I have been told that Ludwig Wittgenstein claimed that a good philosopher can "prove" or "disprove" anything and therefore that the entire pursuit of philosophy is completely null. However, I was also told this claim has been proven false.

Is this information accurate, and if so, where can I read more about it?

  • 1
    Can philosophy prove or disprove anything? NO. Dec 20 '16 at 20:42
  • "anything based" ... what do you mean by that?
    – viuser
    Dec 20 '16 at 21:22
  • you could try reading wittgenstein.
    – user20153
    Dec 20 '16 at 23:14
  • Maybe this: "Philosophy may in no way interfere with the actual use of language; it can in the end only describe it... It leaves everything as it is", "Philosophy does not result in 'philosophical propositions,' but rather in the clarification of propositions", but he clearly did not see that as "null."
    – Conifold
    Dec 21 '16 at 0:48

I'm far from being an Wittgenstein expert, but this sounds like a somewhat inaccurate account of some of the theses of Wittgenstein's famous work, the Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus, to the effect that all philosophical problems are nothing more than issues with language, and that logic is incapable of teaching us anything we don't already know. Wittgenstein himself later rejected some of his own early conclusions, which would match the idea that "the claim has been proven false."

There is quite a lot written on the Tractatus, and my gloss on it should not be relied upon --you can get a start on a better picture of it at https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/wittgenstein/#TracLogiPhil.

  • Wittgenstein famously repudiated the tractatus later.
    – user20153
    Dec 20 '16 at 23:13

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