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Download E-books Wittgenstein's Poker: The Story of a Ten-Minute Argument Between Two Great Philosophers PDF

By David Edmonds, John Eidinow

On October 25, 1946, in a crowded room in Cambridge, England, the nice twentieth-century philosophers Ludwig Wittgenstein and Karl Popper got here nose to nose for the 1st and in simple terms time. The assembly -- which lasted ten mins -- didn't move good. Their loud and competitive war of words grew to become the stuff of fast legend, yet accurately what occurred in the course of that short war of words remained for many years the topic of extreme disagreement.

An enticing mixture of philosophy, background, biography, and literary detection, Wittgenstein's Poker explores, in the course of the Popper/Wittgenstein war of words, the heritage of philosophy within the 20th century. It inspires the tumult of fin-de-siécle Vienna, Wittgentein's and Popper's birthplace; the tragedy of the Nazi takeover of Austria; and postwar Cambridge collage, with its eccentric set of philosophy dons, together with Bertrand Russell. on the middle of the tale stand the 2 giants of philosophy themselves -- proud, irascible, higher than existence -- and spoiling for a fight.

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Truthfully, this sort of factor is tough to visualize: he may possibly scarcely be a better distinction to Wittgenstein, proposing an image of sheer human ordinariness, with an undeviating educational and married existence. As for his or her effect on others, whereas Wittgenstein may right now dominate any room he entered, Popper may perhaps go virtually omitted, as his buddy and champion the thinker, flesh presser, and broadcaster Bryan Magee remembers from his first sight of him at a gathering: T h e speaker and chairman entered facet by way of part. At that m o m e n t i noticed i didn't comprehend which of the 2 used to be Popper. . . . even though, given that one used to be an excellent, self-confident determine and the opposite small and unimpressive, it appeared as if the previous needs to be Popper. remember that, it was once the latter, the little m a n with out presence. notwithstanding, he lacked presence just for as long as he was once now not speaki n g — t h o u g h even then what c o m p e l l e d realization used to be now not his m a n n e r however the content material of what he stated. This disparity among Popper's, initially look, diffident demeanor and his zeal on degree and in debate struck his successor on the London university of Economics. Reflecting at the poker incident, John Watkins defined Popper as having "a little bit of a cat and lion, oscillatory tendency. First there is a little guy, taking a look possibly relatively worried, or really fearful and insecure. And very quickly in any respect he is blowing himself into this large problem. " T h a t initial diffidence could have been whatever to do with Popper's self-image. no longer onlv used to be he brief, he was once of curious construct —small legs and large chest. in addition, "Physically he had those nice lengthy ears. for a very long time he was once very nervous and had an inferiority advanced approximately his appears. " In later lifestyles he it seems that enlarged his ears nonetheless extra by way of rugging the lobes with a view to listen higher. S o m e continue that his spouse, Hennie, mad? him suppose insufficient by way of no longer exhibiting the love he craved. a last element of comparability issues the immediacy of the 2 antagonists' paintings. Wittgenstein's pithy exclamations wondering our concepts —like the phrases of an oracle —continue to compel consciousness. Popper's nice contributions to politics and to our figuring out of background and of medical approach —written in simple English prose —have to some degree been overtaken via time and eroded bv critics. T h e fall of the Berlin Wall and the implosion of Communist regimes justify Popper's theoretical dismemberment of totalitarian executive and his advocacy of the open society. however the very good fortune of his exercise leaves him as a determine of earlier greatness instead of current impression. every one has a lot to claim to us this present day, yet examples from the clicking exhibit their present/past relevance. The final factor of the Spectator for the 20th century contained no fewer than 3 modern cultural references to Wittgenstein, together with one choosing his later philosophy because the thought for Michael Frayn's best-selling comedian novel Headlong. while a monetary occasions article on reflection on the prior century trusted Popper for an research of the hyperlink among the century's horrors and advances.

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