IF WITI'GENSTEIN COULD TALK, COULD WE UNDERSTAND HIM? Perusing the secondary literature on Wittgenstein, I have frequently experienced a perfect Brechtean Entfremdungseffekt. This is interesting, I have felt like saying when reading books and papers on Wittgenstein, but who is the writer talking about? Certainly not Ludwig Wittgenstein the actual person who wrote his books and notebooks and whom I happened to meet. Why is there this strange gap between the ideas of the actual philosopher and the musings of his interpreters? Wittgenstein is talking to us through the posthumous publication of his writings. Why don't philosophers understand what he is saying? A partial reason is outlined in the first essay of this volume. Wittgenstein was far too impatient to explain in his books and book drafts what his problems were, what it was that he was trying to get clear about. He was even too impatient to explain in full his earlier solutions, often merely referring to them casually as it were in a shorthand notation. For one important instance, in The Brown Book, Wittgenstein had explained in some detail what name-object relationships amount to in his view. There he offers both an explanation of what his problem is and an account of his own view illustrated by means of specific examples of language-games. But when he raises the same question again in Philosophical Investigations I, sec.
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