Interview

Peter Hacker

Peter Hacker is the leading Wittgenstein scholar at Oxford. Li Hong asked him about Wittgenstein and analytic philosophy.

In your book Wittgenstein’s Place in Twentieth Century Analytic Philosophy, you claim that Wittgenstein’s influence on 20th century analytic philosophy is huge, since it includes the impact of his early philosophy on the Vienna Circle, and of his later philosophy on the ‘ordinary language’ school at Oxford. What kind of role do you think Wittgenstein plays here?

He was the dominant influence on the Vienna Circle. He had a significant impact on Cambridge Analysis in the 1920s, and after he returned to Cambridge in 1929 he became a powerfully influential figure through his teaching and through his many distinguished pupils. With the posthumous publication of his Philosophical Investigations in 1953, he came to dominate analytic philosophy for the next twenty or twenty five years. What was his role? I think that it was Wittgenstein above all who brought about the so-called ‘Linguistic Turn’ in analytic philosophy.

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