Scientism as a Threat to Science : Wittgenstein on Self-Subverting Methodologies
Tejedor Palau, Maria
Wittgenstein is typically viewed as concerned with one particular variety of scientism: scientism understood as the threat posed by the application of scientific practices to areas of our lives in which they do not belong – in particular, into ethics, religion or philosophy. This understanding of Wittgenstein’s preoccupation with scientism is not unfounded and certainly comes to the fore at several junctures in his writings. I propose to show, however, that too narrow a focus on this aspect of Wittgenstein’s treatment of scientism distorts both his thinking on science and the nature of his preoccupation with scientism. This, at any rate, is the picture that emerges when we consider this question from the perspective of his early remarks on science, in the Tractatus and ‘A Lecture on Ethics’.