“Clarification” vs. “explanation”: Wittgenstein’s philosophical reflections on the human nature (French perspective)





Wittgnstein, clarification, explantation, humanity, language, reflexive, ritual action, ritual instinct, ceremonial animal


The author disagrees with reductionist attitude to Wittgenstein’s philosophy as philosophy of language. Basing on researches in contemporary French philosophy, the author reveals anthropological dimension of Wittgenstein’s reflections both in the main themes of his philosophizing and in his philosophical method as such.  Wittgenstein strives to clarify what we already know, trying  to avoid explanation, generalization and uniformity. The research shows that clarification, übersichtliche Darstellung acquires in anthropology special meaning of description and helps to overcome explicative anthropological approach  and description of human action in terms of binary oppositions of nature/culture and instrumentality/rituality. The article shows practical results of  “grammatical analysis” applied to the concepts of humanity, speech and thinking: this analysis discovers circularity of theoretical definitions of human being and opens the way of “immediate understanding” of humanity prior to any theoretical thinking. The article shows the role of Wittgenstein’s concepts of “ritual instinct” and “ceremonial animal”, which help to understand human activity as manifestations of “ritual instinct”, and ritual action as inseparable unity of natural reactions and conscious intentionality despite the debates between intellectualism and expressivism.

Author Biography

Oxana Yosypenko, Hr. Skovoroda Institute of Philosophy, NAS of Ukraine

Doctor of sciences in philosophy, Senior research fellow of the Departement of the History of Foreign Philosophy


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How to Cite

Yosypenko, O. (2018). “Clarification” vs. “explanation”: Wittgenstein’s philosophical reflections on the human nature (French perspective). Sententiae, 37(2), 93–107. https://doi.org/10.22240/sent37.02.093






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