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Wittgenstein: A Wonderful Life

This 1989 BBC Horizon documentary (see below) is an absolute gem. I must have seen it in the day but viewing it again with the benefit of the intervening quarter century, is so rewarding. It’s television at its best — very tightly presented, it is neither pretentious nor dumbed down as so many programmes on…

Russell’s “On Denoting”

Speaking of Davidson, here is a two-parter from Stephen Neale (a Davidson expert) on Russell’s seminal paper “On Denoting” published in MIND in 1905 and the ensuing philosophical debate centred around it. “On Denoting” is arguably the most important philosophical paper of the 20th Century, a paper one has to tackle if one is trying to…

Wittgenstein on death

One of the most unclear passages of Tractatus logico-philosophicus is thesis 6.4311 where Ludwig Wittgenstein (1889–1951) claims: “Death is not an event in life: we do not live to experience death.” These two clauses are spoken to be both an accurate expression of Wittgenstein’s view on death and a symbol of the mystery of death.…

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Philosophical Literature

H/T to a kindred spirit “Infrequent literary reflections by an analytic philosopher” for bringing the slowly but surely growing secondary literature to my attention. Since it was through Kafka that my latent philosophical impulse was first generated, I’ve always wanted to write a piece on some aspect of his work. I have however been granted…

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Hume and Wittgenstein

Born on this day Hume [O.S.] The most important philosopher ever to write in English, David Hume (1711-1776) — the last of the great triumvirate of “British empiricists” — was also well-known in his own time as an historian and essayist. A master stylist in any genre, Hume’s major philosophical works — A Treatise of Human…