Letter to Wittgenstein

February 25, 2008 at 9:04 am Leave a comment

Dear Ludwig Wittgenstein,

It’s better that much of your philosophy (or maybe all of your philosophy) was released before you were ready—better that some of it was taken from your grasp before you died. It helps me, as a student, to see the struggle of philosophy more clearly. Too much philosophy today is sterilized, swept clean of its author. The only mark of personality is on the occasional joke, turn of phrase, or idiosyncratic thought experiment.

It’s strange. I meet philosophers in person all the time. They are not like the people they seem in their publications or their lectures. I think it might be the subject. Or the culture of self-consciousness that comes with discussing what seems absurd to the majority of the populace. Or, it might be like you diagnosed: that “pretensions are a mortgage which burdens a philosopher’s capacity to think.”

I hate that I do it. Evidence of this can be seen all over this place where I publish. Evidence of my frustration is here, too. Every philosopher is frustrated. It’s too bad the struggle doesn’t come to light more often, as it does in your writings.

Cheers,
Don

P.S. Yes, I wrote a letter to a dead, crazy, Austrian. It makes more sense as a game.

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Entry filed under: Wittgenstein.

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Everything on this blog should be taken as a draft, the spilling over of mental activity flung far and wide. The author is a graduate of Hampshire College in Amherst, MA who enjoys many things but devotes most of this space to matters academic.
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