Wittgenstein's Nachlass
January 7, 2002 3:09 PM   Subscribe

Wittgenstein's Nachlass (literary remains) are now available in an electronic format, courtesy of the University of Bergen Wittgenstein Archive. The 20th century's greatest philosopher never could find a way to publish the 20,000 manuscript pages, that constituted his most important work, in sequential book form; the Philosophical Investigations were pieced together after his death by his trustees. He probably would have appreciated the potential of electronic publishing. There's an excellent Wittgenstein portal, too.
posted by liam (17 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
excellent set of lnks liam - many thanks

here's an article about the house Wittgenstein desigmed for his sister - now subject of an exhibition at the RA in London.
posted by thatwhichfalls at 3:33 PM on January 7, 2002

In the fashion of the platonic kiss, here's a list of philosophical kisses, including the Wittgensteinian and the, erm, Kafkaesque.
posted by liam at 3:38 PM on January 7, 2002

Sweet! The Blue and Brown Books is one of my favorite bathroom readers!
posted by canoeguide at 3:46 PM on January 7, 2002

Wow, liam. I had no idea Wittgenstein was so well served on the Internet. No flattery, but this has to be the post I've been waiting for all my life.
I entirely rewrote my Ph.D thesis because I was exposed to P.I. I had a radio programme on Portuguese national radio, called "W", which consisted entirely of units(sentences, paragraphs)from Zettel and Culture and Value.

They're by far his most accessible works for anyone lucky enough not to have read him. I'd also strongly urge people to get hold of Norman Malcolm's Memory of Wittgenstein(with a biographical sketch by G.H. von Wright); the Personal Recollections of Wittgenstein edited by his old pupil Rush Rhees(or was it E.M.Anscombe?). Ray Monk's biography - The Duty of Genius - is also superb. We're talking exciting books here, not the usual mumbo-jumbo.

As a philosopher he's probably the only 20th century life-changer. You never look at words or the world in the same way.

Before I dig down and explore, yes, I do thing he'd have appreciated electronic publishing. He hated nonsense, but loved tearing it apart. And he was always changing his mind. He would have been the supreme blogger.

This sounds trite, but it's true. I'll now retire so as not to bore the pants off anyone else, which would be cruel, considering Wittgenstein is the least boring of all philosophers...

Thank you a thousand times, liam! That was truly magnificent.
posted by MiguelCardoso at 3:49 PM on January 7, 2002 [1 favorite]

Everyone knows that Wittgenstein was a beary swine.
posted by JohnBigBoots at 4:15 PM on January 7, 2002

Hear, hear, as well, liam.

I hope your copy's not a loaner anymore, canoeguide.
posted by y2karl at 4:34 PM on January 7, 2002

Of that which we do not know, we must not speak.

Observed here far more in the breach, one must note.
posted by y2karl at 4:35 PM on January 7, 2002

Damn! I just finished taking a Wittgenstein Seminar and now this comes out? This would have made my life many times easier this past semester. Oh well, good links anyways, well done liam.
posted by rorycberger at 5:10 PM on January 7, 2002

Thanks for the awesome link. Wittgenstein is right behind Bertrand Russell as my favorite 20th century philosopher. The Tractatus completely blew my mind the fist, second, and third time I read it. I'll be spending quite some time at this site.
posted by tiger yang at 5:14 PM on January 7, 2002

He would have been the supreme blogger.

ehem. Some of the entries in the dude's journal said nothing more or less than that he had masturbated that day.

Actually, now that I think about it -- he would have been the supreme blogger.
posted by mattpfeff at 5:31 PM on January 7, 2002

> Everyone knows that Wittgenstein was a beary swine.

posted by pracowity at 11:24 PM on January 7, 2002

lol > +/- fotfl, mattpleff.
posted by y2karl at 12:22 AM on January 8, 2002

So Wittgenstein wrote in his journal about masturbating. What interests me is that his understanding of communication, and how we percieve the world, couldn't be explained in a linear form. I think the fact that his philosophy can be better expressed with hyperlinks is a sympton of both that he was way ahead of his time, and that we're doing something good. In other words, yeah, he would have been the supreme blogger.

I hope, and believe, some big ideas can be better expressed in a modern medium.
posted by liam at 12:55 AM on January 8, 2002

He didn't need the beer to go mental. Honestly, you guys are hopeless. I thought it was bad luck to mention Wittgenstein without mentioning the poker incident. It's like calling The Scottish Play something else.
posted by vbfg at 4:23 AM on January 8, 2002

his understanding of communication, and how we percieve the world, couldn't be explained in a linear form

OK, a more serious question. Does this make him a better philosopher, or a worse one? And, before I go on, is it because of his actual philosophy that people here (on MeFi) are interested him, or is it more because of his status as a seminal (heh heh) thinker?

I've studied analytic philosophy a bit (though I'm not particularly well read). I like Wittgenstein's writing style (I also studied mathematics), but at the same time I would never have adopted it for publishing my own thoughts. E.g., the Tractatus is a work of art, but it's impossible to really know what Witt. is saying in it, because he doesn't explain anything. (He is faithful only to his own aesthetic, and not to his reader's understanding.) If you think you understand it, it's only because the words and phrases he uses lend themselves to a certain interpretation that fits into your own perspective -- but there's no way to decide if that interpretation, as opposed to another person's interpretation (from his/her own perspective), is the "right" one.

And with Witt.'s later notes, it's really a mystery, isn't it? Maybe they don't even all fit together into any single, whole system of thought that Witt. himself would find acceptable. Who's to know?

And if this is the case (I'm certainly open to arguments otherwise), is that really something to admire, and not lament?
posted by mattpfeff at 7:27 AM on January 8, 2002

howzat? whereof one can't say diddley, thereof one mustn't say squat?

posted by mattpfeff at 9:00 PM on January 8, 2002

It's nice to see all the philosophy wonks come out of the woodwork. In fact, I'd like to see it more often. To facilitate that, I just started a philosophy weblog called A Secret Buddha. "Just started" meaning five minutes ago. (I love Blogger.) The Nachlass is going to be my first link, and when I get home today I'll be doing a proper layout.
posted by tweebiscuit at 8:33 AM on January 9, 2002

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