Month: December 2019 (page 1 of 1)


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).

Daniele Moyal-Sharrock

PICT Honorary Lectures series: “Wittgenstein and the History of Philosophy”

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:

The talk is free and open to the public.

Wednesday, January 22, 2020, 19h00

Fondation Maison des Sciences de l’Homme
Forum de la bibliothèque, 1er étage
54 boulevard Raspail, 75006 Paris