The Elgar Companion to John Maynard Keynes
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The Elgar Companion to John Maynard Keynes

Edited by Robert W. Dimand and Harald Hagemann

The most influential and controversial economist of the twentieth century, John Maynard Keynes was the leading founder of modern macroeconomics, and was also an important historical figure as a critic of the Versailles Peace Treaty after World War I and an architect of the Bretton Woods international monetary system after World War II. This comprehensive Companion elucidates his contributions, his significance, his historical context and his continuing legacy.
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Chapter 12: Ludwig Wittgenstein

John B. Davis


Wittgenstein’s early and later philosophical views are distinguished. The change in his thinking occurred after his return to Cambridge in 1929, and concerned his turning away from formal logic to the nature of ordinary language. His later view associated meaning with language use, and in anthropological fashion he emphasized what people did with language in “language games”. The interaction between Keynes and Wittgenstein is briefly discussed. Keynes’s concept of convention emphasizes rules in much the way that Wittgenstein saw language-games as rule governed. Wittgenstein’s abandonment of the idea that language has meaning in virtue of its representing the world outside language is compared to Keynes’s beauty contest analogy regarding the determination of stock prices.

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