University of Hertfordshire

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Wittgenstein's Forms of Life, Patterns of Life and Ways of Living

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)21-42
JournalNordic Wittsgenstein Studies
Journal publication date6 Oct 2015
Publication statusPublished - 6 Oct 2015


This paper aims to distinguish Wittgenstein's concept of 'form of life' from other concepts or expressions that have been confused or conflated with it, such as 'language-game', 'certainty', 'patterns of life', 'ways of living' and 'facts of living'. Competing interpretations of Wittgenstein's 'form(s) of life' are reviewed (Baker & Hacker, Cavell, Conway, Garver), and it is concluded that Wittgenstein intended both a singular and a plural use of the concept; with, where the human is concerned, a single human form of life characterized by innumerable forms of human life.


This is a pre-copyedited, author-produced PDF of an article accepted for publication in Nordic Wittgenstein Review following peer review. The version of record (first published October 10, 2015) is available at Nordic Wittgenstein Review via

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