Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences

Wittgenstein, lions and confidence: exploring the limits of communication and understanding

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Who this event is for

  • Everyone


JHB Lecture Theatre, John Henry Brookes Building, Headington Campus, Gipsy Lane site


How can we be confident that we have correctly understood someone – or that they, in turn, have understood us? Wittgenstein cryptically claimed that “if a lion could speak, we could not understand him”. In this lecture Constantine will clarify what Wittgenstein meant, rejecting a number of misinterpretations and objections along the way. He will also demonstrate Wittgenstein’s invaluable insights into what confident communication with others consists of.

About the speaker

CONSTANTINE SANDIS is Professor of Philosophy at Oxford Brookes University, a fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and has been visiting fellow at the Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies. He is author of The Things We Do and Why We Do Them and editor of a number of books as well as Bloomsbury’s Why Philosophy Matters and Macmillan’s Philosophers in Depth series.