After reading the relevant Wikipedia article as well as the relevant Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy article, I still feel like I need a gentle introduction to Wittgenstein's Philosophical Investigations (1953) for complete novices. Specifically, I would like a better grasp of the idea of "family resemblance."

Can anyone recommend a relevant source? Many thanks in advance.

New contributor
Aviv is a new contributor to this site. Take care in asking for clarification, commenting, and answering. Check out our Code of Conduct.

According to reference here:

Family resemblance (German: Familienähnlichkeit) is a philosophical idea made popular by Ludwig Wittgenstein, with the best known exposition given in his posthumously published book Philosophical Investigations (1953). It argues that things which could be thought to be connected by one essential common feature may in fact be connected by a series of overlapping similarities, where no one feature is common to all of the things. Games, which Wittgenstein used as an example to explain the notion, have become the paradigmatic example of a group that is related by family resemblances. It has been suggested that Wittgenstein picked up the idea and the term from Friedrich Nietzsche, who had been using it, as did many nineteenth century philologists, when discussing language families.

And it also mentioned this concept may be first developed by Friedrich Wilhelm Joseph von Schelling (1775–1854) according to Arthur Schopenhauer.

Incidentally, this is somewhat similar to the famous Grothendieck's relative point of view in algebraic geometry and category logic:

Grothendieck's relative point of view is a heuristic applied in certain abstract mathematical situations, with a rough meaning of taking for consideration families of 'objects' explicitly depending on parameters, as the basic field of study, rather than a single such object. It is named after Alexander Grothendieck, who made extensive use of it in treating foundational aspects of algebraic geometry. Outside that field, it has been influential particularly on category theory and categorical logic.

Hope this is helpful to you.

Your Answer

Aviv is a new contributor. Be nice, and check out our Code of Conduct.

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.