Authors
David G. Stern
University of Iowa
Abstract
Did Wittgenstein consider himself a Jew? Should we? Wittgenstein repeatedly wrote about Jews and Judaism in the 1930s, and biographical studies make it clear that this writing about Jewishness was a way in which he thought about the kind of person he was and the nature of his philosophical work. Those who have written about Wittgenstein on the Jews have drawn very different conclusions. But much of this debate is confused, because the notion of being a Jew, of Jewishness, is itself ambiguous and problematic. The paper provides a close reading of leading passages in which Wittgenstein discusses Jews and Jewishness, and argues that previous interpreters have been too quick to condemn or defend him. If we consider what it could mean to say that Wittgenstein was, or was not, a Jew, we will see that Wittgenstein's problems with 'Jewishness' arise out of the philosophically problematic nature of the concept, a philosophical problem he was unable to resolve.
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DOI 10.1080/002017400750051206
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Postscript : To Whom It May Concern.Stanley Cavell - 1990 - Critical Inquiry 16 (2):248-289.

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