Kerr, Fergus: Work on Oneself
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In consideration of how far Wittgenstein's Catholic background may have influenced his philosophical reflections on the soul, preeminent author Fergus Kerr explores aspects of Wittgenstein's personal and professional life. Kerr examines many of Wittgenstein's writings and lectures, including his last set of lectures in the mid-1940s at the University of Cambridge on philosophical psychology.
Beginning with a largely biographical study of Wittgenstein, Kerr argues that Wittgenstein's philosophy was partly prompted by his strong reaction against what he regarded as an excessively rationalistic type of Catholic apologetics that he was taught in his early school years. His serious interest as a student at Cambridge in experimental psychology and in the works of Freud is documented.
In the second half of the book, Kerr expounds Wittgenstein's famous "Private Language Argument-•his mockery of the idea that one could have thoughts that are in principle incommunicable. He then discusses three philosophers, John Wisdom, Stanley Cavell, and Richard Eldrige, who have developed Wittgenstein's ideas on self-understanding in ways that should interest students with a desire to rethink psychology in the context of an integrally humanist anthropology of the human person.