The Ockham Society (Wednesday - Week 7, HT21)

Ockham Society

I want to make manifest some intimate connexions between Amia Srinivasan's conception of worldmaking and some of the themes of Wittgenstein’s later philosophy. My work falls into two parts. The first part connects worldmaking (conceived agnostically with regard to its status as philosophy) to Wittgenstein’s later conceptions of language and of philosophy. I wish to show how the possibility and plausibility of worldmaking and its methods might be thought to arise naturally from a Wittgensteinian conception of language. I also wish to illuminate how worldmaking's diagnostic dimension strongly overlaps the diagnostic character of Wittgenstein’s philosophical methods. But this raises an interesting question, that occupies the second part of the present work: to what extent might this image of worldmaking qualify as philosophy within the Wittgensteinian paradigm? Prima facie, worldmaking qua philosophy seems wholly anti-Wittgensteinian: it is manifestly anti-descriptive in that its purpose is to interfere with the use of language. I want to hazard here, however, that in some ways, worldmaking as philosophy may be seen as markedly Wittgensteinian in character, particularly on a Cavellian reading of the later Wittgenstein. That this might be the case turns on what I take to be some of the deepest insights into Wittgenstein's thought on grammar, criteria and the first-person plural. While Wittgenstein himself may well have repudiated the image of philosophy I suggest, I want to say that a faithful extension of (some of) his thought yields the possibility of worldmaking not just as an activity in general, but as one that is manifestly philosophical.

Additional Information: Ockham will be held on MS Teams during HT21. Please email if you wish to attend. 

Ockham Society Convenor: Steven Diggin | Ockham Society Webpage