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Customer Review

8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The denial of the necessity for reasons for religious belief, 29 Dec. 2005
This review is from: Monk Ray : Ludwig Wittgenstein (Paperback)
Ray Monk's biography of Wittgenstein is both very detailed and very revealing.
He shows us perfectly Wittgenstein's apparent evolution from the logical-philosophical themes of the Tractatus over language-games to the philosophy of psychology.
At first sight, the later Wittgenstein denied completely his Tractatus work and cursed 'the wretched effect that the worship of science and the scientific method had upon our whole culture'.
But that is only apparently so, because the famous last sentence of the Tractatus - 'Whereof one cannot speak, thereof one must be silent' - means that nothing can be said about the realm that was more important for him than logical theory: ethics.
The Tractatus is only a theory to preserve the purity of language.
Wittgenstein didn't sink into the morass of language. He was immediately drowned in it.
At the end of his life, Freud's work became his obsession and his comments on that work constituted an attempt to say something about what cannot be said.
The members of the 'Wiener Kreis' were completely astonished to discover that Wittgenstein was in no way a positivist like themselves.
Ray Monk gives us also a clear picture of Wittgenstein's complex and difficult character: his egotism, extreme possessiveness of his friends, fear of becoming loveless, difficulty to communicate, irascibility, mental instability ('see the madman in yourself'), his ambivalence about sexuality (a continuous battle between shame, sex and love) and his culpability. He was continuously seeking redemption for his sins, especially his pride and vanity.
This monumental biography is a very deep digging and extremely clear portrait of a controversial philosopher.
I also recommend Derek Jarman's feature film 'Wittgenstein'
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Review Details

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Reviewer

Luc REYNAERT
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   

Location: Beernem, Belgium

Top Reviewer Ranking: 791