Project Description

Ludwig Wittgenstein was one of the most influential philosophers of the last century. Rush Rhees was one of the three literary executors that he appointed; Elizabeth Anscombe and G.H. von Wright were the two other. In contrast to the other two trustees, Rhees has not been properly investigated, either as an interpreter of Wittgenstein or as a philosopher in his own right. The project will investigate Rush Rhees's understanding of Wittgenstein's philosophy and examine Rush Rhees's philosophy in general. Rhees's emphasis in his philosophy has been described as existential, and the project will focus on this aspect of Rhees's thought. A significant part of the project will concern the philosophy of mathematics, by investigating the genesis of Wittgenstein's Remarks on the foundations of mathematics, and by evaluating Rhees's ideas on the philosophy of mathematics in relation to contemporary currents, such as fictionalism and structuralism. The project will be carried out as a systematic study of Rhees's published and unpublished work. The work will partly be done at the Department of Philosophy at the University of Helsinki, Finland, where The von Wright and Wittgenstein Archive is located. The archive holds the written and unpublished correspondence between Rhees and von Wright on matters concerning the philosophy of mathematics and regarding the editorial work of the RFM.