Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Philosophical Tribulations

From Wittgenstein Forum: a satire on Philosophical Investigations. This is not Jerry Fodor's parody, but another one. (Interestingly, in both parodies some actual Wittgensteinian points survive their parodic form.) Here's a good bit:
24. Suppose I intend to shoot someone. I tell him, “Stand over there.” Then I raise the gun and take aim. Now he says, “I say there. Hang on. What are you up to?” I want to say, “You stupid git! What part of ‘stand over there’ don’t you understand? Now get over there and shut up!” The hardness of the logical must.
And of course I appreciate §33 as well.

The parodist is one Flash qFiasco, whose remarkable name is familiar to me from his tangle with Douglas Hofstadter in the latter's Metamagical Themas. Unfortunately, I no longer remember what it was about, or who was right. Check out his site, which has some other funnies and some "serious" stuff as well, including reviews of Wittgenstein literature. Here's his take on Philosophical Occasions, published (yes, under that odd moniker) in International Journal of Philos. Studies, Sept. 1995:
The editors apparently hold the opinion that having the entire Nachlass to hand in a definitive edition will solve the problems of interpretation. I disagree. The Nachlass consists of over 120 notebooks, manuscripts, and typescripts, comprising nearly 30,000 pages in all (’scribble, scribble, scribble, eh, Mr. Wittgenstein?’). Springer Verlag of Vienna is undertaking the monumental task of publishing a definitive edition, in German and English. They foresee the publication of two to five volumes per year; the first 15 volumes will cover only the years 1929 to 1933 of Wittgenstein’s hand-written notebooks. I submit that, even after the Springer Verlag edition is completed, no one in his right mind is going to read the whole thing in order to unravel the ’final interpretation’ of Wittgenstein’s philosophy.
Hard to disagree with that.

1 comment:

Daniel said...

I wonder if the Wittgenstein quotes he claims to have heard via Anscombe are accurate? It'd be a shame if "Kant doesn't have a bad style, but a mad style" was a fake. Though Wittgenstein is hardly one to throw stones, when it comes to the topic of style.