WW Bartley,III on the implications of the Wittgensteinian problematic

Under the approach stemming from the later writings of Wittgenstein, each discipline or field or ‘language game’ or ‘form of life’ is alleged to have its own ungrounded ultimate standards or principles or ‘logic’, embedded in action, which need not conform to or be reducible to any other standards, and which, again, it is the special task of the philosopher to describe and clarify but to eschew judging or defending. As Wittgenstein says: ‘As if giving grounds did not come to an end sometime. But the end is not an ungrounded presupposition; it is an ungrounded was of acting.’

. . .

This simple — and, ironically enough, apparently logical — extension has immediate and weighty consequences. It literally means that there is no arguing or judging among disciplines — or different activities, or forms of life — any more. Not only is there no longer a universal theory of criticism; there is no longer room even for cross-disciplinary criticism. Logic cannot judge science; or science, history; or history, religion. And so on. There is no unity to knowledge — or science. Rather, all knowledge is essentially divided. There is a spangled diversity. Scientific imperialism makes way for disciplinary independence — some might say anarchy — and the natural division of knowledge. Preservation of a minimum of "Two Cultures" is underwritten by professional philosophy, and the existing fragmentation of both university and larger community is given a theoretical justification. In this theoretical justification itself resides all that remains of unity and community. Furthermore, the fragmentation is noncompetitive, non-threatening, since no one segment may censure any other. Indeed, everyone acquires total protection, freedom from competition, on any fundamental issue. [all footnotes omitted]

From Unfathomed Knowledge, Unmeasured Wealth , chapter 14, end of section 4 and start of section 5

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My full name is Matt Dioguardi. I have been interested in critical rationalism for about 10 years. I am the administrator of this blog, if you have an questions or problems please let me know.
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