Wittgenstein: Radical or Conservative Mystic?

by Rosa Lichtenstein on October 28, 2013

This is a condensed version of a much longer essay recently published here: Was Wittgenstein a Leftist?

(If you are using Internet Explorer 10you might find some of the links used won’t work properly unless you switch to ‘Compatibility View’ [in the Tools Menu].)

Indifference And Hostility From The Far-Left

In the opinion of many, Wittgenstein was the twentieth century’s most important and influential philosopher, at least in so far as Analytic Philosophy is concerned. However, this view of his significance has not been shared by large sections of the left. Herbert Marcuse probably summed up the opinion of many concerning Wittgenstein when he said:

“Wittgenstein’s assurance that philosophy ‘leaves everything as it is’ — such statements exhibit, to my mind, academic sado-masochism, self-humiliation, and self-denunciation of the intellectual whose labour does not issue in scientific, technical or like achievements.” [Marcuse (1968), p.141.]

The attitude of the ‘radical’ left was perhaps also echoed by Sean Sayers:

“Radical Philosophy was born in the aftermath of the student movement of the 1960s. At that time, philosophy in British universities was very conservative and traditional. Ordinary language philosophy, the analytical approach, and the empiricist tradition were absolutely dominant.” [Quoted from here.]

This widely held view of Wittgenstein — that he was a conservative philosopher far more concerned with defending the “banalities of commonsense” than he was with engaging in social criticism — hasn’t been helped by the belief that he was also a mystic.

However, my aim here isn’t to defend Wittgenstein’s ideas as such, but to argue that he has been seriously mis-characterised as a conservative mystic.

Wittgenstein And The Left

Wittgenstein was born into one of the richest families in Austria on the 26th of April 1889. He subsequently enrolled as a student at the Manchester College of Technology in 1908 [Sterrett (2005)]. As a result of his interest in the foundations of mathematics, he followed Frege‘s advice and went to study with Bertrand Russell at the University of Cambridge in 1911. It soon became apparent to Russell that Wittgenstein was a genius who would make the “next major advance in Philosophy”. Indeed, he was doing original research within a year, work that would later form part of his first book, the Tractatus. He gave away his massive inheritance, and when WW1 broke out, volunteered to fight in the Austro-Hungarian army. After the war, he became a teacher in Austria and worked as a gardener in a monastery for a short while.

W. W. Bartley, one of Wittgenstein’s first biographers, had this to say about his time there:

“The monastery no longer exists…; yet some of the old retainers still remain, and a few remember Wittgenstein as ‘a very good and industrious gardener — and as a left-winger’.” [Bartley (1988), p.116.]

So, the only two things that these “retainers” remembered about Wittgenstein almost fifty years later was that he was good at his job and that he was a “left-winger”. For these to be the only things they recalled he must have stood out as an individual who held forthright left-wing opinions. Indeed, a few years earlier, in 1922, Wittgenstein wrote to his friend, Paul Engelmann, expressing his desire to go and live in the USSR:

“The idea of a possible flight to Russia which we talked about keeps haunting me.” [Engelmann (1967), pp.52-53.]

This was written within a few years of the 1917 Revolution, as the Civil War was drawing to a close. A “left-winger” who wanted to go and live in revolutionary Russia in the throes of a Civil War — hardly the actions of a conservative.

After holding several meetings with members of the Vienna Circle (a group largely comprised of socialists and Marxists) in the late 1920s, he returned to Cambridge University in 1929, where the vast majority of his friends and many of his pupils turned out to be prominent Marxists (e.g., Piero Sraffa, Maurice Dobb, Nicholas Bakhtin (the older brother of Mikhail Bakhtin, colleague of Valentin Voloshinov), George Thomson, Maurice Cornforth, David Hayden-Guest, Alister Watson, Roy and Fania Pascal, Allen Cameron Jackson, John Cornford, George Paul, Douglas Gasking, and Rush Rhees). [Monk (1990), pp.343, 348; Cornish (1999), pp.40-87.] Hence, in the Cambridge of the 1930s, Wittgenstein was surrounded on every side by leading communists and other assorted “ultra-lefts”. Concerning the Cambridge philosopher, Frank Ramsey, Wittgenstein had this to say (in a note dated 01/11/1931):

“Ramsey was a bourgeois thinker. I.e., he thought with the aim of clearing up the affairs of some particular community. He did not reflect on the essence of the state — or at least he did not like doing so — but on how this state might reasonable [sic] be organized. The idea that this state might not be the only possible one partly disquieted him and partly bored him.” [Wittgenstein (1998), p.24e. Emphases in the original, as is the case with all the other passages quoted in this article.]

From this we may conclude that (1) Wittgenstein connected criticism of the state with whether or not an individual was a “bourgeois thinker” — again, hardly the opinion of a conservative –, and (2) He linked philosophical criticism with political criticism — in direct contradiction to the idea that he thought philosophy should ‘leave everything as it is’.

Wittgenstein’s View Of Russia And His Political Opinions

Rush Rhees, who was becoming a Trotskyist in the 1930s, and who later became one of his closest friends, had this to say about Wittgenstein’s attitude toward Marx and the USSR:

“If Wittgenstein felt sympathy with anything important in Marx, I think it was Marx’s faith in the proletariat: the importance of manual labour in the overthrow of capitalism and in the character of the ‘non-capitalist’ society…. Marx… writes of the ‘historical task’ of the proletariat and [that] science, which transforms the world, is working for them. But when he shows the degradation of the workers under capitalism…, he writes with the force of someone fighting against it. This sense of fighting may have seemed to Wittgenstein to show in the vitality of the Russian workers…. It may have been part of what ‘he believes the regime in Russia stands for’….

“When I said the ‘rule by bureaucracy’ in Russia was bringing in class distinctions there, he told me ‘If anything could destroy my sympathy with the Russian regime, it would be the growth of class distinctions.'” [Rhees (1984), pp.204-07.]

Back in the early 1970s, John Moran published a ground-breaking article, ‘Wittgenstein and Russia‘. Rush Rhees responded to several questions Moran sent him; here is part of Moran’s report of the answers he received:

“On Wittgenstein’s acquaintance with Marx he had evidence only that he had read part of the first volume of Capital, though he may also have read other works…. ‘Wittgenstein was familiar with the “tenets” of…Dialectical Materialism….’ Much of this familiarity may have come from frequent discussions of related ideas with Marxist friends rather than direct reading of Marx….

“Further, according to Rhees, Wittgenstein thought Marx’s conception of history and society were…scientific in attitude…. From conversations with him…, Rhees gathered that Wittgenstein had Marxist ideas in mind when he used the phrase ‘transition from quantity to quality’ with apparent approval (Investigations§284).” [Moran (1972).]

And, here is the passage in question from the Investigations:

“And so, too, a corpse seems to us quite inaccessible to pain. — Our attitude to what is alive and to what is dead is not the same. All our reactions are different. — If someone says, ‘That cannot simply come from the fact that living beings move in such-and-such ways and dead ones don’t’, then I want to suggest to him that this is a case of the transition ‘from quantity to quality’.” [Wittgenstein (2009), p.104e, §284.]

This isn’t just a vague allusion to Engels ‘First Law‘, it is a clear allusion to Engels’s comment about ‘levels’ (on that, see here). According to Elizabeth Anscombe, this wasn’t a one-off, either:

“He used sometimes to reflect on the well known phrase ‘transition from quantity to quality’.” [Quoted from here.]

Moreover, until recently Wittgenstein was almost unique among Analytic Philosophers in questioning the ‘Law of Non-contradiction’; here is just one of the many things he had to say about it:

“But you can’t allow a contradiction to stand! — Why not?…

“It might for example be said of an object in motion that it existed and did not exist in this place; change might be expressed by means of contradiction.” [Wittgenstein (1978), p.370.]

This could almost have come directly from Hegel, Lenin or Engels!

Wittgenstein’s unorthodox view of contradictions isn’t the only area of his work that echoes ideas we normally associate with Hegel and Dialectical Materialism; he also held non-standard views about the ‘Law of Identity’.

 “Roughly speaking, to say of two things that they are identical is nonsense, and to say of one thing that it is identical with itself is to say nothing at all….

“The identity-sign, therefore, is not an essential constituent of conceptual notation.” [Wittgenstein (1972), 5.5303-5.533, pp.106-07.]

“‘A thing is identical with itself.’ — There is no finer example of a useless sentence….” [Wittgenstein (2009), §216, p.91e.]

I can think of very few Analytic Philosophers (who have not already been influenced by Hegel and/or Wittgenstein), if any, who would argue this way. But, this isn’t surprising given what we know of the opinions of his communist friends.

And here is another revealing passage, this time from Manuscript 213 (dating from the early 1930s, which is a direct or indirect allusion to Heraclitus):

“That everything is in flux must be inherent in the contact between language and reality. Or better: That everything is in flux must be inherent in language….” [Wittgenstein (2013), p.314e.]

Furthermore, we also learn that Wittgenstein had read Hegel:

“Hegel [Wittgenstein] said he had hardly read at all, but from what he had read he thought Hegel ‘had nose’ — he was struck, for instance, by Hegel’s denial of the so-called ‘law of contradiction’. That denial, indeed, could well have appealed to Wittgenstein’s love of paradox….” [Redpath (1999), pp.18-19.]

Indeed, and more recently, Graham Priest and Richard Routley thought that they could recruit Wittgenstein to the Dialetheic ’cause’:

“Though dialetheism is not a new view, the word itself is. It was coined by Graham Priest and Richard Routley…in 1981 (see Priest, Routley and Norman, 1989, p.xx). The inspiration for the name was a passage in Wittgenstein’s Remarks on the Foundations of Mathematics, where he describes the Liar sentence (‘This sentence is not true’) as a Janus-headed figure facing both truth and falsity (1978, IV.59). Hence a di-aletheia is a two(-way) truth.” [Priest and Berto (2013).]

The passage to which the above two authors refer is this:

“The proposition that contradicts itself would stand like a monument (with a Janus head) over the propositions of logic.” [Wittgenstein (1978), p.256.]

However, in later work, it is clear that Wittgenstein had abandoned this way of seeing things:

“There can be no debate about whether these or other rules are the right ones for the word ‘not’…. For without these rules, the word has as yet no meaning; and if we change the rules, it now has another meaning (or none), and in that case we may just as well change the word too.” [Wittgenstein (2009), §549, footnote, p.155e.]

Hence, if the negative particle typically maps a truth onto a falsehood, or vice versa, then a contradiction can’t be true, but must either be senseless or false. Any other interpretation must therefore be using the negative particle in a different way, which would in turn imply that any ‘contradiction’ so formed would also involve using that word with a new meaning.

There are many more direct and indirect allusions to Marxist ideas in Wittgenstein’s published and unpublished work, too many to quote here, but they can all be found in my essay, Was Wittgenstein a Leftist?

Russia 1935

Wittgenstein briefly visited Russia in September 1935 with the intention of settling down there. Like many others at the time this was partly motivated by the false belief that under Stalin it was a Workers’ State. We can see this from the fact that he told Rush Rhees that he would lose sympathy with the regime there if class distinctions returned. In this regard, of course, his intentions are more significant than his mistaken views.

While he was there he met Sophia YanovskayaProfessor of Mathematical Logic at Moscow University, who even went as far as recommend Wittgenstein for the Chair of Philosophy at Kazan University (Lenin’s old college) [Monk (1990), p.351]. In Stalin’s Russia of the mid-1930s these were hardly posts one would have offered to just aboutanyone, least of all to a German speaker supposedly unsympathetic toward Communism.

Wittgenstein and Sraffa

More importantly, Wittgenstein himself declared that his later philosophy had been inspired by his regular conversations with Piero Sraffa (Gramsci’s friend). The extent of Sraffa’s influence is still unclear (but, see below); even so Wittgenstein admitted to Rhees that it was from Sraffa that he had gained an “anthropological” view of philosophical problems. In the Preface to what is his most important and influential work, Wittgenstein had this to say:

“Even more than this…criticism, I am indebted to that which a teacher of this university, Mr P. Sraffa, for many years unceasingly applied to my thoughts. It is to this stimulus that I owe the most fruitful ideas of this book.” [Wittgenstein (2009), p.4e.]

This is quite remarkable! The author of what many believe to be the most original and innovative philosophical work of the 20th century — and one that, if correct, brings to an end 2500 years of traditional thought — claims that his most “fruitful” ideas were derived from a man who was an avowed Marxist!

The precise details of Sraffa’s — and indirectly Gramsci’s — influence on Wittgenstein have until recently been unclear, but over the last fifteen years or so hard evidence has begun to emerge from the Sraffa archives. I can’t go into the details here, so readers are directed to the essay of mine mentioned earlier, as well as the books and articles listed at the end of the Bibliography.

Wittgenstein And Voloshinov

In addition to this, there are very clear indications that Wittgenstein had probably read Voloshinov, or the latter’s ideas had filtered through to him via Sraffa or Nicholas Bakhtin. In the main these parallels relate to (1) The social nature of language, and (2) The meaning of words/’signs’. I have space here for only a handful of examples.

Concerning the second of these, we have the following words:

“Meaning is a function of the sign and is therefore inconceivable…outside the sign as some particular, independently existing thing. It would be just as absurd to maintain such a notion as to take the meaning of the word ‘horse’ to be this particular, live animal I am pointing to. Why if that were so, then I could claim, for instance, that having eaten an apple, I have consumed not an apple but the meaning of the word ‘apple’.” [Voloshinov (1973), p.28.]

Compare that with Wittgenstein’s comments:

“It is important to note that it is a solecism to use the word ‘meaning’ to signify the thing that ‘corresponds’ to a word. That is to confound the meaning of a name with the bearer of the name. When Mr. N. N. dies, one says that the bearer of the name dies, not that the meaning dies.” [Wittgenstein (2009), §1, p.5e, and§40, p.24e.]

This parallel is quite striking — partly because, as far as I am aware, no one has noticed it before. The view of the meaning of words these two are keen to challenge has been (and in many cases still is) a core principle of traditional/atomistic theories of language; that is, that the meaning of a word is the object (or the ‘idea’/’image’/’concept’) to which it refers or with which it is associated. [Of course, these days we have “signifier” and “signified”.]

The approach advocated by Voloshinov and Wittgenstein thus broke entirely new ground.

Is it just a coincidence that within a few years of Voloshinov writing the above Wittgenstein also began to think along the same lines, using a similar argument to motivate the completely new direction he was taking, a direction that took him away from the rather simplified semantics of the Tractatus?

Moreover, concerning the first of the above points, there are these comments:

“In point of fact, the speech act, or more accurately, its product — the utterance, cannot under any circumstances be considered an individual phenomenon in the precise meaning of the word and cannot be explained in terms of the individual psychological or psychophysiological conditions of the speaker. The utterance is a social phenomenon.” [Voloshinov, op cit, p.82.]

“Idealism and psychologism alike overlook the fact that understanding itself can come about only with in some kind of semiotic material…that sign bears upon sign, that consciousness itself can arise and become a viable fact only in the material embodiment of signs…understanding is a response to a sign with signs.” [Ibid., p.11.]

“…The utterance ‘What time is it?’ has a different meaning each time it is used, and hence, in accordance with our terminology, has a different theme, depending on the concrete historical situation….” [Ibid.,p.99.]

Compare the above with what Wittgenstein was beginning to argue:

“‘A sign is always intended for a living being, so that must be something essential to a sign.’… A sign has a purpose only in human society….” [Wittgenstein (2013), p.146e.]

“An interpretation is a supplementation of the interpreted sign with another sign.

“If someone asks me ‘What time is it?’ then no work of interpretation goes on inside me. I react immediately to what I see and hear.” [Ibid., p.16e.]

Compare these, too:

“What I want to say is that to be a sign a thing must be dynamic not static.” [Wittgenstein (1974), p.55.]

“Theme is a complex, dynamic system of signs that attempts to be adequate to a given instant of generative process….” [Voloshinov, op cit, p.100.]

There is also a striking parallel between what Voloshinov had to say about “theme” and Wittgenstein’s comments about it, too.

‘Philosophy Leaves Everything As It Is’

As noted above, one of the cornerstones of the idea that Wittgenstein was a conservative philosopher is the allegation that he argued that philosophy “leaves everything as it is”, and that it has, therefore, no political, social or critical role to play, other than, perhaps, to rationalise (directly or indirectly) the status quo. According to this abiding myth, the sole job of the philosopher is to contemplate the minutiae of language use in splendid, ivory tower isolation. But, is there any truth in this clichéd allegation?

Here in fact is what Wittgenstein had to say:

“Philosophy must not interfere in any way with the actual use of language, so it can in the end only describe it.

“For it cannot justify it either.

“It leaves everything as it is.

“It also leaves mathematics as it is, and no mathematical discovery can advance it.” [Wittgenstein (2009), §124, p.55e.]

From this it is quite clear that the word “everything” (in the third line) refers back to “the actual use of language” (in the first). This is plain from the fact that Wittgenstein went on to mention mathematics (“It also leaves mathematics as it is”), which he wouldn’t have added if “everything” were totally unqualified in the way that many suppose.

So, Philosophy leaves language and mathematics as they are, but nothing else. Whether or not one agrees with Wittgenstein, this particular passage offers no support to those who want to characterise Wittgenstein as aconservative.

Was Wittgenstein A Mystic?

Another of the charges often levelled against Wittgenstein is that he was a mystic. It is certainly true that he said things like this:

“There are, indeed, things that cannot be put into words. They make themselves manifest. They are what is mystical.” [Wittgenstein (1972), 6.44, 6.45, 6.522; pp.149-51.]

However, the ‘mystical’ and ethical sections of the Tractatus do not sit well with the stark criteria Wittgenstein laid down for an expression to count as a proposition (and hence for it to be capable not only of saying, but also of showing something). The ethical and mystical passages can’t do this (since they try to show what can only be shown by ordinary propositions). [On this, see White (2006), pp.114-15.

In a letter to Russell, Wittgenstein had this to say

“Now I’m afraid you haven’t really got hold of my contention, to which the whole business of logical propositions is only a corollary. The main point is the theory of what can be expressed by propositions — i.e., by language — (and, which comes to the same, what can be thought) and what can not be expressed by propositions, but can only be shown; which, I believe, is the cardinal problem of philosophy.” [Wittgenstein (2012), p.98.]

Since the whole point of the book concerns what can’t be expressed but only shown by ordinary propositions, these odd passages at the end can’t be integral to what it had to say. In which case, we must look to other reasons why these incongruous sections were included — reasons which I think nobody else has noticed before, but they are in fact staring us in the face.

These rather odd concerns only began to exercise an influence on Wittgenstein’s thought during his military service in the First World War; they appear in his Notebooks for the first time in 1915/1916, after most of the core ideas of the Tractatus had been settled upon. Thus, ‘God’ makes ‘his’ first appearance in a note dated 11th of June 1916 [Wittgenstein (1979), p.72e.]; the ‘mystical’ in a note written in May 1915 [Ibid., p.51e]; comments about the ‘will’ first appear in the same month, as do those about ‘the soul’. [Ibid., pp.49e-50e.] Up to that point, Wittgenstein’s interests had been almost exclusively concerned with logical syntax, the logical constants, names, sense, nonsense, the nature of facts, simples, and complexes, etc. — the core ideas of the TractatusAfter this, the meaning of life, happiness, death, suicide, and various assorted ethical concerns began to dominate his thinking.

To the consternation of those who knew him, he returned from the war a mystic. As Brian McGuinness notes in his biography of Wittgenstein:

“Russell was shocked by the mystical tendencies that he found in Wittgenstein after the war.” [McGuinness (1990), p.204.]

He was shocked since there was no hint of this before the war. Indeed, we know that he had abandoned belief in ‘god’ as a schoolboy [Monk (1990), p.18.

Neverthelss, this turn to the ‘mystical’ during his military service isn’t surprising given the effect we now know that modern warfare can have on human beings. This odd turn of events was a sign that Wittgenstein was suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder [PTSD], which, as we also understand, can last for many years causing long-term psychiatric problems — such as clinical depression coupled with suicidal tendencies, both of which we know Wittgenstein suffered from for the rest of his life.

Given what Marx had to say about religious belief it shouldn’t surprise us that in times of extreme stress and emotional turmoil many turn to mysticism for consolation. The evidence suggests that the same can happen to soldiers during war, as well as after they have returned from service.

Indeed, Wittgenstein’s war diaries record the acute stress he was under; here is one entry from 29/07/16 (but there are many more):

“Yesterday I was shot at. I was scared! I was afraid of death. I now have such a desire to live…. From time to time I become an animal. Then I can think of nothing but eating, drinking and sleeping. Terrible! And then I suffer like an animal too, without the possibility of internal salvation. I am then at the mercy of my appetites and aversions. Then an authentic life is unthinkable.” [Quoted in Monk, op cit, p.146.]

It is quite clear from this that Wittgenstein was beginning to suffer from clinical depression:

“Hypersomnia is excessive sleepiness…. [P]eople who are suffering from clinical depression may suffer from hypersomnia…nearly every day.” [Quoted from here.]

Wittgenstein’s turn to the mystical is hardly surprising, therefore; these ruminations were plainly a coping mechanism. However, they are conspicuous by their absence in his ‘middle’ and ‘later’ periods. The ‘mystical’ is absent from the Notebooks of the 1930s and 1940s, as well as from the Investigations.

To be sure Wittgenstein did have religious ‘leanings’ of some sort (the word “god” crops up all over the place in his later Notebooks, but his use of this word is often equivocal), and he converted to Roman Catholicism on his deathbed — but that was, clearly, at the very end of his life. At other times, he wore his religious beliefs, if he had any, very lightly.

Conclusion

From the above it is now quite clear that Wittgenstein was indeed “a left-winger”, just as it is also clear he was a mystic for only a few years (i.e., during and after WW1). We have also seen that the idea that he was a conservative isn’t just misguided, it is the exact opposite of the truth. Indeed, if correct, his method brings to an end two-and-half millennia of empty philosophical speculation.

However, this isn’t just an academic exercise. It is important to challenge the above view of Wittgenstein, since it has served as an effective barrier to his ideas being appropriated by revolutionaries. There are now no good reasons to reject his work over and above those that would apply to any other philosopher — that is: whether or not his arguments are valid.

References

Bartley, W. (1988), Wittgenstein (Open Court, 2nd ed.).

Cornish, K. (1999), The Jew Of Linz (Arrow Books).

Engelmann, P. (1967), Letters From Ludwig Wittgenstein. With A Memoir, translated by L. Furtmüller, edited by Brian McGuinness (Blackwell).

Flowers, F. (1999) (ed.), Portraits Of Wittgenstein, Volume Three (Thoemmes Press).

Marcuse, H. (1968), One Dimensional Man (Abacus Books).

McGuinness, B. (1990), Wittgenstein: A Life. The Young Ludwig 1889-1921 (Penguin Books).

Monk, R. (1990), Wittgenstein. The Duty Of Genius (Vintage).

Moran, J. (1972), ‘Wittgenstein And Russia‘, New Left Review 73, pp.85-96.

Priest, G., and Berto, N. (2013), ‘Dialetheism‘, Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, edited by Edward N. Zalta (Summer 2013 Edition).

Priest, G., Routley, R., and Norman, J. (1989) (eds.), Paraconsistent Logic (Philospohia Verlag).

Redpath, T. (1999), ‘A Student’s Memoir’, in Flowers (1999), pp.3-52.

Rhees, R. (1984) (ed.), Recollections Of Wittgenstein (Oxford University Press, 2nd ed.).

Sterrett, S. (2005), Wittgenstein Flies A Kite (Pi Press).

Voloshinov, V. (1973), Marxism And The Philosophy Of Language (Harvard University Press).

White, R. (2006), Wittgenstein’s Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus. A Reader’s Guide (Continuum).

Wittgenstein, L. (1972), Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus, translated by D. F. Pears and B. F. McGuinness(Routledge, 2nd ed.).

——–, (1974), Philosophical Grammar, edited by Rush Rhees, translated by Anthony Kenny (Blackwell).

——–, (1978), Remarks On The Foundations Of Mathematics, translated by G. E. M. Anscombe, edited by G. H. von Wright, R. Rhees and G. E. M. Anscombe (Blackwell, 3rd ed.).

——–, (1979), Notebooks 1914-1916, edited by G. H. von Wright, and G. E. M. Anscombe, translated by G. E. M. Anscombe (Blackwell, 2nd ed.).

——–, (1998), Culture And Value (Blackwell, 2nd ed.).

——–, (2009), Philosophical Investigations, translated by G. E. M. Anscombe, revised by Peter Hacker and Joachim Schulte (Blackwell, 4th ed.).

——–, (2012), Wittgenstein In Cambridge: Letters And Documents 1911-1951, edited by Brian McGuinness (Wiley-Blackwell).

——–, (2013), The Big Typescript: TS 213, edited and translated by C. G. Luckhardt and M. A. E. Aue (Blackwell).

See also:

Bellofiore, R., and Potier, J. (2012), ‘New Perspectives From The Sraffa Papers. A Preliminary Survey’, in Ciccone, Gehrke and Mongiovi (2012), pp.338-53.

Ciccone, R., Gehrke, C., and Mongiovi, G. (2012) (eds.), Sraffa And Modern Economics, Volume 2 (Routledge).

Davis, J. (1993), ‘Sraffa, Interdependence And Demand: The Gramscian Influence,’ Review of Political Economy 5,1, pp.22-39.

——–, (2002a), ‘Gramsci, Sraffa, And Wittgenstein: Philosophical Linkages,’ European Journal of the History of Economic Thought 9, 3, pp.384-401.

——–, (2002b), ‘A Marxist Influence On Wittgenstein Via Sraffa’, in Kitching and Pleasants (2002), pp.131-43.

——–, (2011), ‘The Change In Sraffa’s Philosophical Thinking‘ (unpublished working paper).

Engelmann, M. (2012), Wittgenstein’s Philosophical Development: Phenomenology, Grammar, Method, And The Anthropological Perspective (Palgrave).

——–, (2013), ‘Wittgenstein’s “Most Fruitful Ideas” And Sraffa’, Philosophical Investigations 36, 2, pp.155-78.

Israel, J. (2002), ‘Remarks On Marxism And The Philosophy Of Language’, in Kitching and Pleasants (2002), pp.213-27.

Janik, A. (1985), Essays On Wittgenstein And Weininger (Rodolpi).

Kitching, G., and Pleasants, N. (2002) (eds.), Marx And Wittgenstein. Knowledge, Morality And Politics (Routledge).

Kurz, H. (2009), ‘“If Some People Looked Like Elephants And Others Like Cats, Or Fish…”  On The Difficulties Of Understanding Each Other: The Case Of Wittgenstein And Sraffa‘, European Journal of the History of Economic Thought 16, 2, pp.361-74.

Roncaglia, A. (2009), Piero Sraffa (Palgrave).

Rossi-Landi, F. (2002), ‘Towards A Marxian Use Of Wittgenstein’, in Kitching and Pleasants (2002), pp.185-212.

Sen, A. (2003), ‘Sraffa, Wittgenstein, And Gramsci‘, Journal of Economic Literature 41, December 2003, pp.1240-55.

Sharpe, K. (2002), ‘Sraffa’s Influence On Wittgenstein: A Conjecture’, in Kitching and Pleasants (2002), pp.113-30.

Venturinha, N. (2012), ‘Sraffa’s Notes On Wittgenstein’s “Blue Book”‘, Nordic Wittgenstein Review 1, 1-11.

{ 123 comments… read them below or add one }

Andrew Kliman November 1, 2013 at 8:24 am

“‘But you can’t allow a contradiction to stand! — Why not?….” It’s obvious: because I am playing your language game and not playing your language game.

Reply

Rosa Lichtenstein November 1, 2013 at 5:48 pm

And yet, Andrew, you still can’t explain what a ‘dialectical contradiction’ is.
But, thanks for sharing yet another incorrect cliché about Wittgenstein and ‘language games’.

Reply

Andrew Kliman November 1, 2013 at 6:03 pm

I can certainly explain what a logical contradiction is, but I won’t do so because you’d argue with it and I will not get into an argument with you because you’re evil.

I did not share any cliche about Wittgenstein and language games. I answered his question.

Reply

Rosa Lichtenstein November 1, 2013 at 7:17 pm

Well done for missing the point; let me walk you through it again (highlighted in bold this time to help you out a little more):

“Andrew, you still can’t explain what a ‘dialectical contradiction’ is…”

I already know what a logical contradiction is, so thanks for the offer, but no thanks.

“you’re evil”

Simply because I had the temerity to question the sacred ‘dialectic’, compounded by the audacity to expose your inability to explain what a ‘dialectical contradiction’ is.

Yes, pure evil

“I did not share any cliché about Wittgenstein and language games. I answered his question.”

The cliché being that he answered every question by appealing to ‘language games’.

Anyway, it wasn’t his question, but one posed by his interlocutor.

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Andrew Kliman November 1, 2013 at 7:25 pm

I didn’t miss the point; I meant to write “dialectical”:

I can certainly explain what a *dialectical* contradiction is, but I won’t do so because you’d argue with it and I will not get into an argument with you because you’re evil.

The reason why you’re evil, which you know, is not the one you state.

The question I answered was “Why not?” Whose question was that?

I certainly didn’t share the cliché that he answered every question by appealing to ‘language games’.

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Rosa Lichtenstein November 2, 2013 at 12:07 am

So, you have chickened out yet again, substituting personal abuse for argument and/or evidence. At least you are consistent, I’ll give you that.

And you can’t even tell the good folk here why I am so ‘evil’. That being the case, the reason I gave reason seems eminently, er…, reasonable.

“Whose question was that?”

Go check the original; you’ll soon see that Wittgenstein often imputed questions like this to interlocutors, so that he could test his own ideas, rather like Plato did with Socrates, the originator of classical dialectic.

“I certainly didn’t share the cliché that he answered every question by appealing to ‘language games’.”
Good to see you are capable of climbing down.

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Briefbras Côme November 2, 2013 at 12:17 am

You seem to be harassing the Kliman fellow, lady. Why?

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Rosa Lichtenstein November 2, 2013 at 1:06 am

So, he calls me ‘evil; and I am guilty of ‘harassing’ him”; is that it?

You’ll be saying next I asked for it.

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Cain S. Pinto November 2, 2013 at 1:07 am

You’re asking for it, really.

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Rosa Lichtenstein November 2, 2013 at 1:51 am

And thank you for at least exposing your sexism for all to see.

Cain S. Pinto November 1, 2013 at 11:01 pm

Litchtenstein,

you said in your propagandistic screed,

“It is important to note that it is a solecism to use the word ‘meaning’ to signify the thing that ‘corresponds’ to a word. That is to confound the meaning of a name with the bearer of the name. When Mr. N. N. dies, one says that the bearer of the name dies, not that the meaning dies.” [Wittgenstein (2009), §1, p.5e, and§40, p.24e.]

This parallel is quite striking — partly because, as far as I am aware, no one has noticed it before. The view of the meaning of words these two are keen to challenge has been (and in many cases still is)
a core principle of traditional/atomistic theories of language; that
is, that the meaning of a word is the object (or the ‘idea’/’image’/’concept’) to which it refers or with which it is associated. [Of course, these days we have “signifier” and “signified”.]

The approach advocated by Voloshinov and Wittgenstein thus broke entirely new ground.”

But, this just elides over the matter without any exposition over WHY it can be said that Wittgenstein broke new ground. It seems readily demonstrable that Wittgenstein’s conception of the grounds of meaning is itself mystifying. If anything it seems evident to Kripke, and to Burgess after him, that the notion of reference to something is utterly uninformative from an analytic perspective.

If references are causal their referents ought to show the inferential relations between the name and the object’s material causal characteristics. “[N]ot only does the chain of communication picture not reduce the notion of reference to causal notions, it does not offer any reductive analysis of reference at all… it simply takes for granted a notion of intention to refer”. The causal theory of reference”…explicitly
and emphatically disavowed any aim to provide a reductive analysis”.
Such “work may raise doubts about the deflationist claim that there are
no substantive questions about reference, simply by being an example of a substantive “theory” about reference, but if this work makes trouble
for deflationism, it offers very little help to physicalism” which purports to explain causal interactions between objects.

Alexis Burgess & John Burgess. (2011). Truth. “Realism”. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press. p. 76-77.

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Lacques Jacan November 1, 2013 at 11:31 pm

Excellent response, Mr. Pinto. I myself share these reservation with you. These Wittgenstenians seem so unaware of their bullshit it is appalling.

*But, please try to format your reply better, the broken text hurts the eyes, you see.

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Cain S. Pinto November 1, 2013 at 11:59 pm

O.K Monsieur Jacan, formatting fixed.
Pleased to know we share some “reservations”.

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Rosa Lichtenstein November 2, 2013 at 12:27 am

Lacks:

“These Wittgensteinians seem so unaware of their bullshit it is appalling.”
And which ‘Wittgensteinians’ are these then? Or are you too incapable of substantiating your own indiscriminate slurs?

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Cain S. Pinto November 2, 2013 at 12:51 am

It seems evident he’s referring to Hacker. Whose exposition is pretty much your exposition.

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Lacques Jacan November 2, 2013 at 1:40 am

Yes, indeed, but not just Hacker. Even these

Redpath, T. (1999), ‘A Student’s Memoir’, in Flowers (1999), pp.3-52.

Rhees, R. (1984) (ed.), Recollections Of Wittgenstein (Oxford University Press, 2nd ed.).

Sterrett, S. (2005), Wittgenstein Flies A Kite (Pi Press).

Voloshinov, V. (1973), Marxism And The Philosophy Of Language (Harvard University Press).

are ideologically motivated bullshit with little to do with Wittgenstein’s actual legacy in Analytic philosophy, which has been a soporific laziness instead of analysis.

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Rosa Lichtenstein November 2, 2013 at 1:55 am

As I noted earlier, you are long on assertion, short of proof.

But, even if you are right, what has this got to do with Wittgenstein himself?

Or are you the sort of idiot who would blame Marx for what Stalin’s regime did?

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Lacques Jacan November 2, 2013 at 2:31 am

Wittgenstein himself has nothing to do with your interpretation either.

The question is not what someone has to say about their hard-on for Wittgenstein, but what arguments can be said to favour the plausibility of his work.

None of his logic has been explicitated in your article, and that would be crucial to save him from the criticisms leveled here.

Watch the video lecture by Kai F. Wehmeier on the logic of the Tractatus and how limited its scope is, for a start.

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Rosa Lichtenstein November 2, 2013 at 3:01 am

Lacks-proof:

“Wittgenstein himself has nothing to do with your interpretation either.”

I see, you think he is still alive do you?

“The question is not what someone has to say about their hard-on for Wittgenstein, but what arguments can be said to favour the plausibility of his work.”

I agree, but that wasn’t the aim of my article.

Perhaps I need to repeat this point several times before it registers?

“None of his logic has been explicated in your article, and that would be crucial to save him from the criticisms levelled here.”

“Watch the video lecture by Kai F. Wehmeier on the logic of the Tractatus and how limited its scope is, for a start.”

1) Already seen it; it’s a good lecture. Skates over the syntax of the ‘=’ sign, though, as do many others.

2) You are perhaps more dim that even I had imagined: my article had one aim only (I was set this task by the editors, so my hands were tied): to challenge the widely held belief that Wittgenstein was a conservative mystic.

What has the logic of the Tractatus got to do with this?

You might not know the meaning of the word ‘relevant’, but I do.

Cain S. Pinto November 2, 2013 at 2:44 am

“But, even if you are right, what has this got to do with Wittgenstein himself?”

It has the merit of showing Wittgensteinians what is wrong their account of Wittgenstein as a revolutionary and with themselves as ‘philosophers’.

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Rosa Lichtenstein November 2, 2013 at 3:04 am

May be so, maybe not, but you neglected once again to provide any evidence in support of your claims.

Independently of this, you do seem to be the sort or numpty who would blame Marx for what Stalin did.

Rosa Lichtenstein November 2, 2013 at 1:53 am

In fact, if you actually bothered to read my work, you’d soon see my ideas have more in common with Cora Diamond.

But, hey, you’re not someone who lets facts get in the way of a good old fashioned smear, are you?

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Cain S. Pinto November 2, 2013 at 2:44 am

Cora Diamond is a stupid woman, and her work on Wittgenstein is pathetic.

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Rosa Lichtenstein November 2, 2013 at 3:05 am

Yes, I am sure you can prove this, can’t you?

Er… deafening silence descends yet again on the Mark of Cain.

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Rosa Lichtenstein November 2, 2013 at 12:24 am

Cain, but not quite Able:

“But, this just elides over the matter without any exposition over WHY it can be said that Wittgenstein broke new ground. It seems readily demonstrable that Wittgenstein’s conception of the grounds of meaning is itself mystifying. If anything it seems evident to Kripke, and to Burgess after him, that the notion of reference to something is utterly uninformative from an analytic perspective.”

In other words, you are criticising me for not writing a different article from the one I was commissioned to write. take that up with the editors, not me.

But, what is your evidence that any of the things you alleged in your first unfortunate contribution are true? You don’t quote, you merely allude to what you take to be the views of Kripke, and you quote Burgess and Burgess — with no proof they are Wittgensteinians.

Or, that their ideas are even representative of what Wittgensteinians might argue, even if they are.

Not a good start.

But, it gets worse:

“If references are causal their referents ought to show the inferential relations between the name and the object’s material causal characteristics.”
Inferences, may I remind you are made by human beings, not names or objects. I am not sure what crazy world you live in, but in this world objects and names have no intelligence, and are quite incapable of inferring or implying anything.
And thanks, by the way, for the irrelevant quotation from Burgess and Burgess; why you quoted them, however, is perhaps best left to your psychiatrist to explain.

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Cain S. Pinto November 2, 2013 at 12:56 am

Lichtenstein you imbecile-bot,

the Burgess and Burgess quotation isolates the precise problems with Wittgenstenian philosophy. It is in reference to a strengthened account of Wittgenstein offered by Kripke. If you’d read all the relevant materials about the Analytic aspects of Wittgenstein’s work, you’d know. But, you’re just a bot.

“You don’t quote, you merely allude to what you take to be the views of
Kripke, and you quote Burgess and Burgess — with no proof they are
Wittgensteinians.”

If you do your research you’ll know that they are critics of Wittgenstein in the best possible sense.

“In other words, you are criticising me for not writing a different
article from the one I was commissioned to write. take that up with the editors, not me.”

No, I’m criticizing so you for not reading the MOST important expositions about Wittgenstein. Also, I’m criticizing you for being an arrogant piece of software.

“But, it gets worse… why you quoted them, however, is perhaps best left to your psychiatrist to explain.”

I was doing you a favour. Go read the books, and drop your ad hominems.

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Rosa Lichtenstein November 1, 2013 at 10:41 pm

Cain-in-the butt:

“the Burgess and Burgess quotation isolates the precise problems with Wittgenstenian [sic] philosophy. It is in reference to a strengthened account of Wittgenstein offered by Kripke. If you’d read all the relevant materials about the Analytic aspects of Wittgenstein’s work, you’d know. But, you’re just a bot.”

I see you have been reading ‘Socialist Steve’. You do know he suffers from psychiatric problems, don’t you? And has tried to commit suicide. You can see he has problems from the fact that he interprets my use of the Marxist phrase ‘alien-class ideas’ to mean that I think that the ruling-class are shape-shifting lizards.

But it seems you will take advice from just about anyone…

“If you do your research you’ll know that they are critics of Wittgenstein in the best possible sense.”

I have in fact been ‘researching’ this sort of material since my PhD on Wittgenstein. But even I know that if you are going to criticise an author (or even these un-named Wittgensteinians) you have to quote him/her/them as opposed to quoting only his/her/their critics.

Perhaps this simple point is too difficult for your tiny brain to compute.

“No, I’m criticizing so you for not reading the MOST important expositions about Wittgenstein. Also, I’m criticizing you for being an arrogant piece of software.”

1) And how do you know what I have or haven’t read? Are you psychic? Anyway, why should I read authors who seem to believe that objects and names can infer/imply things, when only sentient beings can do this?

Perhaps objects and names talk to you, too? Care to tell us what they say to you?

2) So you do think I should have written a different article from the one I was commissioned to write? If so, take that up with the editors, not me.

“Go read the books, and drop your ad hominems.”

Oh dear, I see you don’t even know what an ad hominem is:

http://plover.net/~bonds/adhominem.html

Reply

C Derick Varn November 2, 2013 at 3:24 am

Comment Policy #5: Do not post ad hominem attacks, threats, slurs, slander, abuse, or spam.
Racism, sexism, homophobia, and transphobia will not be tolerated.

Both parties are guilty. Stop it.

Reply

Cain S. Pinto November 2, 2013 at 3:33 am

Retracting ad hominems now

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Rosa Lichtenstein November 2, 2013 at 3:42 am

Where?

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Rosa Lichtenstein November 2, 2013 at 3:46 am

This reply of mine seems to have disappeared into the ether:

Cain:

“the Burgess and Burgess quotation isolates the precise problems with Wittgenstenian [sic] philosophy. It is in reference to a strengthened account of Wittgenstein offered by Kripke. If you’d read all the relevant materials about the Analytic aspects of Wittgenstein’s work, you’d know. But, you’re just a
bot.”

I see you have been reading ‘Socialist Steve’. You do know he suffers from psychiatric problems, don’t you? And has tried to commit suicide. You can see he has problems from the fact that he interprets my use of the Marxist phrase ‘alien-class ideas’ to mean that I think that the ruling-class are shape-shifting lizards.

“If you do your research you’ll know that they are critics of Wittgenstein in the best possible sense.”

I have in fact been ‘researching’ this sort of material since my PhD on Wittgenstein. But even I know that if you are going to criticise an author (or even Wittgensteinians themselves) you have to quote him/her/them as opposed to quoting only his/her/their critics.

Perhaps this simple point is too difficult for you?

“No, I’m criticizing so you for not reading the MOST important expositions about Wittgenstein. Also, I’m criticizing you for being an arrogant piece of software.”

1) And how do you know what I have or haven’t read? Are you psychic? Anyway, why should I read authors who seem to believe that objects and names can infer/imply things, when only sentient beings can do this?

2) So you do think I should have written a different article from the one I was commissioned to write? If so, take that up with the editors, not me.

“Go read the books, and drop your ad hominems.”

I see you don’t seem to know what an ad hominem is:

http://plover.net/~bonds/adhominem.html

Reply

Cain S. Pinto November 1, 2013 at 2:32 pm

Wittgensteinians make Wittgenstein say patently absurd things.

Consider the two variants of their claim:
Argument against Philosophical and Logical problems

(1) ‘Truth’ and ‘Meaning’ are either necessary or contingent.
(2) ‘Meaning’ and ‘Truth’ seem not to exist to me, and my colleagues.
(3) So, screw modal logic.
(4) So, ‘Meaning’ and ‘Truth’ do not exist.
(5) Therefore, Philosophical and Logical problems do not exist.

Version 2;

(1) You cannot prove that there is meaning in life.
(2) Therefore, there is no meaning in life.
(3) That’s what life is about.
(4) No philosopher is allowed to write about meaning anymore, just live.

This is so absurd it would not pass muster at an undergraduate philosophy examination.

Reply

Rosa Lichtenstein November 1, 2013 at 5:48 pm

Thanks for that Cain, but I note you have failed to quote a single Wittgensteinian who has, or would, make such stupid claims.

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Cain S. Pinto November 1, 2013 at 10:26 pm

Strawman: An argument that looks like Wittgenstenians would’ve made it, but one you’ll assume they’ve not because it looks incredibly stupid.

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Lacques Jacan November 1, 2013 at 11:44 pm

Mr. Pinto,

wasn’t Dummett himself a Wittgenstenian though?

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Cain S. Pinto November 2, 2013 at 12:03 am

You’re right, he was. But, he wasn’t committed to keeping quite about matters of analytic importance.

Especially the implications of theoretical quietism for the philosophical mathematics, and accordingly, for physics, and the sciences.

Basically, Dummett was definitely the better logician between them, and Kripke and Burgess are still more perspicuous. Also, their handle on mathematical subtleties is very telling about Wittgenstein’s philosophical poverty.

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Rosa Lichtenstein November 2, 2013 at 12:47 am

Cain, but still not quite Able:

“Strawman: An argument that looks like Wittgensteinians would’ve made it, indeed like you’ve already made, but one you’ll assume they’ve not, and you yourself have certainly not, because it makes all of you look incredibly stupid.”

So, you have no evidence, and simply resort to abuse. An admission of defeat in anyone’s book.

Except you posted this:

“But, more seriously, you ought to familiarise yourself with the expositions in:

Hacker, P.M.S. “Wittgenstein’s Place in Twentieth-Century Analytic” Philosophy.

Hacker, P.M.S. “Wittgenstein on Human Nature”.”

I presume you mean P Hacker Human Nature: The Categorical Framework?

So, your sloppy approach to detail appears to have caught you out yet again.

Even so, I note you failed to tell us which page or pages in the books you referenced actually say the rather stupid things you alleged in your first incautious and ill-advised contribution to this thread. And it isn’t hard to see why: Hacker nowhere says such things, and I defy you to show otherwise.

And the same can be said of the other works you listed.

Dummett is/was of course a Fregean, not a Wittgensteinian, but even if he were, I rather doubt you can show where he said such stupid things, too. And I should say the same of Kripke and Brandom.

[But isn’t Kripke’s book entitled ‘Naming
and Necessity’? You naughty boy; detail really isn’t your strong card is it?]

Over to you, then, big mouth, let’s see chapter and verse.

“For detailed guidance in your lucubrations over the above mentioned books of mystical idiot-joy and rapture, and to help you grow out of your Wittgenstenian crudeness and idiocy, read these as well”

I’m sorry, what is a ‘lucubriation’ — and these ‘Wittgenstenians’ sound interesting, are they at like us Wittgensteinians, I wonder?

Reply

Cain S. Pinto November 2, 2013 at 12:59 am

I’m not debating philosophy with some bot which needs page numbers.

“I’m sorry, what is a ‘lucubriation’ — and these ‘Wittgenstenians’
sound interesting, are they at like us Wittgensteinians, I wonder?”

Go do your own research. Incaution, you say: you who run a blog full of drivel and inanities.

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Lacques Jacan November 2, 2013 at 1:45 am

Is her blog that bad?

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Rosa Lichtenstein November 2, 2013 at 2:13 am

I do not have a blog. But, hey, what’s a mere detail to a fantasist like your good self.

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Lacques Jacan November 2, 2013 at 2:37 am

Hm, O.K your blog is an eyesore, and a pile of steaming nonsense. I checked it out now.

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Rosa Lichtenstein November 2, 2013 at 3:09 am

all 2.5 millions words, eh?

Anyway, as I have pointed out to you several times (but you seem to go oddly quiet each time I raise this, can’t think why): in that case you’ll no doubt find it easy to show where I go wrong.

Over to you, smarty pants…

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Cain S. Pinto November 2, 2013 at 2:46 am

Your website is a glorified blog. But, I can’t blame you for your desire to pass it off as a “website”.

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Rosa Lichtenstein November 2, 2013 at 3:10 am

So, in other words, it isn’t a blog.

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Cain S. Pinto November 2, 2013 at 2:45 am

It is.

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Rosa Lichtenstein November 2, 2013 at 3:11 am

Your proof that it is a blog is …er, what?

[Stupid question. You don’t even understand the word ‘proof’!]

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Rosa Lichtenstein November 2, 2013 at 2:12 am

Cain-in-the-neck:

“I’m not debating philosophy with some bot which needs page numbers.”

So, you don’t have any evidence. Fine, at least that is settled.

“Go do your own research. Incaution, you say: you who run a blog full of drivel and inanities.”

I don’t actually run a blog, but we already know that attention to detail isn’t your best point.

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Cain S. Pinto November 2, 2013 at 2:48 am

“So, you don’t have any evidence. Fine, at least that is settled.”

Page numbers have quotations. Arguments are more than quotations. If have to tell you, a grown woman, this on an internet page, you have no business writing stuff about anything.

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Rosa Lichtenstein November 2, 2013 at 3:13 am

Cain-in-the-neck:

Page numbers have quotations. Arguments are more than quotations.”

So, still no evidence, eh?

“If have to tell you, a grown woman, this on an internet page, you have no business writing stuff about anything.”

I’m a woman again now am I?

Is ‘dither’ your middle name, by any chance?

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Cain S. Pinto November 2, 2013 at 3:29 am

Dummet. Truth and Other Enigmas. Wittgenstein’s Philosophy
of Mathematics. P. 166-85.

Kripke. On Rules and Private Language. “The Solution to the Private Language
Argument. P. 55- 110.

Kripke. On Naming and
Necessity. P. 35-63.

Burgess, John & Burgess, Alexis. Truth. “Deflationism”,
and “Indeterminacy”. P. 44- 67.

Burgess. Mathematics, Models and Modality. “Being Explained
Away”. P. 88- 101.

Brandom. Making it Explicit. P. 79-81; 83; 95; 337.

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Rosa Lichtenstein November 2, 2013 at 9:45 pm

Thanks for that — but why the complaint when I asked you to provide this information many posts ago?

Despite this, I have two problems with the list you posted:

1) None of them are Wittgensteinians (although Kripke and Dummett come close).

2) But even if they were, they don’t say the things you alleged of Wittgensteinians in general in your original post.

So, we are still waiting for substantiation for the things you alleged against them.

Cain S. Pinto November 1, 2013 at 11:35 pm

Help yourself:

Dummett. Truth and Other Enigmas. Wittgenstein’s Philosophy
of Mathematics. P. 166-85.

Kripke. On Rules and Private Language. “The Solution to the Private Language
Argument. P. 55- 110.

Kripke. On Naming and
Necessity. P. 35-63.

Burgess, John & Burgess, Alexis. Truth. “Deflationism”,
and “Indeterminacy”. P. 44- 67.

Burgess. Mathematics, Models and Modality. “Being Explained
Away”. P. 88- 101.

Brandom. Making it Explicit. P. 79-81; 83; 95; 337.

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Cain S. Pinto November 2, 2013 at 1:04 am

“Over to you, then, big mouth, let’s see chapter and verse.”

We aren’t talking about little redbooks, or a hymnal. Read the books, interpret them, and then make your argument. Page numbers and quotations are NOT arguments.

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Rosa Lichtenstein November 2, 2013 at 2:15 am

Cain, and no obviously incapable;

“Read the books, interpret them, and then make your argument. Page numbers and quotations are NOT arguments.”

So, you still have nothing to back up the incautious things you alleged in your opening post?

No big surprise there, then.

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Cain S. Pinto November 2, 2013 at 2:49 am

“So, you still have nothing to back up the incautious things you alleged in your opening post?

No big surprise there, then.”

The big surprise is your persistent temerity is asserting counterassertions without ANY inkling of what the substance of the books I referred you to are.

I do not surf the internet to cure you of your ignorance, perhaps, Dr. Lacan would mentor you, may be you should ask him?

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Cain S. Pinto November 2, 2013 at 3:16 am

Here you go you :

Dummet. Truth and Other Enigmas. Wittgenstein’s Philosophy
of Mathematics. P. 166-85.

Kripke. On Rules and Private Language. “The Solution to the Private Language
Argument. P. 55- 110.

Kripke. On Naming and
Necessity. P. 35-63.

Burgess, John & Burgess, Alexis. Truth. “Deflationism”,
and “Indeterminacy”. P. 44- 67.

Burgess. Mathematics, Models and Modality. “Being Explained
Away”. P. 88- 101.

Brandom. Making it Explicit. P. 79-81; 83; 95; 337.

Now, that I have the AUTHORITY of page numbers, let me go ahead and call you a stupid hag.

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Lacques Jacan November 2, 2013 at 1:43 am

“Dummett is/was of course a Fregean, not a Wittgensteinian, but even if he were, I rather doubt you can show where he said such stupid things, too. And I should say the same of Kripke and Brandom.”

Mrs. Lichtenstein, surely you don’t mean that all criticisms of Wittgenstein must come from Wittgenstenians? I have never heard something so myopic ever, and I work part time at an optometrist’s shop!

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Lacques Jacan November 2, 2013 at 1:44 am

Brandom’s whole work seems to me to be a demonstration of what Analytic philosophy can achieve if only old mystic Wittgenstein is put to rest. Your reproof seems lacking in substance. What good are page numbers? Could you not read the relevant materials yourself?

Reply

Rosa Lichtenstein November 2, 2013 at 2:17 am

Why are you responding to yourself?

Reply

Lacques Jacan November 2, 2013 at 2:32 am

I’m responding to your inadequate responses to others.

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Rosa Lichtenstein November 2, 2013 at 3:15 am

But, the text above the answer to which I was referring tells us that you are responding to yourself.

Do, you even know what day of the week it is?

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Lacques Jacan November 2, 2013 at 2:38 am

Can’t people cross-post? Too much for you to handle, you special little gem?

Reply

Rosa Lichtenstein November 2, 2013 at 3:18 am

Are you ‘people’ now?

And what is that called?

Oh yes, Multiple Personality/ Dissociative Identity Disorder.

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Cain S. Pinto November 2, 2013 at 2:50 am

Hmm, it seems Mr. Jacan has already spoken about what Brandom and Dumment have to do with Wittgenstein. I’ll leave it at that. You should do your own homework.

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Rosa Lichtenstein November 2, 2013 at 3:22 am

In fact, he asserted several things, but neglected to provide page references, or even quotations.

Now, you might think this sufficient, but that fact alone disqualifies you from passing an informed comment.

Reply

Cain S. Pinto November 2, 2013 at 2:53 am

Hmm, it seems Mr. Jacan has
already spoken about what Brandom and Dumment have to do with
Wittgenstein. I’ll leave it at that. You should do your own homework.

Reply

Rosa Lichtenstein November 2, 2013 at 3:23 am

In fact, as I told ‘guest’ — your alter ego — he asserted several things, but neglected to provide page references, or even quotations.

Now, you might think this sufficient, but that fact alone disqualifies you from passing an informed comment.

Reply

Rosa Lichtenstein November 2, 2013 at 2:16 am

No, just those who seem to know what they are talking about — which leaves you lot out.

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Lacques Jacan November 2, 2013 at 2:33 am

I’m suspecting Cain has the better end of the stick here. But, trust me if it was in my hand, I’d spank you into submission at this point.

Reply

Rosa Lichtenstein November 2, 2013 at 3:24 am

Yes, threats of violence against women seems to be your only strong point.

Phew, what a guy… eh girls?

Reply

C Derick Varn November 2, 2013 at 3:35 am

Do not post ad hominem attacks, threats, slurs, slander, abuse, or spam.
Racism, sexism, homophobia, and transphobia will not be tolerated.

Reply

Lacques Jacan November 1, 2013 at 11:42 pm

Meme. Lichtenstein,
it seems evident enough that Mr. Pinto is pissing on your reading at large. And, I cannot say I don’t see his point.

You’re interpretation of Wittgenstein is way off.

However, from your work at anti-dialectics, and your faux-scholarly article here, it seems that not only do you have ideological glasses on but also that you lack reading comprehension. And, from your comments to Prof. Kilman above, you also lack basic human shame and decency.

[Manners are important: For your failing in that last department, if I ever take over your Socialist Revolution, I will have you whipped daily, to teach you how to talk to men who seem to know their shit].

Reply

Cain S. Pinto November 2, 2013 at 12:04 am

Haha, you sir, are awesome.

Where angels fear to tread, you will have me urinate.

Reply

Rosa Lichtenstein November 2, 2013 at 1:01 am

Lacking:

“You’re interpretation of Wittgenstein is way off.”

And your evidence for this is what? Still invisible? Still lacking?

“However, from your work at anti-dialectics, and your faux-scholarly article here, it seems that not only do you have ideological glasses on but also that you lack reading comprehension. And, from your comments to Prof. Kilman above, you also lack basic human shame and decency.”

1) So, you think it ‘decent’ for him to accuse me of being ‘evil’, eh?

2) You are not to know that in an e-mail exchange with me a few years back he told me to “Eat sh*t and die!”. The only reason for this abusive tantrum: I had the temerity to ask him to explain what a ‘dialectical contradiction’ was, which he couldn’t do back then either.

“However, from your work at anti-dialectics, and your faux-scholarly article here, it seems that not only do you have ideological glasses on but also that you lack reading comprehension.”

In which case, you should find it easy to show where I go wrong, shouldn’t you?
[Ha, some hope!]

“Manners are important: For your failing in that last department, if I ever take over your Socialist Revolution, I will have you whipped daily, to teach you how to talk to men who seem to know their shit”
Yes, you are a shining example to us all in questions of manners: threatening violence to anyone who questions the Right Honourable Kliman and his incapacity to defend a core idea he relies upon.
Your Righteousness and Consistency shame us all…

Reply

Cain S. Pinto November 2, 2013 at 1:11 am

You’re full of shit, Lichtenstein.

Reply

Rosa Lichtenstein November 2, 2013 at 2:19 am

I do my best, but I still can’t quite achieve your awe-inspiring level in this regard, try as much as I might.

Reply

Lacques Jacan November 2, 2013 at 2:34 am

^Need some laxatives, I’m a doctor. I can prescribe.

Reply

Rosa Lichtenstein November 2, 2013 at 3:35 am

Seems you might already have taken too much of that stuff yourself.

Reply

Lacques Jacan November 2, 2013 at 1:49 am

“Yes, you are a shining example to the world in questions of manners: threatening violence to anyone who questions the Right Honourable Kliman and his incapacity to defend a core idea he relies upon.”

Surely, I will whip your little bitch-ass into conformity with will of the Name of the Father, more precisely, the nome de pere; both for shooting off accusations, demanding page numbers, and being in general an unpleasant wench.

2) You are not to know that in an e-mail exchange with me a few years back he told me to “Eat sh*t and die!”. The only reason for this abusive tantrum: I had the temerity to ask him to explain what a ‘dialectical contradiction’ was, which he couldn’t do back then either”.

Why did you not listen to Prof. Kilman? All is not lost I say, go do his bidding.

Reply

Rosa Lichtenstein November 2, 2013 at 2:21 am

You seem to be losing it.

Is all this difficult stuff a little too much for the few brains cells left in that yawning gap between your ears after the rest were nuked by reading too much Hegel?

Reply

Lacques Jacan November 2, 2013 at 2:35 am

“Is all this difficult stuff a little too much for the few brains
cells left in that yawning gap between your ears after the rest were nuked by reading too much Hegel?”

You flatter yourself if you’re calling your work too much, you’re insulting everyone if you think you’re smarter than Hegel.

Reply

Cain S. Pinto November 2, 2013 at 2:53 am

“Is all this difficult stuff a little too much for the few brains cells
left in that yawning gap between your ears after the rest were nuked by
reading too much Hegel?”

I think your imagination is getting the better of you. Do you also hear the Internationale being sung in unison by a thousand comrades?

Reply

Rosa Lichtenstein November 2, 2013 at 3:25 am

No, but I suspect you do.

Reply

Andrew Kliman November 2, 2013 at 7:59 pm

The allegation made against me in Point 2 here is false. “Rosa Lichtenstein” KNOWS it’s false. But doesn’t care, and continues to falsely allege it, owing to a lack of integrity.

Here are the most relevant parts of the e-mail exchanges:

On 1 June 2013 07:39, Drewk wrote:

“Thanks for that Andrew, but didn’t you tell me to ‘eat sh*t and die’?” [quoting RL]

I clearly didn’t. “If you fail to give a straight and satisfactory answer, you should write an abject apology to me regarding your FALSE ALLEGATION, and authorize me to publish it on revleft. Or EAT SHIT AND DIE.” [quoting myself] There are 3 alternatives here. Notice the “or.” “It’s people like you who should be made to drink hemlock, or EAT SHIT, and die.” [quoting myself] There are 2 alternatives here, notice the “or” again, and it’s not exactly about you, but about “people like you.” If you prefer to drink hemlock, I have no objection.

The record below speaks for itself regarding the falsity of your claim, in response to my question, “What did you do that deserved a response like eat sh*t and die?,” that what you did to deserve this was that “I dared to question the sacred dialectic.” The problem is not that, but the facts that you’re evil, you don’t give straight answers, you made an unsubstantiated
allegation, in public, that I had not read Herr Vogt, and you failed to write an abject apology to me regarding your FALSE ALLEGATION, and to authorize me to publish it on revleft.

The alternatives remain.

Date: Sat, 1 Jun 2013 10:01:07 +0100
Subject: Re: social relations
only exist among human beings to the extent that they think, and possess this power of abstraction from sensuous individuality and contingency
From: [email protected]
To: [email protected]

Maybe so, but Hegel can teach us absolutely nothing about them (upside down or ‘the right way up).

R!

Reply

sartesian November 1, 2013 at 10:41 pm

“He linked philosophical criticism with political criticism — in direct contradiction to the idea that he thought philosophy should ‘leave everything as it is’.”

What makes that a “contradiction”? Obviously there’s no contradiction there. So why are you using the term? Convenience? Philosophical criticism and political criticism, linked, connected, in tandem, separate and apart, have left things exactly as they are for extended periods of time. As a matter of fact when has philosophical criticism NOT left the material world, social reproduction, that is to say the reproduction of humans as social beings, exactly as it is?

How can Wittgenstein’s philosophical “ideas” be “appropriated by revolutionaries” when at the same time it is being argued that all philosophy is just religion transposed into thought?

And, of equal importance, if there are ideas to be appropriated by revolutionaries– how are these ideas connected to the actual content of capitalism and the forces immanent to capitalism that can lead to its abolition?

Reply

Cain S. Pinto November 1, 2013 at 11:19 pm

Sartresian,

you have very rightly pointed out:

“Philosophical criticism and political criticism, linked, connected, in
tandem, separate and apart, have left things exactly as they are for
extended periods of time.”

This trend can be traced back to the increasing influence of the work of Wittgenstein in particular, and the British philosophers of natural language under his spell.

They collectively made it difficult for meaningful discussions about what values are, and what modern society ought to strive for to take root in philosophy at large. Their increasing influence also poisoned educational philosophy, where the emphasis on logic, ethics, and literature, was underplayed in favour of a more industry-ready approach to education (See Blake, Nigel; Smeyers, Paul; Smith, Richard, & Standish, Paul, Eds. (2003). The Blackwell Guide to the Philosophy of Education. Malden, MA: Blackwell Publishers Ltd.)

They quite simply assumed that things are what they are called, thereby making it nearly meaningless to call out and analyse injustice, corruption, unrestricted accumulation of wealth, and the many malaises of Capitalism, under appropriately rigorous analytic notions.

Now we are left with an incoherent Wittgensteinian Left and their many incompatible vocabularies jibbering about sweet fuck-all; all in another days paid work for Wittgensteinian-mystic-quietist-Revolutionary philosophers.

Reply

Lacques Jacan November 1, 2013 at 11:45 pm

Mr. Pinto,
it is very interesting to know that Wittgenstein may have had any part to play in the educational philosophy of industry-ready curricula!

I will certainly look into this aspect, it seems like a deep rift between his mysticism and modern Capitalist jouissance is here situated.

Thanks.

Reply

Cain S. Pinto November 2, 2013 at 12:05 am

Psychoanalysis doesn’t mean shit. At least from a political point of view. ;)

Reply

Briefbras Côme November 2, 2013 at 12:19 am

Psychoanalysis has a lot of emancipatory libido. I must disagree with you.

Reply

Briefbras Côme November 2, 2013 at 12:20 am

That seems like a very promising line of investigation Dr. Jacan.

Reply

Lacques Jacan November 2, 2013 at 1:50 am

Thanks. And yes Psychoanalysis is VITAL to the socialist revolution.

Reply

Rosa Lichtenstein November 2, 2013 at 1:21 am

What ‘mysticism’?

And Mr Pinto has no evidence at all for this, but it seems you are happy to believe any old rubbish, so long as it maligns Wittgenstein:

“it is very interesting to know that Wittgenstein may have had any part to play in the educational philosophy of industry-ready curricula!”

Reply

Cain S. Pinto November 2, 2013 at 1:24 am

Why don’t you do yourself the favour, go read the book which I’ve referred to?

Reply

Rosa Lichtenstein November 2, 2013 at 2:22 am

How do you know I haven’t?

Reply

Cain S. Pinto November 2, 2013 at 3:18 am

Your interpretation of Wittgenstein speaks volumes about what you Haven’t read.

Reply

Rosa Lichtenstein November 2, 2013 at 3:26 am

Yes I seem to have read nearly as little as you.

Reply

Cain S. Pinto November 2, 2013 at 1:25 am

Mysticism is Wittgenstein’s philosophy.

Reply

Rosa Lichtenstein November 2, 2013 at 2:22 am

And your proof is what?

Oh, sorry — you don’t do proof.

Reply

Cain S. Pinto November 2, 2013 at 3:19 am

Dummet. Truth and Other Enigmas. Wittgenstein’s Philosophy
of Mathematics. P. 166-85.

Kripke. On Rules and Private Language. “The Solution to the Private Language
Argument. P. 55- 110.

Kripke. On Naming and
Necessity. P. 35-63.

Burgess, John & Burgess, Alexis. Truth. “Deflationism”,
and “Indeterminacy”. P. 44- 67.

Burgess. Mathematics, Models and Modality. “Being Explained
Away”. P. 88- 101.

Brandom. Making it Explicit. P. 79-81; 83; 95; 337.

Reply

Rosa Lichtenstein November 2, 2013 at 1:19 am

Cain, and now quite Incapable:

“They quite simply assumed that things are what they are called, thereby making it nearly meaningless to call out and analyse injustice, corruption, unrestricted accumulation of wealth, and the many malaises of Capitalism, under appropriately rigorous analytic notions.”

Who is this ‘they’? And where did any of them do this: “assumed that things are what they are called”?

“Now we are left with an incoherent Wittgensteinian Left and their many incompatible vocabularies jibbering about sweet fuck-all; all in another days paid work for Wittgensteinian-mystic-quietist-Revolutionary philosophers.”

[Oh! So emotional and irrational!]

And this technical term, drawn from your own brand or irascible philosophy — “fuck-all’ — means what?

Reply

Cain S. Pinto November 2, 2013 at 1:22 am

Fuck-all means all that your website “Anti-dialectics” stands for.

“Who is this ‘they’? And where did any of them do this: “assumed that things are what they are called”?”

Wittgenstein, Dearden, Hirst, Peters. I could go on. But your a fucking imbecile bot, and I can’t be bothered.

Reply

Rosa Lichtenstein November 2, 2013 at 2:25 am

Wittgenstein had nothing to do with education policy, and I defy you to show otherwise.

But, we know how you will respond, you’ll quote someone else as proof that he did.

Like I am sure you’d quote Hayek as proof of what Marx had to say.

Reply

Cain S. Pinto November 2, 2013 at 3:21 am

“Wittgenstein had nothing to do with education policy, and I defy you to show otherwise.”

O.K.,

Now, bend over and let daddy show you:

Read the entire introduction:: Blake, Nigel; Smeyers, Paul; Smith, Richard, & Standish, Paul,
Eds. (2003). The Blackwell Guide to the Philosophy of Education. Malden,
MA: Blackwell Publishers Ltd. PP. 1- 17.

Reply

Rosa Lichtenstein November 2, 2013 at 1:14 am

Sartesian:

“What makes that a “contradiction”? Obviously there’s no contradiction there. So why are you using the term? Convenience?

Obviously you have never heard of ellipsis. Do I need to explain that to you as well?

“Philosophical criticism and political criticism, linked, connected, in tandem, separate and apart, have left things exactly as they are for extended periods of time. As a matter of fact when has philosophical criticism NOT left the material world, social reproduction, that is to say the reproduction of humans as social beings, exactly as it is?”

Your point being?

“How can Wittgenstein’s philosophical “ideas” be “appropriated by revolutionaries” when at the same time it is being argued that all philosophy is just religion transposed into thought?”

You clearly failed to read this:

“One might say that the subject we are dealing with is one of the heirs of the subject which used to be called ‘philosophy.'”

If you need me to hold your hand and explain these simple ideas to you, too, you only have to ask really nicely.

“And, of equal importance, if there are ideas to be appropriated by revolutionaries– how are these ideas connected to the actual content of capitalism and the forces immanent to capitalism that can lead to its abolition?”
You’ll just have to wait for the sequel, won’t you? Or do you expect me to post a 4000 word essay in one of these comment boxes?

Reply

Cain S. Pinto November 2, 2013 at 1:18 am

Just go home and delete your blog.

Reply

Lacques Jacan November 2, 2013 at 2:06 am

o.k I’ve seen her blog. It is an evil misuse of the internet.

Reply

Rosa Lichtenstein November 2, 2013 at 3:38 am

Why is your looking at my site an “evil misuse of the internet”?

This is a rather honest admission on your part!

Reply

Rosa Lichtenstein November 2, 2013 at 2:26 am

Can’t, since I don’t have a blog.

Reply

Briefbras Côme November 2, 2013 at 12:30 am

Rosa,
I’ll have to say you’re one thorny person. Your article seems thick in impressionistic sketches about the alleged revolutionary power of Wittgenstein’s philosophy, but it seems to lack argumentation altogether.
And what teeth your article lacks you seem to brandish at innocent commentators who are merely responding to your high-flown nonsense.

Quotations of what Wittgenstein thought, and what others thought about it, are not arguments for his position. That much is elementary, dear Rosa.

Perhaps, you must be talking about Hegel’s eminently revolutionary philosophy which raises the pertinent question of contradiction between terms on one hand and concepts that have currency in society on the other? Like when you say ” philosophy “leaves everything as it is”, because that’s Hegel’s position.

So, he leaves all philosophy to the task of interpretation, while revolutionaries are characterized as doers. Thus, the doers are Masters and scholars and philosophers are Slaves. Thought has no place in revolution, At least not any important place.

Of course, one can expect they have their uses in finding novel ways for keeping account of bullets and costs to life and property in the wake of revolutionary violence.
Philosophy thinks, revolutionaries burn books and the like.

You could benefit from reading some Hegel. Everyone could benefit from reading some Hegel, so it’s not all you’re fault you’re such a philosophical wreck; at least, you are not alone.

Reply

Rosa Lichtenstein November 1, 2013 at 9:38 pm

BC:

“I’ll have to say you’re one thorny person. Your article seems thick in impressionistic sketches about the alleged revolutionary power of Wittgenstein’s philosophy, but it seems to lack argumentation altogether.”

1) Check out the full article, and then get back to me:

http://anti-dialectics.co.uk/was_wittgenstein_a_leftist.htm

2) Yes. I am very ‘thorny’; I get abuse like this from those on the left all the time, but, I give as good as I get, often worse. My ‘critics’ then abuse me even more for defending myself! Like many men on the left, they expect their women to take it lying down, and then to shut up.

Not me, sunshine.

“Quotations of what Wittgenstein thought, and what others thought about it, are not arguments for his position. That much is elementary, dear Rosa.”

May I remind you that my aim in this article was simply to refute the idea that Wittgenstein was a conservative mystic, that is all. I even said this at the beginning. In your haste to malign me, did you miss it? I wasn’t trying to summarise ‘his position’

So, don’t tell me that what he had to say has nothing to do with this.

“Perhaps, you must be talking about Hegel’s eminently revolutionary philosophy which raises the pertinent question of contradiction between terms on one hand and concepts that have currency in society on the other? Like when you say ” philosophy “leaves everything as it is”, because that’s Hegel’s position.”

1) Except no one seems to be able to explain what these ‘contradictions’ are, or whether they really are ‘contradictions, to begin with.

2) In fact, Hegel’s ideas are far too confused for anyone to be able to tell what the hell he was on about.

“You could benefit from reading some Hegel. Everyone could benefit from reading some Hegel, so it’s not all you’re fault you’re such a philosophical wreck; at least, you are not alone.”

I have lost count of the number of times I have been told this. In fact, I have been studying Hegel since the late 1970s, and trying to make some sense out of him.

No luck so far.

“so it’s not all you’re fault you’re such a philosophical wreck”

Assertion is easy; proof is a little more difficult.

I defy you to show me where I go wrong.

Reply

Rosa Lichtenstein November 3, 2013 at 12:11 am

My response to Cain’s post seems to have been lost, too (this can’t be because I have posted what might seem to be similar things already, since I have not responded to Cain’s latest ‘evidence’, and anyway, Cain has two identical posts on the same subject!).
——————————

Thanks for that — but why the complaint when I asked you to provide this information many posts ago?

However, I have two problems with the list you posted:

1) None of them are Wittgensteinians (although Kripke and Dummett come close).

2) But even if they were, they don’t say the things you alleged of
Wittgensteinians in general in your original post.

So, we are still waiting for substantiation for the things you alleged against them.

Reply

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Lacques Jacan November 2, 2013 at 2:27 am

Sexism, you’re a computer program, aren’t you? Everyone knows this. You’re not a person.

Reply

Cain S. Pinto November 2, 2013 at 2:42 am

Dr. Jacan, I’ve read that he’s actually he’s a man who prefers to go by a pseudonym because that way it’s easier to be full of shit and live with it.

Reply

Rosa Lichtenstein November 2, 2013 at 2:50 am

Yes, yes, dear, now drink your Horlicks, and off to bed with you.
You are up way beyond beddy-byes time.

Reply

Rosa Lichtenstein November 2, 2013 at 3:29 am

I see you too have been listening to Socialist Steve.

But, let us suppose I am a computer programme, it must really be galling for you to be roundly defeated by software.

Reply

Rosa Lichtenstein November 2, 2013 at 2:53 am

And where did you get that information from? The same source that told you what those un-named and still un-quoted Wittgensteinians had said?

We already know how ‘reliable’ you are.

Reply

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