James C. KlaggeApr 12, 2022
Philosophy as Poetry
MIT Press 2021
“One should really only do philosophy as poetry.” What could Ludwig Wittgenstein have meant by this? What was the context for this odd remark? In Wittgenstein’s Artillery: Philosophy as Poetry (MIT Press, 2021), James Klagge provides a perspective on Wittgenstein as a person and how his life intersected with his work, in particular in the transition from his early Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus to the later Philosophical Investigations. Based on private notebooks and memoirs by some of Wittgenstein’s students, Klagge, a professor of philosophy at Virginia Tech, sees Wittgenstein’s interactions with his students as gradually prodding him to come grips with the problem of how to influence the frames of mind that people take to philosophical problems. Poetry, along with parables, similes, and other imaginative presentations, exemplify a way of addressing these non-cognitive attitudes – and Wittgenstein conceded that he was not entirely successful in his efforts.
Carrie Figdor is professor of philosophy at the University of Iowa.