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[Wittrs] Strathern's Ignorance of Who Wittgenstein Was [message #5606] Sun, 03 October 2010 02:04 Go to next message
Sean Wilson is currently offline  Sean Wilson
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I found this very tiny book by Paul Strathern the other day, behind a bunch of garbage (and on the floor) in a storage place in my abode. Don't know how long it's been in my company - best guess, 10 years. The book is "Wittgenstein in 90 Minutes," a popular series that features different philosophers. Don't know why I bothered to peruse through it anew -- it's old and for beginners. And I generally am hostile toward these little summaries.

Unfortunately, what I found really made me see why these dingbats shouldn't be allowed to write about anything other than movies. There is this pitiful treatment of Wittgenstein's life that Strathern sticks at the close of the book. It's so poor that it is laughable that this moron received the contract for the book. Don't know which of its sins are more central: stupidity or ignorance of a proper biographical understanding of Wittgenstein's complicated life and tempestuous intellect. Monk's biography was in print at the time this bozo was vomiting his last few pages.

An ordinary mind reading a genus really has the only option of showing what aspect of the Beethoven the former has learned to behold (and repeat). Short of that, one might as well have Aunt Bee write the last pages of the book.

Anyway, here tis:

=========================================
[Comes directly from pages 67-70. Allcaps for italics. Quotes in the text are to Culture and Value -- sw]

In Culture and Value, Wittgenstein reflects on a wider range of topics beyond the realms of logic and logical philosophy. Here he reveals many of the traits that made him such a difficult customer in everyday life:

"The reason why I cannot understand Shakespeare is that I want to find symmetry in all this asymmetry. ... His pieces give an impression as of enormous SKETCHES rather than of paintings; as though they had been DASHED OFF by someone who can permit himself ANYTHING. ... Anyone who admires them as one admires, say, Beethoven, seems to me to misunderstand Shakespeare."

The arrogance of this remark speaks for itself. And how anyone who doesn't understand Shakespeare (and so aptly demonstrates this) can claim that those who do understand Shakespeare misunderstands him, can be clear only to a master logician. Alas Wittgenstein never encountered the schoolmaster who once said to me, "I'd like to hear your opinion on this piece of Beethoven. And remember, it is not Beethoven who is being examined here."

When judging another great artist, Wittgenstein reveals a trait that constantly recurred in his dealings with others:

"If it is true that Mahler's music is worthless, as I believe to be the case, then the question is what I think he ought to have done with his talent. ... Should he, say, have written his symphonies and then burned them? Or should he have done violence to himself and not written them? Should he have written them and realized that they were worthless? But how could he have realized that? I can see it, because I can compare his music with what the great composers wrote. But HE could not, because ... his nature is not that of other great composers."

Such remarks would be laughable if Wittgenstein had not put them into practice. He had a nasty habit of interfering drastically in the lives of those around him. He browbeat his friend Skinner into abandoning a brilliant academic career and becoming a factory hand. Someone who sought advice about becoming a surgeon in the Royal Army Medical Corps was told he should volunteer for the front as a private. While at Cambridge, Wittgenstein also spent considerable effort trying to persuade the leading literary critic F. R. Leavis that he was not suited to the study of English literature and should give it up. This from the man who admitted that he didn't understand Shakespeare.

=========================================
Yours disgusted by an idiot,

Dr. Sean Wilson, Esq.
Assistant Professor
Wright State University
Personal Website: http://seanwilson.org
(Subscribe: http://ludwig.squarespace.com/sworg-subscribe/ ) SSRN papers: http://ssrn.com/author=596860
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[Wittrs] Re: Strathern's Ignorance of Who Wittgenstein Was [message #5607 is a reply to message #5606] Sun, 03 October 2010 02:32 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Sean Wilson is currently offline  Sean Wilson
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... oh God, this guy's such an idiot! There is no way that I have ever read this book before. It must have been God himself who put it where I found it. This book is either the dumbest account of Wittgenstein I have ever read or it is a "hit job." I'm now wondering if the 90 Minute people actually had someone else have to write the Wittgenstein contribution after this guy did it. I'd be shocked if this were the only one available. I'm tempted to write the publisher if these editions are still being sold.

Check this out (I could list many, many more like this):

"In comparison to the Tractatus, Wittgenstein's Philosophical Investigations is a bitter disappointment." (p.51)

He treats the Investigations as a footnote in Wittgenstein's body of work! He also apparently believes that Wittgenstein's clash with Turing over contradictions in mathematics was premised around Wittgenstein's defense of the primacy of logic and math! (p.48). The fool doesn't understand the first thing about Wittgenstein post 1930 or 32.

Oh God. What a dunce. lol.

Dr. Sean Wilson, Esq.
Assistant Professor
Wright State University
Personal Website: http://seanwilson.org
(Subscribe: http://ludwig.squarespace.com/sworg-subscribe/ ) SSRN papers: http://ssrn.com/author=596860
New Discussion Groups! http://ludwig.squarespace.com/discussionfora/



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[Wittrs] Re: Strathern's Ignorance of Who Wittgenstein Was [message #5608 is a reply to message #5606] Sun, 03 October 2010 10:24 Go to previous messageGo to next message
walto is currently offline  walto
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--- In Wittrs@yahoogroups.com, Sean Wilson <whoooo26505@...> wrote: >
one might as well have Aunt Bee write the last pages of the book. >

That's "Aunt Bea" (though I believe there's a Captain Beefheart song "Aunt Man Bee"). It's short for "Beatrice."

I suppose, this being Mayberry, "Aint Bea" would also be OK.

W

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[Wittrs] Re: Strathern's Ignorance of Who Wittgenstein Was [message #5609 is a reply to message #5607] Sun, 03 October 2010 14:03 Go to previous messageGo to next message
Sean Wilson is currently offline  Sean Wilson
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...uugh! He appears to have written ALL the 90-minute books.
SW



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[Wittrs] Re: Strathern's Ignorance of Who Wittgenstein Was [message #5610 is a reply to message #5608] Sun, 03 October 2010 21:25 Go to previous messageGo to next message
walto is currently offline  walto
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--- In Wittrs@yahoogroups.com, "walto" <wittrsamr@...> wrote: >
> " (though I believe there's a Captain Beefheart song "Aunt Man Bee").


It's "Ant Man Bee" really.

W

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Re: [Wittrs] Re: Strathern's Ignorance of Who Wittgenstein Was [message #5612 is a reply to message #5610] Mon, 04 October 2010 20:53 Go to previous messageGo to next message
RetroDeathRow is currently offline  RetroDeathRow
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LW's review of Coffrey's THE SCIENCE OF LOGIC is an example of a review that does not grade something on its own merits, but the whole vast history of the works of mankind. There are a gazillion things written about LW, but the only ones that I think are worth a darn are RECOLLECTIONS OF WITTGENSTEIN and Malcolm and Wright's memoirs (THE DUTY OF GENIUS was quite nice for its journalistic endeavors; a valuable source of information).

Academic criticism is to grade-something-on-its-own-merits, and of course this is complete rubbish. Such analysis is ahistorical in nature. I am sure there is more to be said on the issue, but the post I have been working on for a while is about analysis and criticism, among other things.

Cheers Sean,
John O


He had a wonderful life.
[Wittrs] Re: Re: Strathern's Ignorance of Who Wittgenstein Was [message #5627 is a reply to message #5609] Thu, 07 October 2010 05:34 Go to previous messageGo to next message
robdev is currently offline  robdev
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Was given the book as a cast-off by a young guy some years back... The most woeful, pathetic drivel ever published on LW ... not only ever published,
ever penned ... because I have been trolling the philosophical by-ways of the
internet for 20 years, and nothing, nothing I have ever come across, by even the
most benighted denizen of the intellectual sewers, is as abysmal as this... The sort of book one does not even dump at the charity shop, but quietly places
in the compost or recycling bin.

Rob de V
On Sun, Oct 3, 2010 at 7:03 PM, Sean Wilson <whoooo26505@yahoo.com> wrote:

> ...uugh! He appears to have written ALL the 90-minute books. >
> SW
>
>
>
> ==========================================
>
> Need Something? Check here: http://ludwig.squarespace.com/wittrslinks/ >
>
>

Need Something? Check here: http://ludwig.squarespace.com/wittrslinks/


Rob
Re: [Wittrs] Re: Re: Strathern's Ignorance of Who Wittgenstein Was [message #5633 is a reply to message #5627] Mon, 11 October 2010 20:10 Go to previous messageGo to next message
RetroDeathRow is currently offline  RetroDeathRow
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The comment "I don't understand x" wasn't really as how the author of LWin90mins interpreted it. Of course it makes no sense to say you don't understand the artistry of someone before evaluating it. Such would be a terrible way to begin any movie review, let alone review of someone's life works.

The statement is not wholly unlike how LW didn't understand Freud- namely, he did not understand the popularity of Freud (nor Shakespeare).

I am not sure what his criticism of Shakespeare entails, but I would like to ask "who were the people inspired by Shakespeare?"


He had a wonderful life.
Re: [Wittrs] Re: Re: Strathern's Ignorance of Who Wittgenstein Was [message #5962 is a reply to message #5633] Sun, 27 February 2011 14:08 Go to previous message
RetroDeathRow is currently offline  RetroDeathRow
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I really don't care for writing off the thoughts of others. But then I have also gotten complaints for quoting too much. But if there be anything Wittgenstein about me, it is what it is ;P

LW wrote in some notebook or whatever (Duty, Monk):

"I could only stare in wonder at Shakespeare; never do anything with him...
'Beethoven's great heart' - nobody could speak of 'Shakespeare's great heart'...
I do not think that Shakespeare would have been able to reflect on 'the lot of the poet'.
Nor could he regard himself as a prophet or as a teacher of mankind.
People stare at him in wonderment, almost as at a spectacular natural phenomenon. They do not have the feeling that this brings them into contact with a great human being. Rather with a phenomenon."

Culture and Value is an unusual title. It only makes sense within a larger context of LW's words. Since he was so parse in writing what he thought, C&V is revealing. Low on my Totem Pole, albeit. Maybe underground.


He had a wonderful life.
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