Albert Ogien

Wittgenstein's Puzzle. Forms of Life in a Sociological Perspective

  • Abstract

Informations and abstract

Keywords: Understanding; Forms of Life; Situation; Knowledge; Normative Order.

Wittgenstein's puzzle states that whatever the quantity and quality of data that social scientists would collect about facts or actions, their descriptions will never allow for «understanding» the true meaning of these facts or actions as they are detached from the «forms of life» within which they emerge. Wittgenstein's claim rests on a strong version of understanding which leads to conceive of forms of life as unintelligible to people who are unfamiliar with them. I contend that this conception is wrong as the alleged unavailability of others' experience is a defective idea. I first discuss the incompleteness of Wittgenstein's notion of forms of life, then outline how an analytical approach based on the sociological notion of situation would return its social dimension to this notion.

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