Wittgenstein and Hegel


Cooper, Reid (Reid Laurence)




In this research paper, it is suggested that the parallels and connections which some commentators have argued to exist between some of the arguments and views of Hegel and the later Wittgenstein may not be purely  coincidental. There is good cause to believe that Wittgenstein had some contact with the general philosophic tradition of which Hegel is an integral part. There is also some cause to suspect that some of Wittgenstein's  most important personal influences may have introduced him to ideas with Hegelian affinities.

After briefly discussing some of the inherent difficulties in drawing parallels between Hegel and Wittgenstein, a survey is attempted of the works of some of the key commentators who have made comparisons between some elements of Hegel's and Wittgenstein's philosophies. Then, a survey is attempted of those influences on Wittgenstein who may have - often indirectly - lead him to hold loosely Hegelian positions or use Hegelian arguments.  Finally, noting that Wittgenstein consciously opted for Hegel's dialectical approach to philosophy, Wittgenstein's and Hegel's general philosophic methods are compared.

This paper in no way suggests that Wittgenstein must be read as a Hegelian. It only argues that there is cause to seriously consider interpretations of Wittgenstein which involve significant parallels to Hegelian thought,  although not Hegelian thought as some of his detractors or early 'followers' understood it.


Wittgenstein, Ludwig, 1889-1951 -- Criticism and interpretation
Hegel, Georg Wilhelm Friedrich, 1770-1831 -- Criticism and interpretation




Carleton University

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Theses and Dissertations

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