Tunnel Vision

In Laboratory for Society and Education (ed.), Sketching a Place for Education in Times of Learning. Dordrecht: Springer. pp. 91-94 (2018)
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When Wittgenstein was young, he wrote a small book intended to solve all of philosophy’s problems with language, called Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus (1922). As an intellectual piece, the Tractatus is a strange beast, written by a student with the voice of a professor. Its process of creation resembles that of a fictional piece: the author is struck by inspiration, labours in solitude, and then translates the vision onto paper. Yet the Tractatus was not meant to be a work of fiction, rather to have the final say in a conceptual debate about the relation between language and world. This little book was meant to be the end of all philosophical conversation, the final nail in its coffin. Written outside the university, the Tractatus had the ambition of ending the academic conversation in philosophy, while it refused to engage with that conversation. This was not fair-play on any account. The Tractatus was never intended to be an academic text; it had no footnotes, no references to other authors. It was a vision of language that Wittgenstein had shared with the world.



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Lavinia Marin
Delft University of Technology

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