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Wittgenstein on training: Comment on Norm Friesen’s ‘Training and Abrichtung’: Wittgenstein as a tragic philosopher of education?

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)63-69
Number of pages7
JournalEducational Philosophy and Theory
Issue number1
Early online date23 Jan 2018
Publication statusPublished - 2019

King's Authors


The view of Wittgenstein as a ‘tragic’ philosopher of education is examined. Friesen’s claim rests on an interpretation of the way in which Wittgenstein uses the German term ‘Abrichtung’. This involves the claim that Wittgenstein saw training activities closely analogous to the breaking of an animal’s will. Close examination of various of the later texts of Wittgenstein and comparison of the original German with the English translation does not bear out this claim. Wittgenstein used ‘Abrichtung’ and related terms in his own way and for his own purposes. The picture that emerges from an overview of Wittgenstein’s use of these terms is that he sees training as a variegated rather than a single kind of activity.

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