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Textures of the OrdinaryDoing Anthropology after Wittgenstein$
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Veena Das

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9780823287895

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: January 2021

DOI: 10.5422/fordham/9780823287895.001.0001

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Wittgenstein and Anthropology

Wittgenstein and Anthropology


(p.29) 1 Wittgenstein and Anthropology
Textures of the Ordinary

Veena Das

Fordham University Press

The main theme of this chapter is an understanding of culture not as a text to be interpreted through root symbols falling on the axes of nature and culture, nor simply as shared values, but instead as providing the ability to both forge a belonging and finding resources within one’s culture to contest it and find one’s voice in its singularity within it. The chapter explores the concept of counterculture and finds its alignments with skepticism that takes us in a direction that asks not how do we know that the external world exists but how do I know that I exist, that I can trust myself in relation to others? Skepticism is engaged in this chapter as lining the everyday—using the idea of lining not to suggest a border but to allude to the way a coat and its lining, the exterior and the interior, are joined to each other. Hence skepticism is not the kind of doubt that can be extinguished once for all. The idea of forms of life is introduced in its horizontal dimension as “form” and its vertical dimension as “life” showing how forms of life are both, particular to a milieu and as drawing from our common background as humans.

Keywords:   belief, child, culture, existence, form of life, interiority, skepticism, voice, Wittgenstein

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