- 桃山学院大学キリスト教論集 (ISSN:0286973X)
- no.50, pp.85-112, 2015-03-23
The purpose of this paper is to examine and elucidate the distinctive features of the religious aspects of Ludwig Wittgenstein's philosophical thought. Few people generally regard Wittgenstein as a religious thinker, but research has been carried out on his views on religion and attempts have been made to apply his philosophical thought to theology. Wittgenstein's philosophical thinking is commonly divided into two phases ─ the early phase and the later phase ─ and even as it showed a certain consistency, it also underwent considerable transformation. Accordingly, in the early and later phases of Wittgenstein's philosophy there are both elements that are the same and elements that are markedly different. In this paper I will look at the early phase of Wittgenstein's philosophical thought, picking out certain ideas about religion that run throughout Wittgenstein's philosophy and elucidating the distinctive features of such ideas. Wittgenstein held that language has limits, and that accordingly there are also limits to thought. Further, he held that since language and the world exist with and through one another, the world also has limits. Accordingly, it is impossible to speak anything regarding what exists beyond the limits of language, and impossible to speak anything that lies outside the world. This means that though it is possible to speak of things when they have to do with facts, it is not possible to speak of things when they have to do with values ─ since values lie outside the world. Thus, it is not possible to speak things like religion, faith, revelations, and God (they are `unspeakable'). Nevertheless, Wittgenstein argues, even though it is not possible to` speak' these things, it is still possible to `show' them. According to Kierkegaard, `showing' is a particular state of affairs, and to `show' is a way of indirectly `speaking' something. We might perhaps call this showing a `religion of silence.' Wittgenstein was a philosopher who worked out a religion of silence, a religion that exists on the other side of the limits of language, thought, and the world.