Philosophical Investigations

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Volume 35 Issue 2 (April 2012), Pages 101-183

Wittgenstein on Simile as the “Best Thing” in Philosophy (pages 127-137)


In a remark written sometime between 1933 and 1943, Wittgenstein suggests that philosophy ought really to be written as one “writes a poem.” Around this time he also talks of simile as the “best thing” in philosophy. In this paper I consider what it would mean to take such claims seriously. Through examining newly discovered material from the (unpublished) Skinner manuscripts (MSS), I offer an analysis of Wittgenstein's approach to literary techniques (broadly conceived) and see how this impacts on his conception of philosophy.

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