Wednesday, 30 September 2015

Life Post-Wittgenstein

Since the day I met my current wife for the first time until now, I haven’t blogged. 

I always wrote writing excruciatingly painful and time-consuming.  In this sense, I always sympathised and related to Wittgenstein: The endless editing, re-editing, re-ordering and deleting felt very similar to my own experience.  The only way anything got down on paper was due to a deadline or sheer force of will.  In some sense, it was even harder with computers because I didn’t keep a notebook of my bad thoughts to be refined – they just got deleted and had to start over.

The consequence of this was such that when having a girlfriend turned wife turned joint-parent, I just did not have the time.

Yesterday, for the first time (inspired, or rather, horrified by Corbyn’s election as Labour leader) I felt compelled to sit down and right on (what was) my main blog: http://thehidingoftheface.blogspot.co.uk/

Out of interest, I looked at the blogspot stats and whilst, despite the hundreds of posts, my main blog only had a tiny view-count; my Wittgenstein blog (with only a few posts) had thousands.  Interestingly, I am linked to by the British Wittgenstein Society and I never knew!

Now, this got me thinking.  Wittgenstein’s attitudes towards philosophy have left their mark and I often see something that makes me wonder what Wittgenstein would think.  So, I wrote my blog just now on whether Bridge is a “Sport”

Now, I don’t believe I was ever the best philosopher.  Yet, being away from philosophy for many years (and not being able to access academic journals which are very expensive), I no doubt I have lost any depth of understanding that I did possess.

Being linked to by BWS, therefore, makes one awfully self-conscious and wonder what talented philosophers would make (or scoff) and any Wittgenstein writing that this self-professed “outsider” would write.

Yet, in and of itself, I think of myself as an interesting case study.  On the one hand, I have fulfilled Wittgenstein’s ambition that philosophy should lead one to leave philosophy.

Secondly, Wittgenstein (after the Tractatus) gave up philosophy and went to do all sorts of other things (e.g. teacher), before coming back to Cambridge much later.  My supervisor (Roger White) was always of the impression that the later Wittgenstein simply didn’t understand what he himself had earlier written and its motivations.  Implausible sounding at the time, I am not sure now.

Whilst Wittgenstein was a lot cleverer than I, it is sometimes hard to look back at some philosophy and just think “that’s silly”.  No doubt, within the theoretical framework constructed in analytics philosophy, there were motivations and logical paths which one could re-take.  Yet, it doesn’t alter that the pre-theoretical ‘aghast’ face that many non-philosophers would have at some of things discussed.

To my mind, this would include Leibniz’s Monads; existent, but not actual, abstract objects that are possible worlds that somehow give meaning to modal statements; and yes, Wittgenstinian Simple Objects.

Anyway, calling something “silly” would certainly not make me seem any more intelligent to real philosophers

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