I am deeply saddened by the news that Brian McGuinness, eminent Wittgenstein scholar and my very dear friend, is no longer with us. Brian was, for me, the incarnation of 'a gentleman and a scholar'. I met him at my first 'Kirchberg': he welcomed my request to join him at his table Unter den Linden, and quickly dissipated my nervousness upon learning who it was I had just joined for lunch. Brian's impeccable appearance and demeanour never hid his warm humanity and humorous spirit. His scholarship, just as impeccable, was compounded by a formidable memory, psychological acuity, incisive wit, and compelling honesty. Brian never failed to express his thoughts, never skirted the truth, whether it concerned you or himself. I will miss him enormously.
The last time I saw Brian was at a workshop organised in his honour by Alois Pichler in December 2018 near his home in Siena: Editing Wittgenstein’s Nachlass: A Workshop in Honour of Brian Francis McGuinness. The pictures below were taken on that occasion.
Brian McGuinness was a Fellow and Tutor at Queen's College, Oxford from 1953 to 1988 before becoming Professor at the University of Siena, Italy, from 1990 until his retirement. Best known for his translation, with David Pears, of Wittgenstein's Tractatus-Logico-Philosophicus, McGuinness was also an incomparable historian of philosophy. His numerous publications include the universally-acclaimed Wittgenstein: A Life: Young Ludwig, 1889-1921, as well as Approaches to Wittgenstein, Wittgenstein in Cambridge: Letters and Documents 1911-1951; Cambridge Letters: Correspondence with Russell, Keynes, Moore, Ramsey and Sraffa; Wittgenstein's Family Letters (Bloomsbury 2018).
We are thrilled to announce the fourth event in the PICT Honorary Lectures series: “Wittgenstein and the History of Philosophy,” a talk by the British philosopher and historian Jonathan Rée, co-founder of the influential journal “Radical Philosophy.” The event will take place on Wednesday, January 22, 2020, at the Fondation Maison des Sciences de l’Homme (FMSH) and is co-sponsored by PICT and the Collège d’Études Mondiales / FMSH.
Ludwig Wittgenstein (1889-1951), one of the seminal thinkers of the 20th century, was famously hostile to the history of philosophy, always urging his students to think for themselves without worrying about what other people might have thought in the past. But can the history of philosophy really be dismissed so easily? Are there no fruitful ways for past thinkers to be read today? In this talk, Jonathan Rée will argue that indeed, there are approaches to the history of philosophy that even Wittgenstein would have supported. In addition, Rée will suggest that Wittgenstein’s own way of philosophizing was implicitly historical in ways the thinker may not have realized.
Note: On Tuesday, January 21, PICT will host Jonathan Rée at the Red Wheelbarrow Bookstore to talk about his most recent work, Witcraft: The Invention of Philosophy in English (Penguin, 2019) and to sign copies of the book. For further information, please visit this page: parisinstitute.org/book-talk-and-signing-by-jonathan-ree/
The talk is free and open to the public.
Date Wednesday, January 22, 2020, 19h00
Venue Fondation Maison des Sciences de l’Homme Forum de la bibliothèque, 1er étage 54 boulevard Raspail, 75006 Paris
4th Wittgenstein Conference of Ludwig Wittgenstein Philosophical Society
Date: 28th – 30th Dec, 2019 Organised by: Department of Philosophy University of Lucknow Lucknow
Various aspects of Indian Philosophy, viz. Philosophy of Language, Epistemology, Metaphysics, Ethics, and Logic have their resemblances with the philosophy of Wittgenstein which have so far,to a great extent, remained unexplored. The resemblances between any two philosophies serve inputs for a comparative philosophizing. Even a cursory reflection on these resemblances shows that Indian Philosophy and Wittgensteinian Philosophy are closer, not only in their methodology, aphoristic style, but also in their approaches to various philosophical problems.
First of all we find that Wittgenstein’s life was like a rishi – not only in his preference to living an ascetic life but also his concept of living a happy life as espoused particularly in Tractatus and Notebooks 1914-16 and prescribed in Upanishads and Smritis.
Further, Ray Monk describes that Wittgenstein used to read Tagore’s mystical poems in the meetings of Vienna Circle which forced Carnap, Feigl and Waismann realize ‘the author of Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus was not the positivist they had expected.’ Next, in this context, Monk again registers an anecdote about Wittgenstein’s translation of Tagore’s drama The King of the Dark Chamber. Wittgenstein accepted that ‘there is indeed something grand here.’ Monk holds that, Wittgenstein’s translation of Tagore’s The King of the Dark Chamber need to be read along with his lectures on religious belief as ‘Tagore expresses Wittgenstein’s own religious belief.’ Here if we accept Monk’s view that ‘Wittgenstein’s denial of the necessity to have reasons for religious beliefs’ as the basic conviction of thoughts of these two thinkers, then several philosophical issues come on the surface. Among these, the conversation between the maidservant Surangama and the Queen Sudarshana in the The King of the Dark Chamber, which appearsas an essential element of its translation by Wittgenstein and Yorick Smythies, has to be looked into from new perspectives.
Next, we find that K J shah has written the similarities between the philosophy of language of Wittgenstein and Bhartrihari. This has been published in Sibajiban Bhattacharyya’s Word and Sentence; Two Perspectives:Bhartrhari and Wittgenstein.The basic issues, in this context, are: (1) the one to one relationship between language and reality, (2) use, context, and language-games, and (3) The Inexpressible and privacy of language. Bhartrhari’s thought, in which language can be explained as an enlightened lamp is similar to the picture theory of meaning. Moreover, like Wittgenstein, Bhartrhari also talks about ‘usage’ and ‘context’ of an 2 expression as determinant factors of meaning. Further, like the realm of ‘showable’ of Wittgenstein, Bhartrhari’s transcendental reality (Shabdadvaita) is beyond any expression. There is a possibility to show that Bhartrhari supports the idea of the rejection of private language, even though Wittgenstein denies any role of ‘a flash of insight’ in determination of meaning of an expression. Moreover, it would be enlightening to show as to whether Wittgenstein would supportAbhihitanvayavada or Anvitabhidhanavada?
Panneerselvam in The Problem of Meaning with reference to Wittgenstein and Shankar: A Study in the Philosophy of Language has shown the similarities between Shankara’s concept of meaning and that of Wittgenstein through notions such as Advaitic critique of Sphota theory, source of the knowledge of Brahman, ‘saying’ and ‘showing’ distinction, the ‘fly bottle’ and liberation.
Next, Chris Gudmunsen in Wittgenstein and Buddhism maintains that there are straightforward similarity between Buddhists’ and Wittgensteinian positions on meaning, ethics, metaphysics, etc. There is a need to critically evaluate the alleged similarities between Buddhism and Wittgenstein brought forward by Gudmunsen. For Gudmunsen: “What I am arguing is that since both had rejected realism about universals – and this, surely, is not dispute – they were led to a similar view about how words relate to each other. The realism which was rejected had involved the idea that that a word like ‘blue’ corresponds to or refers to a single something which constitutes its essential meaning, muddied perhaps in actual application of the word. Once this idea had gone, from where can words derive their meaning? Only from their position in a public language; from what use people make of them. To define ‘blue’, there is no single thing one can point out as that to which the word refers….Words are related in a language-game quite naturally and harmoniously. (For) the Buddhist logicians…A word derives its meaning by carving out a place for itself. It does not seem to me that there is any important logical difference between the two approaches. In avoiding a referential norm of meaning, they are both in agreement with Nagarjuna’s ‘insistence that the meaning of words, i.e. ‘names’ is derived from the relationship which one word has with other words, not from an intrinsic relationship with an existent objective referent.”
Undoubtedly, it is surprising that above remarks of Gudmunsen has gone unnoticed among Wittgensteinians on the one hand and Buddhist Philosophers on the other. In his zeal to establish own conclusions about the similarities between Wittgenstein and Buddhism on meaning and universals, Gudmunsen has undermined their differences and misinterpreted their philosophy of language. So there is a need to show as to how Gudmunsen’s position is superficial and need to be rejected or supplemented with differences in both positions, unless we risk getting contented with apparent similarities as the final ones.
Next, an exploration in the field of epistemology takes us to the resemblances between theories of pramanyavada (svatah/paratah) as espoused in various schools of Indian Philosophy and Wittgenstein’s view about conditions of the validity of knowledge as reflected in On Certainty. In this context, a debate between Nyaya and Wittgenstein could be established. Nyaya Manjari discusses against apparently Self-evident (Svatah Pramanya) cases. The propositions such as ‘my body’ seems to be known immediately, at the time when it arises, and we do not feel the need to verify it by successful activity. A question arises: Are such cases the cases of intrinsic validity? For NyayaManjari: “…the knowledge of truth in such cases is conditioned by familiarity. Therefore, it is not self-evident though it arises quickly.” The 3 authenticity of the knowledge of a new object is ascertained on the ground of practical success to which it leads, if it is true. “When a new object is cognized repeatedly, it becomes familiar and we need not test the truth of its cognition on subsequent occasions in the same way in which we tested it when it was new.” The cases of alleged self-evident truths or the instances of intrinsic validity of cognitions such as mentioned above, i.e. ‘my body’, ‘my hand’ etc. has not only been the point of debate among Indian epistemologies but also between contemporary western philosophers such as G. E.Moore and Ludwig Wittgenstein. The issues raised in Moore’s essays ‘Proof of an External World’ and ‘A Defence of Common Sense’ has found its rebuttal in Wittgenstein’s On Certainty. It is enlightening to analyse the similarities and differences between various Indian theories of Pramanyavada and the epistemological position of Wittgenstein. In particular, it is debatable as to whether Wittgenstein in OnCertainty, as against G. E. Moore’s views on common sense and the proofs of the external world, would prefer svatah pramanyavada or paratah pramanyavada?
Finally, even a cursory reflection about the issue of living a happy/meaningful life reveals amazing similarities between the approaches of Indian culture and that of Wittgenstein. Wittgensteinian thoughts seem to be closer to the Indian form of life which has been left unexplored so far. This conference would aim at abridging this gap between Indian and Wittgensteinian ways of living and thinking. In this context, many Indian thinkers, which have not been described above, such as Sankardev, Tiruvalluvar, Jnaneshwar, Valmiki, Tulsidas etc. could also be interpreted from various perspectives of Wittgensteinian thinking.
Gandhi and Wittgenstein Gandhi and Wittgenstein on the inexpressibility of religious belief Gandhi and Wittgenstein on the Critique of Modern Western Civilization Wittgenstein and The King of the Dark Chamber Wittgenstein and Tagore Mysticism in Tagore and Wittgenstein Bhartrihari and Wittgenstein Shabdadvaita of Bhartrhari and Wittgenstein Philosophy of Language of Bhartrhari and Wittgenstein Is language private?: Bhartrihari and Wittgenstein Meaning: Bhartrihari and Wittgenstein Bhartrihari and Wittgenstein on Meaning Panini and Wittgenstein on Meaning Abhihitanvayavada/Anvitabhidhanavada and Wittgenstein Gudmunsen’s Wittgenstein and Buddhism Nagarjuna and Wittgenstein Buddhism and Wittgenstein The Levels of reality in Buddhism and Wittgenstein Metaphysics: Buddhism Wittgenstein Ethics: Buddhism and Wittgenstein Nyaya and Wittgenstein Pramanyavada and Wittgenstein Pramanyavada and On Certainty Nyaya, Moore and Wittgenstein svatah pramanyavada/paratah pramanyavada and Wittgenstein Living a happy life: Indian Philosophy and Wittgenstein Meaning of life: Upanishads and Wittgenstein Metaphysics: Upanishads and Wittgenstein Indian Ethics and Wittgenstein Advaita Vedanta and Wittgenstein Sankardev and Wittgenstein Tiruvalluvar and Wittgenstein Jnaneshwar and Wittgenstein Valmiki and Wittgenstein Tulsidas and Wittgenstein Indian Culture and Value and Wittgenstein’s Culture and Value Indian Philosophy of Law and Wittgenstein
Ludwig Wittgenstein Philosophical Society (LWPS)
The society was registered in 2015 at Lucknow. It has organized three conferences so far at University of Lucknow (2016), University of Imphal (2017), and Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay, Mumbai (2018). It has published an anthology which will be inaugurated in the forthcoming conference. It is in the process of publishing second anthology soon.
Wittgenstein and Quine: Not such an odd couple - Andrew Lugg December 9 @ 6:15 pm - 8:00 pm
Wittgenstein and Quine are generally, if not universally, regarded as poles apart and their philosophical approaches deemed mutually exclusive. In opposition to this wisdom I argue that philosophers do not have to choose Wittgenstein over Quine or Quine over Wittgenstein or reject both. While acknowledging that Wittgenstein and Quine are temperamentally very different sorts of thinker, I provide reasons for taking their philosophies to be complementary, not opposed. I contend that when properly and charitably understood, Quine is wrongly dismissed by Wittgensteinians as scientistic and flat-footedly empiricist, Wittgenstein wrongly regarded by Quineans as a philosophical know-nothing, blind to the achievements of science.
6:15 pm - 8:00 pm
New College of Humanities
19 Bedford Square
London, WC1B 3HH United Kingdom + Google Map
PhD studentships in Philosophy at the University of Southampton.
We invite applications for PhD study in Philosophy, especially in areas in which we have research strengths. The department has a long-established international reputation for our work in the History of Philosophy, especially 19th century German philosophy; in analytic aesthetics; and in the thought of Wittgenstein. More recently, the department has become known for world-leading work in epistemology and ethics. We also have strengths in metaphysics, and the philosophies of mind and language. For the most complete picture of our research strengths, see the staff page here: www.southampton.ac.uk/philosophy/about/staff.page?
Most of our PhD students are funded via AHRC studentships with the South, West, and Wales Doctoral Training partnership (SWWDTP). See their website for information: www.sww-ahdtp.ac.uk
Enquiries about the application process, and other funding opportunities, can be directed to the Director of Graduate Admissions, Prof. Genia Schönbaumsfeld, at .
Please note that the deadline for funding applications to the SWWDTP is in January, 2020, but for your application you will need to have already organised your supervisor(s) and submitted a polished proposal. We therefore strongly recommend that interested potential students make contact now if they wish to have a good chance of receiving funding.
Professor Genia Schönbaumsfeld
Director of Graduate Admissions
Department of Philosophy
University of Southampton
Southampton, SO17 1BJ
CALL FOR ABSTRACTS – CONFERENCE: “Intercultural Understanding: Wittgensteinian Approaches at the Crossroads between Epistemology and Ethics” (28 & 29 January 2020, University of Valencia, Spain.)
Please send to by Sunday 24th November 2019 the following TWO documents, including as an email subject “Intercultural Understanding Valencia Conference":
1) A document with:
· Abstract of 500 words maximum on the conference theme (see below).
· Proposed title and short bibliography (not included in the above word count).
· No name or affiliation information.
2) A separate document in the same email with:
· Your name.
· Your academic position and affiliation.
· Other information you consider relevant, if any.
Submissions by members of underrepresented groups are warmly welcome.
Decisions on selected abstracts will be communicated by the end of November.
This is the inaugural conference of the three-year research project:
· PGC2018-093982-B-I00 “Intercultural Understanding, Belonging and Value: Wittgensteinian Approaches”
· Principal Investigator: Chon Tejedor, University of Valencia.
· Funded by the Spanish Ministerio de Ciencia, Innovación y Universidades and the European Union.
Conference title: “Intercultural Understanding: Wittgensteinian Approaches at the Crossroads between Epistemology and Ethics”
Date & venue: 28 & 29 January 2020, University of Valencia, Spain
Postgraduate and open session talks will be 25 minutes each, followed by a Q&A.
The philosophical question “How are we to understand other cultures?” arises from two sets of concerns: one epistemological, the other ethical. The question captures epistemological concerns such as: is it possible to understand the propositions, beliefs, reasons, practices, etc. of those who belong to cultures significantly different from ours? And: how do we track what counts as correct or appropriate understanding here? At the same time, the question captures ethical concerns such as: are some forms of intercultural understanding more valuable than others? And: do we have a moral requirement to seek such understanding?
The standard approach to this question – certainly in analytic philosophy – is marked by a sharp compartmentalisation of these two sets of concerns. We propose to develop, from the perspective of Wittgensteinian philosophy (broadly construed to include not only Wittgenstein but also philosophers such as Bernard Williams, Peter Winch, Stanley Cavell and Cora Diamond), an approach to this question that emphasises the intimate connection between its epistemological and ethical aspects.
Gorazd Andrejč (University of Groningen, Netherlands)
Carla Carmona (University of Sevilla, Spain)
Leo Cheung (The Chinese University of Hong Kong)
Juliet Floyd (Boston University, United States of America)
Meena Dhanda (University of Wolverhampton, United Kingdom)
Witold Jacorzynski (CIESAS, Unidad Regional del Sudeste, México)
Sofia Miguens (Universidade do Porto, Portugal)
Constantine Sandis (University of Hertfordshire, United Kingdom)
Chon Tejedor (University of Valencia, Spain)
Conference organiser: Chon Tejedor (University of Valencia, Spain) Email:
· Carla Carmona (University of Sevilla, Spain)
· David Pérez Chico (University of Zaragoza, Spain)
· Vicente Sanfélix Vidarte (University of Valencia, Spain)
· Nicolás Sánchez Durá (University of Valencia, Spain)