A Conversation for Ludwig Wittgenstein

"Wittgenstein" by A. C. Grayling

Post 1

Steve K.

This little book is copyright 1988/1996 and published by the Oxford University Press as part of the "Past Masters" series. The author's stated purpose is to make Wittgenstein's thought accessible to the general non-specialist reader, in just over 100 pages.

A memorable quote from the last section, "Wittgenstein and Recent Philosophy":

"Anyone reading these large claims [other philosophers on W's greatness] would naturally surmise that Wittgenstein is the most influential presence in twentieth century philosphy. In fact he is not. ... most of what has happened in philosophy during and since his time consists exactly in what his writings proscribe: namely, systematic investigation of the very 'problems of philosophy' which he says will vanish when one attends properly to language."

Ah, well, its no fun being in the majority, anyway.

smiley - online2long


"Wittgenstein" by A. C. Grayling

Post 2

Recumbentman

Didn't know about Grayling, thanks Steve.

. . . "the very 'problems of philosophy' which he says will vanish when one attends properly to language"

They will. We will. Hevenchually. smiley - ok


"Wittgenstein" by A. C. Grayling

Post 3

Steve K.

smiley - smiley

I've always enjoyed watching the rebels go after the academy types, like Stravinsky's premier of "Rite of Spring" which started a riot at the Paris theater. As the story goes, the traditionalists - led maybe by Saint-Saens? - tried to stop the show, which was "not music". But Ravel led the younger folks, saying "sure it is!"

More on topic, I've also enjoyed reading the American philosopher Richard Rorty, considered the gadfly of philosophy by others. His support of pragmatism seems to really irritate people. Reminds me of one of the best lines in Tom Stoppard's play "Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead". When Hamlet walks by saying something about being more or less sane when the wind is from a certain direction, our two heroes start trying to decide which way the wind is blowing. Finally, one of them says, "Why don't we just go look?" To which the other replies, "Pragmatism?!? Is that all you have to offer?"

smiley - biggrin


"Wittgenstein" by A. C. Grayling

Post 4

Recumbentman

Looking at the Rorty snippets in "A Dictionary of Philosophical Quotations" (the best thing A J Ayer ever produced) he looks right on the ball. Must investigate.

It's exactly 90 years since the Rite of Spring riot -- 29 May 1913. "At times the hubbub was so loud that the dancers coudn't hear the music they were supposed to be dancing to."


"Wittgenstein" by A. C. Grayling

Post 5

Steve K.

Stravinsky is a hero of mine. His use of rhythm is especially refreshing, vs. all that came before ("movie music" if you want to irritate a traditional composer). My piano instuctor - at one time a percussion major in a big time US music school, later a composition major - loved that music also. He wondered how the dancers could dance to the music, even if they COULD hear it.

Let me know what you think of Rorty.

smiley - smiley


"Wittgenstein" by A. C. Grayling

Post 6

Recumbentman

Won't get time for Rorty for a while . . .

Stravinsky said something revealing about (his attitude to) movie music; to the effect that the relationship of the score to the movie's action should be the same as the relationship the story I'm reading has to what somebody is playing on the piano in the next room.

Refreshingly renegade!


"Wittgenstein" by A. C. Grayling

Post 7

Steve K.

I recall Stravinsky worked in Hollywood late in his career. I wonder if the directors bought into that relationship?

smiley - online2long


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"Wittgenstein" by A. C. Grayling

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