Why would a politics scholar write a book like this? Precisely because I don’t know what you mean when you say that I am “a politics scholar.” What you have really said is that you have a picture in your mind that you have just forced onto the situation. And what’s worse, you probably cannot even see that you just did this or that there is a general phenomenon called “picturing.”
And it’s not just you—it’s everyone. Scholars and lay people alike frequently misunderstand what their intellect is doing in the speech act. And this leads to poor science, atrocious legal arguments, confused philosophy and unfortunate discourse. And so I wrote this manuscript to stop all of this.
Here is the simple fact: Ludwig Wittgenstein changed my intellectual life. He transformed the very way that I think about, and behave toward, assertion. He made me see that my field, political science, was lost. He even made me abandon my early research agenda in judicial politics. He showed me that my other field, law, was greatly impoverished. And that philosophy was in grave trouble. He even showed me that science and mathematics were often impaired by practitioners who were held captive by certain charms.
And yet, to cure all of this, you don’t need to learn anything about the fields in question—you simply need to understand what Wittgenstein did to the subject of critical reasoning. And so that's why I wrote this book.
Wittgenstein belongs to no field. It will be the fool who says that this book has nothing to do with "political science." Or with real science. Or with religion. Or with whatever. For the simple fact of the matter is that, if you don't understand the new critical thinking, your intellect is going to be impoverished no matter what neighborhood controls it. Anyone interested in better qualitative acuity needs to both understand and teach what Wittgenstein offered. This book is written for any academic or student seeking a perspicuous intellect.