Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Wittgenstein for Dummies

Wittgenstein was born into money, was living a glam life as a courtly genius, then gave it all up to go to Oxford. He left the ordinary world of muggles and their ways to join up with Slytherin, headed by Bertrand Russell.

His Tractatus Logico Philosophicus (known as TLP by insiders) was his young knight in shining armour debut (the women back in Vienna swooned), then he exited stage right and wasn't heard from in awhile (before all this, he'd been a handsome POW in WWI, but that's another story).

Then he returned (surprise!), this time to teach his Philosophical Investigations, his mysterious PI -- a dark art, with LW a hooded figure, all Jedi-like and Darth Vadery, with a penchant for light sabers (er fire pokers).

Note regarding "fire pokers":

That's an allusion to a storybook wherein Wittgenstein acts in a menacing way, seems to be contemplating a dual use for this ordinarily civilian implement, and against polite company.

Popperians (followers of Karl Popper) read this like a ghost story to scare themselves silly. They whisper about that boogey man LW to their children, who lie in bed shivering, listening for footsteps.

Note: I posted an earlier draft of the above to edu-sig, then to wittgenstein-dialognet @ Yahoo! My posts to the latter group appear to be queuing indefinitely, ever since I rejoined.