Friday, June 18, 2010

Wittgenstein's Poker

[from Joel - Wittgenstein's Poker and Wittgenstein links and image added by Ira] This is not a book about an Austrian variation on Texas Hold'em. It's about the philosophers Popper and Wittgenstein. Has anyone read the book? It's ingeniously based upon a ten minute argument between Popper and Wittgenstein that took place at Cambridge in 1946 and during which Wittgenstein is purported to have threatened Popper with a hot poker. The authors use the controversy as a means of sketching both philosophers and the various witnesses. Expanding about this nucleus, they comment upon the entire state and history of European philosophy during the first half of the twentieth century. I haven't finished the book yet, but so far it's a good read.


Ira Glickstein said...

Thanks for the new Topic. I had never hear of the altercation between Wittgenstein and Popper, which is a very interesting story.I wonder what Wittgenstein's version is?

Your Topic got me to read about it on Wikipedia and even a link to a book where Wittgenstein speculates about color vision.

My previous knowledge about Wittgenstein was quite limited. I had read some stuff and knew he had changed from early- to late-Witgenstein and he contradicted his earlier views. After reading about his life and this altercation and his stuff on color, I am convinced he was a spoiled child who always thought he was correct, even when contradicting his previous views. Of course he was also brilliant and a very strong debater, able even to change his own mind at times. I guess we need folks like him to make deep insights into truth and stuff like that, but I am happy I never got to argue with him in person.

Ira Glickstein

PS: We saw our Seattle daughter and husband and grandsons yesterday. We butto Vancouver this AM with our Atlanta and Andover daughters, husbands, and granddaughters for the cruise portion of our Alaska adventure. We will most likely be out of contact with the internet and cellphones for about six days.

joel said...

I hope you enjoy your trip and your family. A cruise sounds like the perfect way to enjoy Alaska.

From he book I gather that Wittgenstein came from an almost royal background in Vienna. But, it seems that the situation was much more complicated than that. His cohorts treated him as an apostle and his philosophy as a religion. Popper, on the other hand, grew up with wealth, but struggled to make himself heard during his whole life.

Mark Brinton said...

I read this book awhile back. If I recall correctly, it was the author's view that Popper misconstrued either intentionally or unintentionally Wittgenstein's intent when he picked up the poker.

Mark Brinton said...

An interesting fact. Peter Munz, a scholar who is cited in the book, studied with both men. He's the author of a very trenchant & enjoyable deconstruction of Richard Rorty's philosophical views in the article "Philosophy and the Mirror of Rorty".

Ira Glickstein said...

Joel and Mark Brinton: Thanks for your Comments. Mark, please consider joining us for more as it seems you are oriented in the philosophical direction.

Yesterday, Vi and I, two granddaughters and our son-in-law did a zipline adventure in Ketchican. It consisted of seven zips,starting at around 30' long and then a few that were hundreds of feel long between tree platforms fifty feet or more above ground. We also walked over a suspended bridge, did a repel down about 30' and then a 250' slide. Quite a thrill. We are now in Juneau. Light rain both days. Our ship, the Holland-America Ryndam, is great.

ALL: Thanks for keeping this Blog active in my absence!

Ira Glickstein (in McDonalds using free internet)