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Professor of Philosophy Publishes Paper

Professor of Philosophy Duncan Richter

LEXINGTON, Va., March 20, 2024—Duncan Richter, Charles S. Luck ’55 Institute Professor, has published a paper titled “‘Obviously wrong’: the Tractatus on will and world” in the book Wittgenstein’s Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus: A Critical Guide, edited by José L. Zalabardo and published by Cambridge University Press. Richter is the author of several articles and books about Wittgenstein, including a new translation with commentary on his Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus in 2021. 

Richter, Professor of Philosophy in English, Rhetoric, and Humanistic Studies, teaches courses in ethics, aesthetics, and comparative religion. He is also the academic advisor to the Ethics Team. In Fall 2024, he will teach a section of ERH 411, Fieldwork (a required core course for English majors) in which cadets will help the Ethics Team prepare for the regional Ethics Bowl competition at the University of North Georgia.

Richter’s paper is a response to Elizabeth Anscombe’s claim in her book An Introduction to Wittgenstein’s Tractatus that what he says about the will and its relation to the world is “obviously wrong.” The publisher says this about the book:

“Published just over a century ago, Wittgenstein’s Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus is the only book-length work to have been published during his lifetime and it continues to generate interest and scholarly debate. It is structured as a series of propositions on metaphysics, language, the nature of philosophy, and the distinction between what can be said and what can be shown. This volume brings together eleven new essays on the Tractatus covering a wide variety of topics, from the central Tractarian doctrines concerning representation, the structure of the world and the nature of logic, to less prominent issues including ethics, natural science, mathematics and the self. Individual essays advance specific exegetical debates in important ways, and taken as a whole they offer an excellent showcase of contemporary ideas on how to read the Tractatus and its relevance to contemporary thought.”

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