[Wittrs] On the Two Literature Cultures of Wittgenstein
whoooo26505 at yahoo.com
Sun Jun 10 18:57:01 CDT 2012
A post Larry Tapper made recently showed me why there are really two different kinds of orientations when it comes to what we might call "Wittgenstein studies." There are: (a) scholars who, as a community, write what THEY think of Wittgenstein; and (b) those who write from the perspective of carrying forth (administering) a certain set of skills to which Wittgenstein awoke in them (Wittgensteinians). For anyone with any true knowledge of Wittgenstein will admit that he left us only acute examples of how to think differently about philosophical issues. And all that one could do to truly understand him is to try to cultivate those skills. These scholars no doubt gain a lot from biography.
What does it mean to say that a scholar would want to "learn Wittgenstein's thinking skills?" Is it learning to think not unlike the way a particular kind of autistic brain might? It could be. And any failings in this respect could say a great deal for those who cannot understand. I once had a professor in grad school -- a very cool guy -- say to me that he thought later Wittgenstein was "senile Wittgenstein." Point being that Tractarian Wittgenstein wasn't. One could only say of such a thing that he had no "seen."
The difference between the two groups is whether one is writing from the outside or inside. And this isn't a matter of loyalty; it's a matter of comprehension. One might even say absorption. For once you cross the line and call yourself "Wittgensteinian," what you have said is that the chain of thoughts that he exposed you to seem not only to be correct, but superior to other ways of doing (understanding).
And so you have scholars who form a literature culture around two distinct aspects.
I bring this up because Larry seems to think that collecting scholarly articles about Wittgenstein, like the one he cited, increases our knowledge. If it does, it only increases our knowledge of what the "outsiders" are saying. In other words, it increases are knowledge about the scholars.
(Part-II coming in a second)
Regards and thanks.
Dr. Sean Wilson, Esq.
Wright State University
Personal Website: http://seanwilson.org
SSRN papers: http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/cf_dev/AbsByAuth.cfm?per_id=596860
Wittgenstein Discussion: http://seanwilson.org/wittgenstein.discussion.html [/spoiler]
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