Forgive me if this question is clumsily posed.

The so-called 'Copernican revolution' of declaring the mind as bringing objecthood and properties to objects, rather than their perception bringing those properties to mind, strikes me in its implication as rather similar to the concept of language as a series of language games.

For one neccessarily does not entail in one's conception of an object the full semantic weight of that object, and so, in projecting this upon the object when perceived, what one perceives is therefore in some sense arbitrary (that is to say veridically flexible, because at the very least one may add more to one's conception of the meaning of the object) suggesting an isolation from the necessarily inaccessible object-in-itself- and so related to the object by useful convention of the self, just as words in their usage relate to referents by useful convention of a dialogue.

Is this sort of framing of the Copernican principle sound? Has it been expounded before? Is it even consistent?

1 Answer 1


The similiarity between Kant's and Wittgenstein's trains of thought has been expounded before for sure. A good example is found in a book review by Eric Loomis.

Where as Kant's 'Copernican revolution' was a defence against skepticism, i.e. David Hume's theory of causation, Wittgenstein's language games is closely linked to theories of truth and meaning.

Kant's twelve categories - or twelve pure concepts of understanding expounded in 'Critique of Pure Reason' - is all about conceptualizing what we perceive in order to be able to have a thought process - or our 'bringing objecthood and properties' to the 'Manifold'. Gottlob Frege (1848-1925) and his later disciple, Ludwig (1889-1951) Wittgeinstein were turned towards a philosophical theory of language from what for Frege started as studies in mathematics and logic (see 'Linguistic turn')

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    Thanks @Aputsiaq- that linked book review is especially helpful. Commented Jul 22, 2011 at 16:40
  • Sellars (Science and Metaphysics), McDowell (Having the World in View) and Brandom (Making it Explicit) are also good resources. Each appropriates Kant and Hegel through Wittgenstein and the lens of recent analytic philosophy.
    – emi
    Commented Jul 26, 2011 at 0:09

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