Open main menu

On Certainty (German: Über Gewissheit, original spelling Über Gewißheit) is a philosophical book composed from the notes written by Ludwig Wittgenstein two years prior to his death. Some of the notes were left at the home of G. E. M. Anscombe, who later compiled them into a book.

On Certainty
On Certainty.jpg
AuthorLudwig Wittgenstein
TranslatorDenis Paul and G. E. M. Anscombe
LanguageGerman and English
SubjectOrdinary Language Philosophy, Skepticism and Certainty
PublisherBasil Blackwell
Publication date
Media typeBook
LC Class69-20428

The book's concerns are largely epistemological, its main theme being that there are some things which must be exempt from doubt in order for human practices to be possible (i.e. 'doubt' being a practice as well). The book takes as its starting point the 'here is one hand' argument made by G. E. Moore and examines the place of claims to know in our knowledge.

Another important point is Wittgenstein's claim that all doubt is embedded in underlying beliefs and therefore the most radical forms of doubt must be rejected since they form a contradiction within the system that expressed them. Wittgenstein also provides a novel refutation of various forms of philosophical skepticism. The book was published posthumously in 1969.

See alsoEdit

External linksEdit