What gives these squiggles meaning? What is meaning exactly? And what is the mind? These questions can quickly generate puzzlement and confusion, leading to all sorts of philosophical theories. In particular, we may be quickly drawn to the view that the mind is an inner realm necessarily inaccessible to others, and that meaning is a private process that takes place in that inner realm. These pictures then generate classic philosophical problems, such as: How can I know whether there Is a world outside my mind? and: How can I know that anyone else has a mind?
According to Wittgenstein, once we start to think philosophically, we can quickly become enthralled by 'pictures' of meaning and mind that then hold us captive. Wittgenstein's aim is to break the spell these pictures cast over us. What we require are not solutions to these classic philosophical problems, but a kind of therapy so that we come to recognise that they are actually pseudo-problems. We look at many concrete illustrations of how Wittgenstein's approach can be applied.
We will also look at Wittgenstein's work on religious language, and his suggestion that our failure to recognise how religious language is used generates deep philosophical puzzlement about God and faith.