Gramsci and Wittgenstein: an intriguing connection

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In the preface to the Philosophische Untersuchungen Wittgenstein writes that he owes to the Italian professor of economics Piero Sraffa "the most important ideas contained in the book". As Sraffa has not writed anything on language, this statement was never given a detailed content. Amartya Sen, who knew the Italian economist during the years spent in Cambridge as a PhD student, in an article (2003) suggests that, during his conversations with Wittgenstein, Sraffa made use of philosophical-linguistic ideas he had learned from Gramsci, while he worked as a student in Turin for the newspaper "Ordine Nuovo" directed by Gramsci himself. Thus, Gramsci, through Sraffa, played a decisive role in the transition from the first to the second Wittgenstein. Not only the young Gramsci but also the Gramsci of the Quaderni indeed considered language as one of the main interests of his theoretical and political research. The essay provides historical evidences of contacts between Gramsci and Sraffa from 1918 to 1937 (death of Gramsci) and, through a comparative and philologically accurate analysis, shows the correspondences between the two philosophies of language. At least three Wittgensteinians concepts depend on the influence of Sraffa-Gramsci: the notion of praxis, the idea of linguistic game, the foundation of the linguistic norm on the authority-prestige of some speakers. This comparison is also a way to clarify some of the main concepts of the second Wittgenstein's philosophy of language .
Lingua originaleEnglish
Titolo della pubblicazione ospitePerspectives on language use and pragmatics
Numero di pagine25
Stato di pubblicazionePublished - 2010

Serie di pubblicazioni

NomeLincom studies in pragmatics

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