Susie asked:

Hi… I have a reaction paper to make on Ludwig’s ‘Philosophy is a battle against the bewitched of our intelligence by means of language.’… What does Ludwig really mean by this? I need to expound and react.

Answer by Shaun Williamson

It doesn’t help that you have misquoted Wittgenstein in a nonsensical way. The quotation should be ‘Philosophy is a battle against the bewitchment of our intelligence by means of language.’

The fact is that Wittgenstein said what he meant and he meant what he said so there is no question of what did he really mean. If he had really meant something else he would have said something else.

In this one sentence Wittgenstein is summing up what he sees as the real task of philosophy. When we are thinking philosophically language deceives us, it bewitches our intelligence and this is the thing that we have to battle against. The task of the philosopher is to free himself from thinking philosophically.