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Ulrich Arnswald (ed.)

In Search of Meaning: Ludwig Wittgenstein on Ethics, Mysticism and Religion.


Karlsruhe 2009 (EUKLID-Studien ; 1), 152 S.

In Search of Meaning: Ludwig Wittgen­stein on Ethics, Mysticism and Religion.

The essays collected in this volume explore some of the themes that have been at the centre of recent debates within Wittgensteinian scholarship. This book is an attempt to express the difficult nature of ethics, mysticism and religion, their problematic status in the modern world, and the possible justifications for ethical and religious commitment. Naturally, it also discusses some of the main ideas of Ludwig Wittgenstein. His very personal and often aphoristic way of writing can­not simply be restated or interpreted. However, his philosophy is in need of interpretation, and interpretations are – as we all know – often rather controversial.

The collected contributions aim, therefore, at bringing new insight into the essence of Wittgenstein‘s ethical and religious beliefs by understanding his concepts of thought and langu­age in a more detailed way. In opposition to what we are tentatively inclined to think, the articles of this volume invite us to understand that our need to grasp the essence of ethical and religi­ous thought and language will not be achieved by metaphysical theories expounded from such a point of view, but by focusing on our everyday forms of expression. The articles have in common an understanding of Wittgenstein as not propo­sing metaphysical theories, but rather showing us the way to work ourselves out of the confusions we become entangled in when philosophizing. Thus, the authors show from a Wittgensteinian perspective that the standard modern approaches to ethics cannot justify traditional moral beliefs.

The book is freely available for download in pdf format at


Ulrich Arnswald

List of Abbreviations of Frequently Cited References

1 The Paradox of Ethics – ‘It leaves everything as it is.’
Ulrich Arnswald (University of Karlsruhe (TH))

2 ‘There are, indeed, things that cannot be put into words.’ Wittgenstein’s Ethics of Showing
Dieter Mersch (University of Potsdam)

3 ‘If there is any value that does have value, it must lie outside the whole sphere of what happens and is the case.’ (Tractatus 6.41)
Liam Hughes (University of Swansea)

4 Philosophy and Life
Anja Weiberg (University of Vienna)

5 Sense of Ethics and Ethical Sense
Jens Kertscher (Technical University Darmstadt)

6 The Convergence of God, the Self, and the World in Wittgenstein's Tractatus
John Churchill (Hendrix College, Conway, Arkansas)

7 ‘Objectively there is no truth’ – Wittgenstein and Kierkegaard on Religious Belief
Genia Schönbaumsfeld (University of Southampton)

About the Contributors



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