H. P. Grice (aka Paul Grice), in his "Prejudices and Prediections; which
become, the life and opinions of Paul Grice", says that Philosophy, like
virtue, is entire: this entireness (if that's the noun) manifests in two
unities: longitudinal and latitudinal (Grice was a sailor at heart, after he
fought against the enemy during the 1939-1945 world war).
It would not be surprising, then, that there is a unity in Witters's
philosophy, since, well Witters is a philosopher (i.e. a member of the class
"philosophy") (admittedly, Grice calls Witters in those "Prejudices and
Predilections" a "minor philosopher, like Bosanquet or Wollaston").
McEvoy's preferred noun seems to be 'continuity'.
It may do to consider these two keywords, then, continuity and unity (as I
prefer) re: Witters.
McEvoy’s thesis is that the ‘continuity’, the word he uses, relates to the
say/show distinction, while I lean towards favouring the standard view (by
whom?) that the unity is in the functions of language: ‘assertoric’ in the
"Tractatus", generalized to ‘assertoric’ and ‘imperative’ in the "PI" – Witters
speaks of ‘radical,’ borrowing for chemistry: “It is raining” and “Oh that it
rain!” as sharing a radical (or R. M. Hare’s phrastic -- vide Black, "A
companion to Wittgenstein's Tractatus").
Originally, however, there were two commonly recognized "stages", or phase, to
Witters's thought — the early and the later — both of which were taken to be
pivotal in their respective periods, whatever that may entail.
In recent philosophical scholarship, even Oxonian, this somewhat simplistic
binary division has been questioned.
On the one hand, as we have seen, some interpreters have claimed a unity (like
McEvoy and Speranza do, if they apply different criteria to claim a 'unity' or
'continuity', and Marie McGinn), a unity which would hold for all stages of his
Other philosophical historians have talked of a more nuanced division, adding
stages such as "the middle Wittgenstein" and, or a "third Wittgenstein." (This
reminds me of a Griceian who distinguished 45 stages of Grice's thought).
Marie McGinn (in an essay with the Harvard journal of philosophy -- link of pdf
document provided below) takes up McEvoy's view -- that this continuity applies
to the say-show distinction (McGinn is criticizing Diamond and Conant).
The view that the unity is manifested in that Witters was always concerned with
lingo and its functions (and that he merely GENERALISED the view of the
"Tractatus" to include functions other than the assertoric one in the
"Philosophical Investigations") may be called Griceian.
I wouldn't call it Austinian.
Grice recalls that he got often bored by hearing from J. L. Austin, proferring
performatively to different people, "You know, some like Witters, but Moore's
Strawson, and Hart, boringly, reports this adage as being, "Some people like
Witters, but Moore's MY man."
But would Austin flout Grice's "be as informative as is required" by adding the
otiose 'people'? I mean, "some" would hardly apply to, say, horses, in Grice's
version of the Austinian adage -- clever as some are (horses, I mean).
And so on.