Lost in Translation: Ludwig Wittgenstein, Education and the Question of Abrichtung (Training)


Here’s the abstract for a short paper I’ve been preparing for a conference:

As a landmark philosopher of language and of mind, Ludwig Wittgenstein’s work, particularly in the Philosophical Investigations, has been taken up by philosophers of education in English. Christopher Winch (1998), Michael A. Peters (1999), Nicholas Burbules (2010), and others (e.g. Aparece 2005) have engaged extensively with the implications of the later Wittgenstein’s philosophy of mind and language for education. One challenge that that they face is Wittgenstein’s use of the word “training” throughout his discussions of language learning and in his periodic references to education. This is made all the more problematic by realizing that the term Wittgenstein actually used was Abrichtung, which refers exclusively to animal dressage or obedience training, connoting also the breaking of an animal’s will. This little-recognized fact has broad implications for many important Wittgenstinian insights into education, extending from literacies as language games to teaching as ostensive definition. This paper sheds light on these implications as well as on those more broadly relevant to Wittgenstein’s life and thought.

Read this short piece here (pdf). 

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