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Ludwig Wittgenstein: The Duty of Genius

af Ray Monk

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Om den østrigske filosof Ludwig Wittgenstein (1889-1951), hans liv og hans filosofi.
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100 MON 1
  luvucenanzo06 | Sep 8, 2023 |
I believe this biography helped me understand what Wittgenstein was up to more than anything else I've read about him. Not many thinkers have propounded one set of ideas, then stopped, reconsidered, then came back with a new way of looking at philosophy. ( )
  mykl-s | Aug 11, 2023 |
Why read books about great thinkers? Why not try and read what these "great thinkers" have written? Or maybe read both...?

Because a lot of times the context is just as interesting and sometimes more interesting than just the ideas standing alone. Origin of Species is well worth the read, but no one can argue it isn’t more interesting in context, from Malthus and Lyell to Wallace to Spencer, as well as a consideration of the very good challenges to Darwin’s theory of natural selection thrown up by both exiled Russian biologists and amateur women naturalists in the United States.

And biographies remind us that works of ideas and works of art are made by actual individual human beings, rather than being an agglomeration of “texts”, with the human agency of their existence being disregarded as at best an irrelevance. This kind of reductive approach has had a good innings, but I have never subscribed to it. I follow the line taken by – among many others – the American poet Robert Duncan, who said, “I in no way believe that there is such a thing as ‘just language’, any more than there is ‘just footprints’. I mean, it is human life that prints itself everywhere in it and that’s what we read when we’re really reading.” On this view, the literary theoreticians who viewed language as a structure that preceded, and even superseded, the individual subject, were getting it precisely backwards.

A roundabout way of saying that no matter how elevated the subject of a biography, I always start with the index to find out who they were sleeping with and what they liked doing on their days off. I wouldn't otherwise have known that, for example, Wittgenstein spent many afternoons sitting in the very front row of the cinema watching westerns and sometimes eating fish and chips.

There I go thinking inside and outside 'the box' all at once again. If one were a neurally integrated octopus, one's box would do the pondering perhaps, from the murky depths within! Using the mind to think about the mind... contaminates the process from the beginning, doesn't it? It inserts the end of the experiment in the procedure.' A great book from a fine mind. You've never steered me wrong!

Sorry, went just a touch over the top above; it's my nature when seriously engaged in a thing I can go too far. Far too far, my innate enthusiasm takes over, and my normally rather downbeat personality gets limitless energy and drive. Add in "autistic powers" of concentration and no disability gets in my way, it helps to be a touch crazy. My eyes do hate me of course, but I am fed up with them as well. Limitations are merely challenges, and difficulty does not mean a thing cannot be overcome.

Off to float on fluffy clouds, cher, good night. ( )
  antao | May 30, 2021 |
This book is a sober account of a person who had a charismatic pull over many of the people that he influenced. I was interested in reading this biography to see how a philosopher's decisions in life may compare to his professed philosophical ideas. Two turning points in W's life appear to be his displays of physical courage during the First War and the later renunciation of his large inheritance. Both these factors may have assisted him in taking a spiritual path rather than a purely philosophical path.

I was impressed at the extent to which other philosophers helped and encouraged him when he could be so dismissive of their endeavors. At times I slightly wished that the author would talk about his own relationship with W's ideas. However this would be to the detriment of an even handed treatment of a complicated subject. My favourite line of Wittgenstein's quoted in the book was, "...keeping magic out has itself the character of magic".
  Bmortime | Jan 26, 2014 |
I found the going a little too long and just not worth my time, although the book gets high marks from most anybody I know and respect who have actually read it, or said they did. ( )
  MSarki | Mar 31, 2013 |
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This is a wholly admirable biography. It is not easy to combine a continuous and intelligible story of a man’s life with a succinct account of his changing philosophical doctrines. Ray Monk succeeds both with the life and with the doctrines and he is the first person to make entirely clear the substantial interaction between them
 

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Gerschenfeld, AbelOversættermedforfatternogle udgaverbekræftet
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Logic and ethics are fundamentally the same, they are no more than duty to oneself.
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The figure of Ludwig Wittgenstein exerts a very special fascination that is not wholly explained by the enormous influence he has had on the development of philosophy this century.
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Om den østrigske filosof Ludwig Wittgenstein (1889-1951), hans liv og hans filosofi.

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