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I read Twardowski a long time ago. :) I needed it for my essay. He mentions promising young male philosophers that struggle with financial worries but not young female philosophers. Signum temporis though.

... potrafi przytoczyć imienne przykłady niezwykle niekiedy zdolnych i niezmiernie wiele obiecujących młodzieńców [young men], nie mogących jednak rozwinąć swych skrzydeł do lotu,

I adore Izydora Dąmbska's precision and clarity of thought. She also wrote about early modern dialectics (Adam Burski's 'Dialectica Ciceronis').

Michael Kremer

Interesting post! A couple (well more) of comments on Wittgenstein translation. First, the 2nd and 3rd editions of Anscombe's translation of the Investigations were new editions in the sense that they incorporated minor revisions in the translation. Second, there is a critiical edition of the Investigations, in German, by Schulte. Third, the 4th edition does more than revise the translation. Some editorial decisions have led to different treatment of passages that were more like marginal notes in the original text -- these were incorporated by Anscombe but have been separated out by H&S. An important example occurs in section 131 which reads in Anscombe:

"133. It is not our aim to refine or complete the system of rules for the use of our words in unheard-of ways.
For the clarity that we are aiming at is indeed complete clarity. But this simply means that the philosophical problems should completely disappear.
The real discovery is the one that makes me capable of stopping doing philosophy when I want to.—The one that gives philosophy peace, so that it is no longer tormented by questions which bring itself in question.—Instead, we now demonstrate a method, by examples; and the series of examples can be broken off.—Problems are solved (difficulties eliminated), not a single problem.
There is not a philosophical method, though there are indeed methods, like different therapies."

H&S modify the translation, but more importantly they separate off the last sentence enclosing it in a box and indicating in a note that it is a slip cut from a different typescript and inserted into the main text with the indication that it should be a footnote.

But the most controversial decision by H&S was to take what in Anscombe's translation appears as Part II of the Philosophical Investigations and treat this as a separate work, titled "Philosophy of Psychology: A Fragment" (this contains for example the famous discussion of aspect-seeing). Here's a brand-new article disputing this editorial decision:


Concerning the Tractatus, most scholars tend to use some combination of O/R and P&M along with their own occasional modifications. The Tractatus is short enough that this is not difficult. I tend to assign the O/R translation but tell my students about significant differences which often affect the secondary literature.

Michael Kremer

It may be of some interest to note that the P&M translation of the Tractatus originated in part in Ryle's courses on the Tractatus, in which he spent a lot of time obsessing over matters of translation.

Michael Kremer

This part puzzles me in a couple of ways:

"we really don't introduce our students into analytic philosophy by way of study of our canonical texts--we are a progressive enterprise and our students deserve to be introduced to the topic by way of contemporary works on the cutting edge (or text-books). (This was less true when there was still an active cult of Wittgenstein.)"

(a) in the US I think it is still quite common to introduce students through philosophy through reading Plato, Descartes, Hume, etc -- often combined with a small number of 20th century (not cutting edge, usually) readings. In any case at Chicago we have no introduction to philosophy course, and students are generally introduced to the field through the Humanities Core, which means they get classic texts from the Western canon for the most part.

(b) I don't understand linking "the cult of Wittgenstein" to the idea of teaching not from contemporary texts but from the canon. Historically this seems to me to be associated more with Oxbridge education (for example at Oxford prior to the early 20s when PPE was introduced, the only way to study philosophy at Oxford was by reading for Literae Humaniores, or "Greats"). Wittgenstein himself was reputed to frown on discussing philosophers of the past, so it's ironic if somehow his influence was associated with a historical approach to introducing the subject.

[Here's a well-known passage from Ryle's "Autobiographical" concerning the teaching of the history of philosophy and Wittgenstein's attitude to it, at least as publicly expressed and absorbed by some of his students -- obviously this did not extend to, e.g., Anscombe and Geach, and I don't mean to assert that Ryle is just right here:

"The conviction that the Viennese dichotomy "Either
Science or Nonsense" had too few "ors" in it led some of
us, including myself, to harbor and to work on a derivative
suspicion. If, after all, logicians and even philosophers
can say significant things, then perhaps some logicians
and philosophers of the past, even the remote past,
had, despite their unenlightenment, sometimes said significant
things. "Conceptual analysis" seems to denote a
permissible, even meritorious exercise, so maybe some of
our forefathers had had their Cantabrigian moments. If
we are careful to winnow off their vacuously speculative
tares from their analytical wheat, we may find that some
of them sometimes did quite promising work in our own
line of business. Naturally we began, in a patronising
mood, by looking for and finding in the Stoics, say, or
Locke, primitive adumbrations of our own most prized
thoughts. But before long some of them seemed to move
more like pioneers than like toddlers, and to talk to us
across the ages more like colleagues than like pupils; and
then we forgot our pails of whitewash.

In my own case this reaction was strengthened by my
occasional visits to the Moral Sciences Club at Cambridge. At its meetings veneration for Wittgenstein was
so incontinent that mentions, for example my mentions,
of other philosophers were greeted with jeers. Wittgenstein
himself not only properly distinguished philosophical
from exegetic problems but also, less properly, gave
the impressions, first, that he himself was proud not to
have studied other philosophers -- which he had done,
though not much -- and second, that he thought that people
who did study them were academic and therefore unauthentic
philosophers, which was often but not always
true. This contempt for thoughts other than Wittgenstein's
seemed to me pedagogically disastrous for the students
and unhealthy for Wittgenstein himself. It made
me resolve, not indeed to be a philosophical polyglot, but
to avoid being a monoglot; and most of all to avoid being
one monoglot's echo, even though he was a genius and a
friend. This resolve was all the easier to keep because, for
local curricular reasons, I and my colleagues had as studcnts
had to study, and had now as teachers to teach in
considerable detail some of the thoughts of, inter alios,
Plato, Aristotle, Descartes, Hume, and Kant. Some of
these thoughts were potent enough to make comparison of their author with, say, Wittgenstein, honorific to both,
and, what matters much more, elucidatory of both."]


Google Scholar gives the first occurrence of "The nothing noths" as a 1969 paper by Kenneth Stern https://philpapers.org/rec/STELRA-2 . Stern calls it a "celebrated example" so presumably it's not his translation/coinage. He got his PhD at Yale and spent time at Oxford, in the early 60s (he was born 1930). Ayer returned to Oxford in 1959.


PS: I knew Kokoszyńska primarily as one of Tarski's collaborators on the concept of truth (see Mancosu's paper https://philpapers.org/rec/MANTNA-3) and as the photographer of the well-known snapshots of Tarski and Gödel. I had not seen or heard of the Cohen video. Too modest to link to the paper in the JHAP issue you edited? Here it is: https://jhaponline.org/jhap/article/view/2927

Gary Ostertag

The earliest occurrence of "The Nothing noths" that I've been able to find is in Geach's Mental Acts (1957).

Eric Schliesser

Swell, Gary. Have you published on this? Or did you assume it was common knowledge?

Gary Ostertag

Hi Eric. No I haven't. Like you, I originally thought it first occurred either in Ayer or Pap's translation of Carnap.

Dennis Rohatyn

"The Nothing Noths" has nothing (sic) to do with overcoming
metaphysics. It has everything to do with death, which no
one can either transcend or eliminate. As Plato recollects
in the Phaedo, Socrates faced death squarely, and so became
a martyr, whereas Heidegger fled death by joining the crowd
(der Pöbel) and embracing fascism, betting on the Thousand-
Year Reich to immortalize him. It did, but not in the way
he desired. Conversely, Wittgenstein risked his life as a
soldier in WW I, albeit on the wrong side of history; then
posed as a seer, reinventing the mystical wheel ("whereof
we cannot speak," "to show the fly the way out of the fly-
bottle," "what does mathematics need a foundation for?"),
conflating linguistic nihilism with logical rigor, while
effing the ineffable ("tell them I've had a wonderful life")
on his way out the door, as if he were Jimmy Stewart playing
Samuel Beckett (or is it the other way around?). Yet the
dilemma remains, and it remains insoluble: no way out and
no way home--or as Sartre said, No Exit. To be is not to
be--that is the only answer, be it on stage or off. Shut the door, Kafka. There's nothing but noths there, anyway.

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Here's a link to my past blogging (and discussions involving me) at: New APPS.


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