By D. Z. Phillips
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Additional info for Belief, Change and Forms of Life
These are expressions of friendliness, reverence, and of celebration. We do not believe that shaking hands has any mysterious efficacy, or that to keep one's hat on in church is dangerous! Now this I regard as a good illustration of how I understand clarity as something to be desired as a goal, as distinct from clarity as something to serve a further elaboration. For seeing these rites as a form of language immediately puts an end to all the elaborate theorising concerning 'primitive mentality'.
He would also reject the kind of request for foundations and verifications found in Nielsen, Hick and others. Neither could he regard religious belief as an ideology or illusion awaiting explanation in the styles of Marx or Freud. Therefore, it may be said, he does not leave all criticism where it is. Even if this were true, it would not be because it is criticism, but because it is bad philosophy, bad philosophy concerning logic. But the charge is not even true, since it cannot be said that Wittgenstein rules out any genuine form of criticism.
A similar reluctance, as we have seen in the last chapter, emerges where religious beliefs are concerned. This resistance, Wittgenstein claims, is due to a misunderstanding of the nature of language-games. There is a continuity between the questions raised in On Certainty and Wittgenstein's 'great question' ,4 which we have already discussed, namely, the question of whether one ought, having noted the multiplicity of language-games, to go on to search for something in common to them, some essence, which would make them all language.