Readings in Wittgenstein Studies

The amount of secondary literature on Wittgenstein is immense (and it’s only growing). Some of it will steer you wrong. For instance, if you’re still under the impression that Wittgenstein’s contribution is limited to his supposed “later philosophy of language,” you haven’t heard the whole story yet. The “Early/Late” distinction has proven harder to sustain since the publication of his Nachlass, and Wittgenstein’s investigations into the philosophy of mind and metaphilosophy are just as central to his corpus as is his work on language — though even these labors do not exhaust his range. The following pieces will give you some sense for the shape of this emerging field.


  • Maurice O’Connor Drury, The Danger of Words and writings on Wittgenstein, (Thoemmes Press, 1996).
  • Norman Malcolm, Wittgenstein: A Memoir, 2nd Ed, (OUP, 2001).
  • Ray Monk, Ludwig Wittgenstein: The Duty of Genius, (Penguin, 1991).


A. Standard

  • Robert Fogelin, Wittgenstein, (Routledge, 1995).
  • Peter M. S. Hacker, Insight and Illusion: Themes in the Philosophy of Wittgenstein, 2nd Ed, (St Augustine’s Press, 1986).
  • —, Wittgenstein’s Place in Twentieth Century Analytic Philosophy, (Wiley-Blackwell, 1996).
  • Allan Janik and Stephen Toulmin, Wittgenstein’s Vienna, (Ivan R. Dee, 1996).
  • Anthony Kenny, Wittgenstein, Rev. Ed., (Blackwell, 2005).
  • David Pears, Paradox and Platitude in Wittgenstein’s Philosophy, (OUP, 2008).
  • Rush Rhees, Wittgenstein and the Possibility of Discourse, 2nd Ed., Ed. D.Z. Philips, (Blackwell, 2006).

B. Resolute

  • Alice Crary and Rupert Read, Eds, The New Wittgenstein, (Routledge, 2000).
  • Cora Diamond, The Realistic Spirit: Wittgenstein, Philosophy, and the Mind, (Bradford, 1995).
  • Stephen Mulhall, Wittgenstein’s Private Language: Grammar, Nonsense, and Imagination in Philosophical Investigations § 243-315, (OUP, 2007).

C. Therapeutic

  • Joel Backström, “Wittgenstein and the Moral Dimension of Philosophical Problems,” in The Oxford Handbook of Wittgenstein, Eds. Oskari Kuusela and Marie McGinn, (OUP, 2011), 729-752.
  • Gordon Baker, Wittgenstein’s Method: Neglected Aspects. (Blackwell, 2006)
  • Richard Eldridge, Leading a Human Life: Wittgenstein, Intentionality, and Romanticism, (University of Chicago Press, 1997).
  • Stanley Cavell, “The Availability of Wittgenstein’s Later Philosophy,” Must We Mean What We Say? 2nd Ed, (Cambridge University Press, 2002), 44-72.
  • —. The Claim of Reason: Wittgenstein, Skepticism, Morality, and Tragedy, 2nd Ed., (OUP, 1999).


  • Peter Dula. “Wittgenstein among the Theologians.” In Unsettling Arguments, eds., Pinches, Johnson, and Collier, 3-24. Eugene, OR: Cascade, 2010.
  • Gordon Graham, Wittgenstein and Natural Religion, (OUP, 2014).
  • Fergus Kerr, Theology after Wittgenstein, 2nd Ed., (SPCK, 1997).
  • Nicholas Lash, “How Large is a ‘Language Game’?” Theology 87, no. 715 (1984): 19-28.
  • Stephen Mulhall, “The Child and the Scapegoat: Wittgenstein,” in Philosophical Myths of the Fall, (Princeton University Press, 2005), 85-117.
  • —. The Great Riddle: Wittgenstein and Nonsense, Theology and Philosophy, (Oxford UnivPr, 2016).
  • Kai Nelson and D. Z. Phillips, Wittgensteinian Fideisim? (SCM Press, 2005).
  • James Wetzel, (forthcoming).

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