Exploring the significance and conditions of practices

In the beginning was the deed, or so one could at least speculate that it was. Wittgenstein spent a considerable amount of time reflecting upon the various practices that we (human being) engage in to live through both our communal and individual forms of living.

Practices could involve such meaningful acts as prayer or meals or pilgrimage or fasting or the daly routine of reading a bedtime story to a child. Our practices are what give shape to our life, and they are often what we can hold strongly to or feel that we have lost. Language - then - is not a primary concept. Instead, the languages we speak and write go to serve those very practices, which are significant in the way we live, believe and collaborate.

Please explore the notes on the concept of practice. They seek to answer questions like,

  • "what makes a practice a practice?" or "what makes it meaningful?
  • "how do we come to adopt a practice into the shape of our lives?", "who introduces it to us and showed us the way?"
  • "how much influence do social and material conditions play in the uptake and maintenance of a practice?" and
  • "what would it be like to enter a practice as an outsider?" "what challenges would be confronted?" and "why face the challenges at all?"

If I can hit the nail on the head, I would say that actions do not much make sense on their own. They only make sense as actual moves in a form of life or as preparatory ones.

Each of the links below take you to a different set of notes on the topic.