Saying and Showing

The Choreography of Psychology and Religious Understanding


  • Peter Tyler St Mary’s University College, Twickenham, London


Wittgensteinian psychology, Psychology and Religious Understanding


“Clarity, perspicuity (Durchsichtigkeit) are an end in themselves. I am not interested in constructing a building, so much as having a clear view (durchsichtig) before me of the foundations of possible buildings. My goal, then, is different from the scientist and so my think-way is to be distinguished.” (Written as a draft foreword to Philosophische Bemerkungen in 1930). This article will consider what a ‘Wittgensteinian psychology’ may look like concentrating on four aspects of his account: the change of aspect brought about by psychology, psychology as (pseudo-) science, psychology and interiority and the choreography of knowing and unknowing. The paper will relate Wittgenstein’s work to that of Thomas Merton, the American Trappist monk, whose centenary we celebrate this year.


Ludwig Wittgenstein

LPP Lectures on Philosophical Psychology 1946 – 47. From the Notes of P. Geach, K.Shah and A. Jackson. Ed. P. Geach. London: Harvester, 1988

LWP Last Writings on the Philosophy of Psychology. Ed. G.E.M. Anscombe and G.H. von Wright. Oxford: Blackwell, 1982

PI Philosophical Investigations. Ed. G.E.M. Anscombe and R. Rhees. Oxford: Blackwell, 1958

RFGB Remarks on Frazer’s Golden Bough, reprinted in ‘Philosophical Occasions 1912 – 1951’ ed J.C. Klagge and A. Nordmann. Cambridge: Hackett, 1993

RPP Remarks on the Philosophy of Psychology. Ed. G.H. von Wright and H. Nyman. Oxford: Blackwell, 1980

T Tractatus Logico-Philsophicus. Trans. D. F.Pears and B. McGuinness. London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1961

VB Vermischte Bemerkungen in Volume 8: Werkausgabe in 8 Bände. Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp, 1993

W Werkausgabe in 8 Bände. Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp, 1993

Z Zettel. Ed. G.E.M. Anscombe and G.H. von Wright. Oxford: Blackwell, 1967


Thomas Merton

CF Cassian and the Fathers: Initiation into the Monastic Tradition. Ed. P. O’Connell. Kalamazoo, MI: Cistercian Publications, 2005

HGL The Hidden Ground of Love: Letters on Religious Experience and Social Concern. Ed. W. Shannon. NY: Farrar, Straus, Giroux, 1985

IE The Inner Experience: Notes on Contemplation. Ed. W. Shannon. London: SPCK, 2003

SS The Seven Storey Mountain. Reprint 1990, London: SPCK,1948

ZB Zen and the Birds of Appetite. Kentucky: The Abbey of Gethsemani, 1968


Baker, R and Henry, G, Ed. (1999) Merton and Sufism: The Untold Story. Louisville: Fons Vitae

McGinn, C. (2004) ‘Can we solve the mind-body problem?’ (Mind 98, 1989) reprinted in Philosophy of Mind: A Guide and Anthology. Ed J. Heil. Oxford: OUP

Moyal-Sharrock, D. (ed), (2004) The Third Wittgenstein: The Post-Investigations Works. London: Ashgate

Nandhikkara, J. (2011) Being Human AfterWittgenstein: A Philosophical Anthropology, Vol.1. Bangalore: Dharmaram

Tyler, P.M. (2011) The Return to the Mystical: Ludwig Wittgenstein, Teresa of Avila and the Christian Mystical Tradition. London: Continuum

Tyler, P.M. (2013) ‘To Centre or Not to Centre: Ss.Teresa of Avila and John of the Cross and the “Centre of the Soul”’ in Christian Mysticism and Incarnational Theology - Between Transcendence and Immanence, ed. L. Nelstrop and S. Podmore. Surrey: Ashgate

Tyler, P.M. (2014) Picturing the Soul: Revisioning Psychotherapy and Spiritual Direction. Bangalore: Dharmaram

von Wright, G.H. (1982) Wittgenstein. Oxford: Blackwell