2007 Student Research Conference:
20th Annual Student Research Conference

Language & Literature

Schopenhauer's "Will" and Wittgenstein's "Object": A Comparative Interpretation
Greg S. Wiser
Dr. Rodney Taylor, Faculty Mentor

Wittgenstein's early enthusiasm for Schopenhauer's philosophy is well-documented. My paper takes this claim as its starting point and proceeds to examine its relevance for Wittgenstein's early philosophy, which is given its most famous expression in the Logisch-philosophische Abhandlung (or, the Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus). Wittgenstein opens this text by positing a form of metaphysical atomism, and his discussion here remains a muddy and contentious issue among many of his interpreters. I attempt to clarify Wittgenstein's account by considering points of similarity and influence between it and Schopenhauer's Die Welt als Wille und Vorstellung. Specifically, I look at parallels between Schopenhauer's work and how Wittgenstein establishes what it means for an object to be atomic, and how atomic objects interrelate to form the world we perceive. My paper closes by addressing my discussion to contemporary debates among Wittgenstein scholars, especially those instigated by Cora Diamond and James Conant.

Keywords: Philosophy, Wittgenstein, Schopenhauer, Atomism, Idealism, German thought

Topic(s):German

Presentation Type: Oral Paper

Session: 40-4
Location: OP 2113
Time: 2:00 pm

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