Category Archives: Ludwig Wittgenstein

A Look at Unfashionable Philosophy

“Wittgenstein and Barfield disagree on a number of important matters; Barfield wrote that Wittgenstein never attempted historical analysis, and was therefore missing the proper foundation for evaluating language. Curiously, though, they also seem to share some significant ground. Barfield’s understanding of metaphor seems to mirror some of the claims that Wittgenstein makes about ostensive definition, though Barfield would claim that a poet (or, to use Wittgenstein’s language, one who has been inducted into the game of poetry) is able to glean a deeper insight from poetry than Wittgenstein would be willing to allow.”

Context for the humanities: quotations recently discovered inside a book

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‘A battle against the bewitchment of our intelligence by means of language’

“These are, of course, not empirical problems; they are solved, rather, by looking into the workings of our language, and that in such a way as to make us recognize those workings: in despite of an urge to misunderstand them. The problems are solved, not by giving new information, but by arranging what we have always known. Philosophy is a battle against the bewitchment of our intelligence by means of language.” — Ludwig Wittgenstein, Philosophical Investigations

Awe — Wittgenstein on mysticism; the impulse to worship?

Ludwig Wittgenstein in his youth.

Image via Wikipedia

That the world is, is the mystical.” — Ludwig Wittgenstein, in Tractatas Logico-Philosophicus 

On that quotation, William Barrett commented:

“Science tells us how the world is; it describes myriad kinds of phenomena, their behavior, and their mutual interactions one with another. But before the sheer fact of the world’s existence, that there is a world at all, that anything at all exists, in Leibniz’s telling phrase, we can only stand in silent awe. Before this primal mystery of Being our human chatter falters. Here language can only point, and then pass into silence. [Quoting Wittgenstein again,] ‘Of that whereof we cannot speak we must be silent.’ ”  — William Barrett, writing in The Illusion of Technique

The philosophers must be silent, but the poets and theologians have not been, thanks be to God.

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