Understanding Wittgenstein’s On Certainty

According to Wittgenstein, “We just do not see how very specialized the use of ‘I know’ is” many people often think that it is a simple process and often times overlook the basic intricacies the determine its application. In light of these precepts, an understanding ought to be reached on the various elements that make up the concept of fact.  It can, therefore, be asserted that we ought to understand the various points of application of the clause “I know” and its correct usage in each of these contexts. .

The first claim that Wittgenstein makes “I know that I am a human being”. I know relates to these claims in that it alludes to the presence of a conscious awareness of what one is (Wittgenstein, 1989, p.2).However, it remains uncertain about what the subject of that statement may comprehend the conventional truths about what it entails to be a human being. In the above example it is used to show the awareness of what one is and hint at a curiosity to know more. It indicates that the subject is curious to know more about themselves and the details of how this helps define them individually.

“I know that there is a hand.” Wittgenstein uses I know to express an understanding of what his environment contains and potentially how this affects him.  (Wittgenstein, 1989, p.2). In the above illustration I know is used to show the realization of the various things in the environment. However, I know in this example is used to create suspense and anticipation as to the finer details of what this entails.  This application helps us understand that I know can have various applications based on the context and intent of the writer. In this sense we ought to understand how to accurately and concisely utilize the “I know” clause to communicate meaning and proficiency in literature to a greater degree.

“If I know something then I know that I know it etc,” (Wittgenstein, 1989, p.2). In the following example I know is used to show that it entails having a deep understanding of the various factors that make up this idea. In this sense, our consciousness of the world around us is derived from our understanding of these facts. Some of us may know certain things however we may have only a superficial understanding of this. A wider understanding of what this knowledge entails and its various points of application is encouraged as part of the process of understanding the literature to enhanced levels.

In conclusion, “I know” is very specialized in its use however this realization remains estranged from many people. Wittgenstein expounds on these ideas and the analysis of these suppositions as understood are detailed in the following document. I know can be used to communicate a proficiency in literature and the various schools of thoughts that help shape how we communicate. This fact is often assumed and overlooked by many and hence we communicate in less effective ways as a consequence of this.



Wittgenstein, L. (1989) On certainty = Über Gewißheit. Oxford:  Basil Blackwell.




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