Open Access to Wittgenstein Nachlass

Ms-115,3[1]Trinity College Cambridge recently announced that it is planning to make a new Nachlass facsimile of Wittgenstein’s original documents, available to all freely online.   This will be done in co-operation with the Wittgenstein Archives at the University of Bergen.

“The University of Bergen has continued to support the Bergen Electronic Edition, but we have always known that a new edition that takes full advantage of new technology would have to be created. That the new facsimile will be free for all who wish to access it is an amazing gift to Wittgenstein scholarship.”

– Prof Alois Pichler, head of the Wittgenstein Archive

Read the full press release

Are We Turning into Commodities?

Slavoj Žižek, in a recent London Review of Books article, alleges that the capitalist mode of generating wealth has changed. Money can still be made through the production of material goods – but the big bucks are now being made by privatizing everyday life and leasing it back to consumers.  So, for example,

“…Microsoft has imposed itself as an almost universal standard, practically monopolising the field [of computational technology], as one embodiment of what Marx called the ‘general intellect’, by which he meant collective knowledge in all its forms”

This example evinces what we can usefully think of as the capitalization in part of Wittgensteinian ‘forms of life’.  A ‘form of life’ is a useful heuristic for capturing a community’s shared biological and cultural background, in terms of traditional and entrenched patterns of behaviour, in a single phrase.  Žižek’s point is that these patterns of behaviour, which form the ‘general intellect’, are being exapted: parts are being adopted, built upon, and changed to create a new pattern of behaviour, which are then rented out or sold to consumers.

Continue reading “Are We Turning into Commodities?”

On What Matters, Volume I and II

“Not quite the top of the mountain”

Derek Parfit’s On What Matters has been the most eagerly awaited work in philosophy since Ludwig Wittgenstein’s Philosophical Investigations. Read Constantine Sandis’ review of this book in the Times Higher Education online.

The journal Ratio which has a focus on analytic philosophy, recently produced a special issue book entitled ‘Essays on Derek Parfit’s On What Matters’, edited by Jussi Suikkanen and John Cottingham. In Essays on Derek Parfit’s On What Matters, seven leading moral philosophers (including Princeton’s Michael Smith, one of the world’s leading meta-ethicists) offer critical evaluations of the central ideas presented in the greatly anticipated work by world-renowned moral philosopher Derek Parfit.  

Click here to find out more and buy your copy.

Lost Wittgenstein Writings Unearthed

Christiaan Tonnis ~ Ludwig Wittgenstein / Pencil on board / 1985

It is 60 years to the day since Ludwig Wittgenstein died. What better way to mark the occasion than to rediscover an archive of the enigmatic philosopher’s work?

The University of Cambridge announced this week the existence of an archive consisting of two boxes of Wittgenstein’s manuscripts and papers, which after careful examination and preparation by Professor Arthur Gibson, is hoped to be published within the year. The collection, totaling 150,000 words, reportedly contains the work now posthumously published as the Brown Book, complete with a revised opening and 60 added pages of manuscript. An emergent exercise book with ‘a pinkish cover’ is also said to be included in the archive, which may be what has come to be known by scholars as the Pink Book, a work that has so far eluded publication. Continue reading “Lost Wittgenstein Writings Unearthed”

Ludwig Wittgenstein Competition: ‘Wittgenstein Sixty Years On’

This spring marks 60 years since the death of Ludwig Wittgenstein on 29 April. A summary of events taking place over the next few months can be seen here.

To commemorate the 60th anniversary of the death of Wittgenstein, the BWS is running a competition. Write an essay or a poem of no more than 1500 words on the theme: ‘Wittgenstein Sixty Years On‘ . It can be a personal view or you might like to try your hand at a little pastiche of Wittgenstein’s writing. You could outdo Michael Frayn by producing your own affectionate tribute along the same lines: a piece that reads like Wittgenstein whilst evidently being something wittily different.

The winner will be invited to attend the BWS annual conference in Gregynog (see opposite) where they will read out their essay, poem or pastiche. A selection of entries will also be published on the website. The deadline is 15 June. Please send entries as email attachments to bws@herts.ac.uk. Entries will be judged by the Executive Committee. Results will be announced by end of June. (Prize includes conference registration fee, accommodation and all meals)