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Critical commentary about Ludwig Wittgenstein's view of 'hinge propositions - Essay Example

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Critical commentary about Ludwig Wittgenstein's view of 'hinge propositions

When what is considered known turns out to be false, it is a shattering experience that can change the perception of life and the worldview of those who are then enlightened by new truths. The idea of what is known is absolute is an important premise upon which entire belief systems are built. Wittgenstein, when he wrote about the theory of hinge propositions that ended up on a consolidated volume called On Certainty, he was searching for a way to eliminate scepticism from the general belief systems that exist within philosophy. Although the theory of hinge propositions appears to have a solution for the subject of scepticism, the idea that there can be ‘knowns’ has been historically refuted, changing the world view and the position of human beings through profound changes which prove that absolutes are not always absolutely true and are dependent upon cultural belief systems. There are many problems with the exploration that Wittgenstein has made on the concept of hinge propositions. In his search for an answer for scepticism, he made copious notes on the topic which is what have been put together in order to create the volume of work that is known as On Certainty. Moyal-Sharrock criticizes it as not being a work because it was never composed into a true book or volume, but rather it is a group of notes that are not well organized and they were never polished. Still, they have a thematic continuity that allows for an overall impression of the thoughts that Wittgenstein was having about certainty without the benefit of cohesion created by placing them together to form theoretical foundations.1 Prichard goes on to discuss how Wittgenstein is not trying to highlight something that is not accessible but is trying to shed light on what is familiar, creating a discourse on the nature of language and the way it is not only an activity, but a form of life. Language only has value as it is in use.2 How humans express their lives and what they know is central to creating socialization and culture, giving meaning and frameworks within which a certainty of knowing develops and creates a foundation for other theories and belief systems. Theory of Hinge Propositions The last year and a half of Ludwig Wittgenstein’s life produced a series of writing on philosophy that proposed great number ideas about the concept of what is known. As an example, Wittgenstein established that he knows that he has one hand and that he also has another. He established that “the earth existed a long time before my birth” as an assertion that this was another concept that was known (OC Preface). His purpose in bringing forward the ideas that seem so simple as truths was to create an awareness that there are always ideas that are a given and are the basis upon which theory is built. He states “That is to say, it belongs to the logic of our scientific investigations that certain things are in deed not in doubt” (OC §342). He uses the idea of the hinge as a way to define what he means. He states “If I want the door to turn, the hinges must stay put” (OC §343). In order to create inquiry, there are stabilities in belief that are maintained to make those theories work. There are absolutes that create a sense of stability upon which the world operates, those beliefs creating a solid platform from which to situate all other belief systems, some of which must then take leaps based ...Show more


Critical commentary about Ludwig Wittgenstein’s view of ‘hinge propositions’ That is to say, the questions that we raise and our doubts depend on the fact that some propositions are exempt from doubt, are as it were like hinges on which those turn Introduction The theory of hinge propositions is based on what people can claim is known…
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Critical commentary about Ludwig Wittgensteins view of hinge propositions essay example
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