Entries in Philosophical Investigations (3)


On Why a New Translation of Philosophic Investigations Was Published

... regarding G. E. M. Anscombe's translation and the need for a new edition, Hacker and Schulte offer the following in the 4th edition of Philosophical Investigations:

"Anscombe's translation was an impressive achievement. She invented an English Equivalent for Wittgenstein's distinctive, often colloquial, style. This was no mean feat. For she had to find not only English analogues of Wittgenstein's stylistic idiosyncracies, but also an English rhythm that would convey the character of Wittgenstein's carefully crafted prose. Her success is indisputable.

Nevertheless, there are errors of different kinds in ... [Philosophic Investigations]. It was because of these that the Wittgenstein editorial advisory committee agreed to the production of a new edition. But, given the excellence of the Anscombe translation, it was resolved that rather than making a completely new one, we should build on Anscombe's achievement and produce a modified translation, rectifying any errors or misjudgements we discerned in hers. It should be emphasized that many of the errors in the ... [older editions of PI] could not have been identified in the 1950s, prior to the availability and extensive study of the Wittgenstein Nachlass, some crucial items of which did not come to light until decades later."   (4th Edition PI, page viii). 

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On Why Part II of the Investigations is Re-Named in the Fourth Edition

According to Norman Malcolm, Wittgenstein made the following remark (to Malcolm) in the late summer of 1949 regarding what has become known as Philosophical Investigations:

"... if he had the money, he thought he would have his book (TS 227, the typescript of the Investigations) mimeographed and distributed among his friends. He said that it was not in a completely finished state, but that he did not think that he could give the final polish to it in his lifetime. The plan would have the merit that he could put in parenthesis after a remark, expressions of dissatisfaction, like 'This is not quite right' or 'This is fishy'. He would like to put his book into the hands of his friends, but to take it to a publisher right now was out of the question."

After quoting that passage, Hacker and Schulte in the new (4th) edition go on to say:

"Whatever Wittgenstein's final intentions were, the fact is that the closest he ever came to completing the Philosophical Investigations is the current text consisting of ss 1-693. It is, we believe, this text that should be known as Witgenstein's Philosophical Investigations. What has hitherto been called 'Philosophical Investigations, Part II' was a re-arranged set of remarks written between 1946 and 1949 dealing chiefly with questions in what Wittgenstein called 'philosophy of psychology'. We have named it 'Philosophy of Psychology -- A Fragment.' This is, in effect, a reconstruction of ... typescript 234, based on MS 144 and the printed version in the previous editions of the Investigations."

Sources. Hacker and Schulte, p. xxii-xxiii (revised 4th edition of PI), and Malcolm, Ludwig Wittgenstein -- A Memoir, 2nd Ed., p. 75.   Regards. 

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Vetting the New Translations of Philosophical Investigations

With regard to the process used to "vet" the new translations of PI, Hacker and Schulte note the following:

1. The idea for a new translation was brought up "at what turned out to be one of the last meetings of the Wittgenstein trustees." (v)

2. "The trustees, with the exception of Anthony Kenny, became members of what is now the Wittgenstein editorial advisory committee" (v)

3. They originally thought the translation would take "a few months," but took much longer (v)

4. When they had a finished draft, they solicited comments from Wittgenstein scholars, including Kenny and Brian McGuinnes, among others. (vi). [Ray Monk is not listed as being included].

5. The discussions were "intense and lengthy" and led to "a great number of changes." (vi)

6. And certain other comments were obtained from other scholars. (vi)

All of this appears in the "Editors' and Translators' Acknowledgements for the Fourth Edition." The point is to give thanks to colleagues and to show the process for vetting the new judgments. (Note: British spelling of acknowledgments).

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