According to this website, the electronic text of the Philosophical Investigations was developed by">http://hermes.arts.cuhk.edu.hk/Philosophy/Wittgenstein/pi/. According to this website, the electronic text of the Philosophical Investigations was developed by Hsiu-hwang Ho and Tze-wan Kwan with the assistance of programming assistant Ting-yat Chui and technical assistant Hei-yin Lau, and made available on the World Wide Web, August 10, 1998. The website states that this page was constructed for private use within the Chinese University of Hong Kong only.
||One of the most difficult or misleading aspects of Wittgenstein's Philosophical Investigations is the way in which he uses multiple voices to converse with himself. To have a sense of understanding Wittgenstein, you need to be able to hear these different voices.The Philosophical Investigations is written in aphorisms, short numbered passages that are loosely tied together in terms of theme. He often begins an aphorism with a quoted passage. For example, he begins the first aphorism with a quotation from Augustine.|
|Most quoted passages are not actual quotes, however, but rather Wittgenstein's
construction of a kind of interlocutor. This interlocutor might be
thought of in terms of Augustine, Plato, characters in Plato's dialogues,
Bertrand Russell or even early Wittgenstein, or perhaps just a vague composite
of these various figures. At any rate, this voice (and it is not
always in quotes) represents the problem that Wittgenstein tries to think
through. I will call this voice whatever seems most appropriate to
the passage, such as the voice of Augustine, early Wittgenstein, but the
label I use is somewhat arbitrary, in most instances. What is important
is that you notice that this is the voice that provides the context for
In addition to the interlocutor, it is useful to think of there being two additional voices. One is the voice that discovers perplexities or aporia. This voice is often, but not always, introduced with a dash and it often, but again not always, begins with the word "But". I will often call this the voice of aporia.
Then, there is a third voice in which Wittgenstein makes an incisive point in the face of the tradition and aporia. You might think of this as the "voice of clarity."
The basic format then is:
Of course, this greatly simplifies the content of what Wittgenstein is saying, and, not every passage has quite this form. But if you look for these different voices, it should assist you making sense of what you find in these pages.
I suggest that you never presume that these voices are all there in any given passage. He sometimes introduces, for example, a thought experiment that he calls language games, and in those cases it does not make much sense to speak of these three voices. But, you might examine a passage to see if thinking of it in terms of these voices helps that passage make sense to you. If it does, then you're probably right in presuming that the passage in question adopts this standard format.
And, for my part, when I see this format being used, I will often call your attention to it, referring to it at times as "LW's standard format."