Wittgenstein wants to bring philosophy, the philosopher-in-us-all, peace. When we encounter this aim in PI, it is easy to believe that what he wants to bring philosophy, the philosopher-in-us-all, is knowledge. And of course there is something right about that, especially if we modulate the claim to one about self-knowledge. (After all, Wittgenstein cares particularly about the philosophical questions that bring philosophy itself into question, questions that bring the philosopher-in-us-all himself into question.) Crucially, however, self-ignorance involves alienation from ourselves more than it involves any failure of introspective acuity. And so acquiring the peace of self-knowledge is less learning something about ourselves than it is acknowledging something about ourselves. (Self-knowledge is typically bitter for good reason.)
So the peace Wittgenstein wants to bring is the peace of self-knowledge; we might even call it the peace of faith. But faith in what?
Before answering, I want to help myself to an idea of Marcel’s. Marcel talks about faith, about fundamentally pledging oneself, as reaching so deeply into the person pledged that it affects not only what the person has, but who the person is. His term for this, the idea I want, is existential index. When person’s belief has an existential index, ‘(e)’, the belief absorbs fully the powers of the person’s being. For Marcel, beliefs(e) are incompatible with pretension: A person who believes(e) is humbled by that in which he believes(e).
And now I want to say something that I know sounds paradoxical. Wittgenstein wants to bring the philosopher-in-us-all to belief(e) in himself, so that he is no longer tormented by questions that bring himself into question. But this will be a belief(e) in himself–a rallying to himself, to borrow another idea of Marcel’s–that involves no pretension. In fact, it will be a form of humility, a form of true love of himself. He will have faith in himself, but a faith that acknowledges his own nothingness. This is a faith that allows the philosopher to be filled with the spirit of truth (although not, notice, with the truth); it is a faith that allows him to be light seeking for light. Such humility does not protect the philosopher-in-us-all against error. It does protect him against depending on himself.
When the philosopher-in-us-all is tormented by questions that bring himself into question, his has fallen prey to self-dependence. He has lost his sense of his own thinking as a creative receptivity, a dependent initiative. He believes he has to be responsible for himself, that he has to support every response to a question by responding to questions about that question. To believe that is to fall into the predicament of being unable to make philosophical problems disappear. Pretension on the part of the philosopher-in-us-all guarantees the appearance of the philosophical problems. Pretension is a lack of faith, the surety of peacelessness.
(Probably a bad idea to try to write about such things when it is so late and I am so tired.)