„Unglaublich“Wittgenstein über Unhaltbarkeit und Unwiderstehlichkeit abergläubischer Praktiken

Abstract

Through numerous examples, this article explores a dilemma discovered by G. K. Chesterton which considerably influenced Wittgenstein. The dilemma emerges when trying to explain superstitious or magical practices: the supposed reasons for superstitious actions turn out to be so absurd, that the superstitious can hardly be said to believe them; however, by stating that such actions need not be justified, they also elude explanation. It is also argued that the common understanding of Wittgenstein as having analysed superstitious actions as expressive or instinctive actions, is mistaken. Instead, Wittgenstein’s claim is defended that where superstitious behaviour is concerned, even “the attempt to explain is […] wrong”. With reference to Pfaller, Cioffi,Zˇ izˇek, and Huizinga it is shown that already for the superstitious, superstition is both untenable and irresistible.

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