Ludwig Wittgenstein changed our intellectual lives. To understand how, we need to understand what he did to the subject of critical reasoning.
Wittgenstein didn’t leave us “philosophy”; he left a pathway for a more perspicuous intellect. This was caused by a psychological condition that made him meticulous and hypersensitive. He could abnormally perceive three natural phenomena: (a) the social traits implicated in word use; (b) the task-functions signified in communication; and (c) the pictures that flash before the mind’s eye. With this unique acuity, he then discovered something revolutionary: language was merely a reflection of how the intellect behaved in an act of speech. Meaning was usage—or rather, the intellect, used.
And this discovery changes everything. It revolutionizes how we must argue with one another and what we believe is “true.” Instead of focusing primarily upon premises or facts, we must point people to how their intellect behaves—called “therapy.” And this has radical implications for analysis, conceptual investigation; value judgments, political ideology, ethics and even religion.
This book is both an explanation of, and a blueprint for, the new critical thinking. Written for both a lay and special audience, it shows what Wittgenstein invented and the difference it makes for all of us.