Dogma: We are All Wicked Children

This paper discusses the question of dogmatism in relation to Wittgenstein’s philosophy. I argue that Wittgenstein’s philosophy is both a break from, yet dependent upon, the analytical philosophical tradition. If this fact is not acknowledged one runs the risk of appropriating Wittgenstein’s philosophy dogmatically.

Glock’s reading of Wittgenstein is employed to show the mistake in reading Wittgenstein as if he worked entirely within the analytic philosophical tradition. Such readings generally attribute theses to Wittgenstein – in direct contrast to his own intentions – and they tend to disregard or misrepresent Wittgenstein’s deeply critical attitude towards the «scientific spirit» of the age.

It is also argued that a reading that focuses solely on Wittgenstein’s more methodologically oriented remarks runs the risk of misrepresenting them, if they are disconnected from the particular philosophical problems that they are internally connected to.

Finally, it is argued that the struggle against dogmatism is a constant struggle. Dogmatism is, in Wittgenstein’s conception of it, not something that can be fully avoided since dogmatism is inherent in the philosophical desire itself. Dogmatism in philosophy is not merely dogmatism in academic philosophy but comes together with a very natural desire to establish one fixed meaning for our words.

Keywords: Cavell, dogmatism, Glock, method, Wittgenstein