Wittgenstein’s critical and diagnostic investigations disperse the fog of theory, allowing us to see our practices with new eyes. When we do, we acquire a new picture of ourselves as language users. In this new picture, the social character of language-games, our cultural inheritance, comes to the fore. The fact of learning is the lynchpin of Wittgenstein’s later thought. I opened with two familiar strategies for approaching the later Wittgenstein:

the constructive reader emphasizes the positive insights of the Investigations; the quietist insists on the metaphilosophical remarks that deny any place for theory, thesis or explanation in Wittgenstein’s thought. My alternative reading identifies a complex interweaving of the diagnostic and the positive. The two are intimately connected. A consequence of the critical diagnostic work is a positive picture. Wittgenstein’s appeal to the learning situation is the pivot on which we move from diagnosis of mistaken theorizing to a picture of the background. As Wittgenstein says,

One must start out with error and convert it into truth. That is, one must reveal the source of error, otherwise hearing the

truth won’t do any good. The truth cannot force its way in when something else is occupying its place. To convince someone of the truth, it is not enough to state it, but

rather one must find the path from error to truth. (RFGB, p. 119)

Two marks of having negotiated that “path from error to truth” are the recognition of the social character of language and the significance of learning, as a methodological and explanatory tool. There is no clear boundary between diagnosis and the emerging of a new picture. With each critical master argument, logical space is cleared such that we see the roles of stage-setting, mastery of technique, and certainty: all the factors constituting what I have called the background. The ease and smoothness with which we play our language-games neces-

sarily involve blindness to that background. It takes an effort of thought to

see what we ordinarily take for granted. Although we are all blind to the background that supports linguistic mastery, the philosopher is blind in a second way. He is blind to our blind obedience, and he seeks to fill that bedrock space with his own occult objects and forces with paradoxes masquerading as discoveries. This is seen most evidently in the Cartesian conception of consciousness: the mind is radically self-contained and complete in itself. No external factors can directly effect or be effected by the content of consciousness. Only this conception-of a radically self-contained content-secures Cartesian certainty, and so infallible knowledge of our own minds. This picture uses the elements of the normative background in a distorted way. The stage-setting is provided by the peculiar insularity of mind. Techniques for using our mentalistic vocabulary are replaced with the privileged access we have to a private world. Finally, Cartesian certainty is an epistemic certainty. Yet infallible knowledge and epistemic certainty are illusions, devices for disguising the self-defeating consequences of the Cartesian theory itself. Human certainty is tied to trusting others and is implicit in our acting and interacting with others and the world. Our natural reactions to pain in ourselves and others are the bedrock on which we are taught the expressive use of sensation terms. This expressive role of language remains essential to our concept of sensation even when a more sophisticated use of the terms emerges. One of the primary conclusions of the book is that we are more likely to

find an accommodation between naturalism and normativity in the nexus of cause and norm in initiate learning. The Wittgensteinian picture provides a way of combining a naturalist outlook with the ineliminable role of normativity in our practices and in our learning. Initiate learning is a time of calibration, in which we acquire the skills and techniques to make judgments of normative similarity that constitute the bedrock we share with our fellows. With the acquisition of this second nature, we achieve the epistemic status of knowers and enter the space of reasons. But while the space of reasons is an indispensable part of the normative environment of the sophisticated speaker and actor, it does not exhaust it. Initiate learning fixes the normative bedrock without which there would be no space of reasons for the agent to enter. As Wittgenstein says:

I want to regard man here as an animal; as a primitive being to which one grants instinct but not ratiocination. As a creature in a primitive state. Any logic good enough for a primitive means of communication needs no apology from us. Language did not emerge from some kind of ratiocination.