Special Issue "Wittgenstein’s “Forms of Life”: Future of the Concept"

A special issue of Philosophies (ISSN 2409-9287).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 1 February 2023 | Viewed by 128

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Dr. Juliet Floyd
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Guest Editor
Department of Philosophy, Boston University, Boston, MA 02215, USA
Interests: history and philosophy of logic and mathematics; history and development of analytic philosophy; philosophy of language
Prof. Dr. Sandra Laugier
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Philosophy, Université Paris 1 Panthéon Sorbonne, 75005 Paris, France
Interests: Wittgenstein; Austin; ordinary language philosophy; Stanley Cavell; philosophy and anthropology; radical democracy; popular culture

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues, 

We are pleased to invite you to contribute to a special issue of Philosophies on the future of the concept of “forms of life”. This notion, drawn from Wittgenstein, is receiving recent attention in philosophy, political theory, anthropology, and the sociology of new medias. This special issue will explore the possibilities of developing this notion as a tool of elucidation and analysis of social structures and the importance of forms of life and individual expression to them. “Forms” pertain to the shape and logic of concepts, and concepts and life evolve rapidly in our computationally-driven world. The pluralistic embedding of language and biology in life form a nexus of fundamental importance, and a challenge to find appropriate forms of criticism and description. This special issue will explore the prospects of Wittgenstein’s notion for future research.

This special issue of Philosophies will focus on the transformations of thinking about politics, language, social relations and experience potentially brought about by the move to “forms of life”.  In The Brown Book to imagine a language is to imagine a “culture”, but in Philosophical Investigations it is to imagine a “form of life”.  What is the significance of this replacement? Stanley Cavell argued that there are multiple dimensions to Wittgenstein’s notion, including a biological and an ethological axis, and recent work on “forms of life” has ventured a multi-dimensional reworking of the human bodily experience of vulnerability in language and life. The notion of form of life as well as "life forms" is used in various fields, from biology to philosophy, sociology, political science and anthropology, as a set of practices and customs of various kinds, explicitly or implicitly present in beliefs, language, institutions, modes of action and values.  From the study of its various contemporary meanings to its critical and political scope and its ethical implications, this issue will unfold all the dimensions of this new approach  of “life” – the porosity between the private, social, economic and political spheres, and the new articulation of the social and the biological it engages  Sensitivity to forms of life is coming to confront top-down theories about structure, value, and policy. This relates, not only to knowledge and expression, but to ethics and the politics of democracy, for these depend crucially upon the formation of life in speech, agreement in and critique of forms of life,  and on the pluralities, plasticities, and rapid evolution of forms of life.

In this Special Issue, original research articles and reviews are welcome. Research areas may include (but not limited to) the following:  Wittgenstein, Philosophy of Language, Social philosophy, Critical Theory, Anthropology.

I/We look forward to receiving your contributions.

Prof. Dr. Juliet Floyd
Prof. Dr. Sandra Laugier
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a double-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Philosophies is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1200 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.


  • forms of life
  • Wittgenstein
  • critical theory
  • philosophy of anthropology
  • description
  • concepts
  • expression

Published Papers

This special issue is now open for submission.
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