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The Fate of WonderWittgenstein's Critique of Metaphysics and Modernity$
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Kevin Cahill

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780231158008

Published to Columbia Scholarship Online: November 2015

DOI: 10.7312/columbia/9780231158008.001.0001

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The Fate of Metaphysics

The Fate of Metaphysics

(p.151) 6 The Fate of Metaphysics
The Fate of Wonder

Kevin M. Cahill

Columbia University Press

This chapter examines the notion, made independently by John McDowell and Stanley Cavell, that Ludwig Wittgenstein believed the problems of philosophy to be so fundamentally rooted in our humanity that any freedom from metaphysical quandaries we may enjoy can at best be temporary. It addresses a concern that Wittgenstein's perspective on cultural progress and decline entails a kind of political conservatism, and shows that this concern is unfounded because it fails to take into account the nature of Wittgenstein's critique of metaphysics. It challenges the positions of McDowell and Cavell and argues instead that Wittgenstein envisioned the possibility of the letting go of the Western metaphysical tradition as we perhaps necessary step in a process of a cultural transformation that was so important to him.

Keywords:   philosophy, cultural progress, metaphysics, cultural transformation, John McDowell, Stanley Cavell, Ludwig Wittgenstein

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