ‘therapies' to ‘cure' them. Some of this research draws on findings from current experimental philosophy. The underlying concern is to explain exactly where, and why, philosophical therapy needs to complement familiar forms of philosophical argument, and to develop techniques to carry it out.
- E. Fischer (2018): Wittgensteinian ‘Therapy’, Experimental Philosophy, and Metaphilosophical Naturalism. In K. Cahill and T. Raleigh (eds.): Wittgenstein and Naturalism. New York: Routledge.
- E. Fischer (2011): Philosophical Delusion and its Therapy. New York: Routledge.
- E. Fischer (2008): Wittgenstein’s Non-Cognitivism – Explained and Vindicated. Synthese, 162 (1), 53-84.
- E. Ammereller and E. Fischer, eds. (2004): Wittgenstein at Work. Method in the “Philosophical Investigations”. Routledge. With chapter.
Catherine Rowett brings approaches inspired by Wittgenstein to her work on Ancient Philosophy, and deploys some direct engagement with exegetical work in both fields. Besides the chapter listed below, see also her work in Knowledge and Truth in Plato, forthcoming from Oxford University Press.
- Catherine Rowett (2013): 'Plato, Wittgenstein and the definition of games.' In Luigi Perissinotto and Begoña Ramón Cámara (eds.), Wittgenstein and Plato: Connections, Comparisons and Contrasts. Palgrave Macmillan.
Eugen Fischer is a co-editor of the Routledge book series Wittgenstein’s Thought and Legacy.
Oskari Kuusela is a member of the Editorial Board for the Springer book series Nordic Wittgenstein Studies.
Rupert Read and Catherine Rowett are on the Editorial Board of Philosophical Investigations.
Conferences and Workshops
In addition to the UEA Wittgenstein workshop, which is a seminar series, we have hosted conferences and symposia that include:
- Wittgenstein: Ethics and Politics (22 June 2016),
- The Faces of Necessity (9-10 June 2015),
- Wittgenstein/Phenomenology (in collaboration with the University of Bordeaux, 11 June 2013)
- Philosophy as Therapy: Wittgenstein and beyond (25-26 March 2011),
- Backwards and Forward: Question of Method, conference of the Nordic Network for Wittgenstein Research (15-16 February, 2008).
- Sidra Shahid. The Transformation of the Transcendental. 2017.
- Mark Curtis. A therapeutic elimination of “belief” and “desire” from causal accounts of intentional action. 2015
- Mihai Ometita. Wittgenstein and the Problem of Phenomenology. 2015.
- Ryan Dawson. Leaving Mathematics as it is: Wittgenstein’s Philosophy of Mathematics. 2015.
- Odi Alzobi. Wittgenstein and Austin on ‘what is common’: A Neglected Perspective? 2015.
- Ben Walker. Grammatical and Geneological Investigation: Two Models of Antidogmatic Philosophical Method. 2012.
- Jamie Potter Reflective Equilibrium: A Wittgensteinian Approach, November 2010.
If you are interested in learning more about this area of research, or applying for a postgraduate position, please contact Oskari Kuusela.