This article discusses recent attempts to provide the genre of biography with a philosophical, theoretical foundation and attempts to show that such efforts are fundamentally misguided. Biography is, I argue, a profoundly nontheoretical activity, and this, precisely, makes it philosophically interesting. Instead of looking to philosophy to provide a theory of biography, we should, I maintain, look to biography to provide a crucially important example and model of what Ludwig Wittgenstein called "the kind of understanding that consists in seeing connections." (...) This kind of understanding stands in sharp contrast to the theoretical understanding provided by science and is, Wittgenstein maintained, what we as philosophers are, or should be, striving for. (shrink)
(2014). The Temptations of Phenomenology: Wittgenstein, the Synthetic a Priori and the ‘Analytic a Posteriori’. International Journal of Philosophical Studies: Vol. 22, Continental Engagement with Analytic Philosophy, pp. 312-340. doi: 10.1080/09672559.2014.913884.
In the growing body of academic literature on biography that has developed in the last few decades, Virginia Woolf's essay, "The New Biography,"1 has come to occupy a central place—mentioned, discussed and quoted from, I would estimate, more often than any other piece of writing on the subject. Virginia Woolf's distinctive view of the nature and limitations of biography has thus had, and continues to have, a deep and wide-ranging influence on the way the genre is discussed by critics and (...) theorists. My aim in this essay is to present a detailed analysis of Virginia Woolf's thinking about biography in order to make clear why I believe its influence on contemporary theorising about biography is, on the whole, a misfortune. As is often pointed out, Virginia Woolf's views on biography are closely connected with—indeed, to an extent that I hope to make clear, they are simply an application of—her views on fiction. In the light of this, I have tried to trace some of the most striking features of her thinking about biography back to her earlier thoughts on fiction, as presented in both her novels and her essays. The result, I hope, will be that, while the attractions of her way of looking at fiction and biography are recognised and revealed, the manifest flaws in her thinking on these subjects are clearly exposed. (shrink)
This monumental collection of new and recent essays from an international team of eminent scholars represents the best contemporary critical thinking relating to both literary and philosophical studies of literature. Helpfully groups essays into the field's main sub-categories, among them ‘Relations Between Philosophy and Literature’, ‘Emotional Engagement and the Experience of Reading’, ‘Literature and the Moral Life’, and ‘Literary Language’ Offers a combination of analytical precision and literary richness Represents an unparalleled work of reference for students and specialists alike, ideal (...) for course use. (shrink)
Logic, science and business -- Clearing up philosophy in three words -- Picturing the world -- What is a proposition? -- What is philosophy? -- The disintegration of logical form -- The new philosophy : giving up the crystalline purity of logic -- Language games -- Can there be a private language? -- Reading Wittgenstein in the right spirit -- Understanding others, understanding ourselves : imponderable evidence.
This article contains a detailed discussion of the friendship and the intellectual collaboration between D. H. Lawrence and Bertrand Russell during the spring and summer of 1915. The questions it seeks to answer are why Russell initially was inclined to treat Lawrence's philosophical thought with respect, even to the extent of becoming an evangelist on its behalf; why he subsequently rejected Lawrence's outlook and distanced himself from Lawrence's political program; and what similarities and dissimilarities exist in Russell's thought and Lawrence's (...) as represented by Russell's Principles of Social Reconstruction and Lawrence's essays "Study of Thomas Hardy" and "The Crown." Both writers, it is suggested, were centrally concerned with the possibility of transcending the "prison" of the self, but the ideas each developed as to how this should be done were radically divergent, so much so that each could, in the end, regard the other as the very personification of the kind of egoism they sought to transcend. (shrink)
Biography need not be reductive; it need not seek to explain the work of a writer through an appeal to a psychological or sociological theory, neither need it treat all the work of a writer as disguised autobiography. It can simply, like Boswell’s life of Johnson, seek to enable us to get to know someone.
Introduction 1. Perspectives on Wittgenstein: An Intermittently Opinionated Survey: Hans-Johann Glock. 2. Wittgenstein's Method: Ridding People of Philosophical Prejudices: Katherine Morris. 3. Gordon Baker's Late Interpretation of Wittgenstein: P. M. S. Hacker. 4. The Interpretation of the Philosophical Investigations: Style, Therapy, Nachlass: Alois Pichler. 5. Ways of Reading Wittgenstein: Observations on Certain Uses of the Word 'Metaphysics': Joachim Schulte. 6. Metaphysical/Everyday Use: A Note on a Late Paper by Gordon Baker: Hilary Putnam. 7. Wittgenstein and Transcendental Idealism: A. W. Moore. (...) 8. Simples and the Idea of Analysis in the Tractatus: Marie McGinn. 9. Words, Waxing and Waning: Ethics in/and/of the Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus: Stephen Mulhall. 10. The Uses of Wittgenstein's Beetle: Philosophical Investigations §293 and Its Interpreters: David G. Stern. 11. Bourgeois, Bolshevist or Anarchist?: The Reception of Wittgenstein's Philosophy of Mathematics: Ray Monk. 12. Wittgenstein and Ethical Naturalism: Alice Crary. (shrink)
This paper attempts to summarise the philosophical career of Bertrand Russell, concentrating in particular on his contributions to logic and the philosophy of mathematics. It takes as its starting point Russell's conception of philosophy as the search for foundations upon which certain knowledge might be built, a search which Russell, at the end of his career, declared to be fruitless. In pursuing this search, however, Russell was led to develop lines of thought and techniques of analysis that have had a (...) profound and lasting influence on the philosophy of the twentieth century. (shrink)
To really appreciate the range of his achievements, we need an interdisciplinary effort; we need a carefully researched definitive edition of Russell's work, edited by a team consisting of, among others, philosophers and historians, a journal devoted to studying the various aspects of his activities and a whole army of researchers with access to a well-catalogued archive of his papers.