The article presents, clarifies, defends, and shows the contemporary relevance of ordinary language philosophy (OLP), as a general approach to the understanding and dissolution of at least very many traditional and contemporary philosophical difficulties. The first section broadly characterizes OLP, points out its anticipation in Immanuel Kant’s dissolution of metaphysical impasses in the ‘Transcendental Dialectic’ of the Critique of Pure Reason, and then shows its contemporary relevance by bringing its perspective to bear on the recent debates concerning the philosophical ‘method of cases’. The second section responds to a series of common objections to, and misunderstandings of, OLP.
This article explores Ludwig Wittgenstein’s ideas about the nature of philosophy, with particular emphasis on his rejection of “T-philosophy”—a traditionally dominant form of philosophy that, although self-consciosly a priori, is shaped by theoretical goals and methods of reasoning that closely resemble those of the sciences. After discussing the goals and methods that characterize T-philosophy, the article presents a formidable Wittgensteinian argument against that practice. It proceeds to describe the sort of treatment of particular philosophical problems that is called for by this argument; and it assesses the common complaint against Wittgenstein that his overall position is self-undermining—an anti-theoretical theory. It goes on to consider whether Wittgenstein’s perspective involves an objectionable prioritization of language over reality, that is, an objectionable “linguistic turn”. Finally, it compares Wittgenstein’s arguments with the Oxonian “ordinary language philosophy” of philosophers such as Austin, Ryle, and Strawson.