Saturday, February 28, 2009

Wittgenstein: greatest philosopher of the 20th century?

So claims Jim Holt here. Is he right? (No, he's not.)

UPDATE: It's really quite an entertaining review. I laughed out loud several times, mostly at suicides.

2ND UPDATE: You can vote on the greatest 20th century philosopher over at Leiter's place. Astonishingly, Wilber is nowhere on the list.

27 comments:

Anonymous said...

If he isn't, that means—assuming "greatest philosopher of the 20th century" is term that successfully refers to an individual—someone else is.

Which seems to require someone else.

And who would that be?

Clayton said...

If Wittgenstein is tied with somebody and there is nobody greater than Wittgenstein (e.g., Lewis or Jesus), then there's no greatest.

That's neither here nor there, however, as the greatest philosopher of the 20th century is quite clearly Ken Wilber.

Anonymous said...

I'm not sure there's a greatest, but I'm sure Wittgenstein is not even close. Off the top of my head, Russell, Frege, Strawson, Moore, Austin, Goodman, Carnap, Hempel, Kripke, Burge, and Putnam are all vastly superior to Wittgenstein. Even most followers of Wittgenstein are better than Wittgenstein himself. Fuck it, even I'm a better philosopher than Wittgenstein!

grue said...

I know anon 6:28 personally, and I can attest that she is quite a bit better than Wittgenstein.

Anonymous said...

I don't need to know anon 6:28 personally to know that she's better than Wittgenstein; for being better than he is not a difficult feat.

chrono said...

Clayton-

I'm writing my dissertation on the philosophy of Wilber, trying to fit him into the contemporary analytic discussion of consciousness. I think there are minor errors in his theory that need to be pointed out if he wants Chalmers, et al, to take him seriously. Can you point me toward some responses to his scholarly work?

-chrono

Clayton said...

Chrono,

No, yours might be the first. Is there any Wilber worth reading?

Anonymous said...

oh clayton. your skepticism shakes every holon of my being. try to be a bit more transpersonal in your attitudes.

Anonymous said...

I am not quite sure of what the criteria are for "greatest philosopher" or if there has been enough time to determine such a distinction, but the name I will throw into the ring is John Dewey (unless one could include William James, but I realize some might claim he is to be considered a 19th century philosopher, even though he wrote in the 20th century).

Anonymous said...

Leiter's now got a poll on this topic. And I just used a bunch of proxy services to vote for Wittgenstein 50 times in a row.

Sigh, if only Ken Wilber were on the poll!

zombie said...

Not the greatest, surely. Although I have no opinion as to who it might be. Russell is a contender if, for no other reason, his refreshing clarity.

The Wittgenstein family might take the prize for most completely f'd up family though. J.D. Salinger would have loved them. Wait, Salinger is still alive, right?

C.I. Lewis will melt your face said...

C.I. Lewis, motherfuckers! No one pays attention, but that guy framed the debate of much of analytic philosophy from the 30's to the 50's.

Maybe no one pays attention because they think Quine and Sellars devastated his views on the analytic/synthetic distinction and the given. Perhaps they did, it's certainly a debate to have. But I urge people to go back and read Mind and the World Order and An Analysis of Knowledge and Valuation and honestly tell me that there are some passages Quine practically lifted wholesale from him and that he even prefigures some of Sellars' critiques on the given.

C.I. Lewis will melt your face said...

aren't some passages

chrono said...

Clayton-

I strive for original contribution. Certainly Wilber's work on the pre-rational and trans-rational is groundbreaking. Also, I think his manuscripts on integral post-metaphysics will shape metaphysical debates for the next 3000 years or so. Of course, I'll have to argue for this.

-Chrono

chrono said...

This blog is going to die if you don't keep updating. And I don't want it to die. Therefore, keep updating.

Please!

Anonymous said...

I'm all for diverse points of view and keeping an open mind. However, Chrono's March 26, 1:26 AM remarks about Wilber's work strike me as sufficient reason for letting this blog die. Serious (or superficial) discussion of Wilber's work as it relates to metaphysics or philosophy of mind is enough for me to stop reading a blog. With any due respect I do not know about, I feel no more reason to defend my claims about Wilber than [insert some popular person's claims that do not warrant discussion - Hitler on race, or Keith Burgess-Jackson on what qualifies a philosopher to write, or disqualifies a philosopher from writing, on a certain topic, etc.]

So let this blog die, or let Chronos explain Wilber's relevance to contemporary philosophy (to anyone who is still reading).

chrono said...

Anon ~

I really hope you're joking. I sure as hell was. Unfortunately, sarcasm doesn't come across as obviously on the internet. I took phrases from Wilber's wikipedia page. I trust Clayton at least knew that...

Fred said...

I think we need a separate forum to determine how we define "greatest."
Otherwise, Wilber must be a serious contender. Although much of his work simply categorizes all previous philosophy into the four quadrants, his ideas on transcending and including the many color-coded stages of consciousness deserve more recognition.
I'm also very fond of Edward Edinger, though he usually lands in the 'psychologist' cubby hole.

philogadfly said...

philogadfly is the new 'philosophy, gossipy'.

Anonymous said...

I would even rate Hitler (schoolmate at Linz with Wittgenstein) higher than poor Ludwig. At least Hitler had something to say (he had ideas in a Platonic sense)whereas Ludwig was a complete fraud. I think philosophy of language is nothing more than spreading confusion through the falsehood of the fundamental dogma (there are no ideas, just words). I think as a quack Ludwig is as dangerous as Marx, Freud and Einstein (all jews, of course). Just my view. But dont tell your professor (probably a jew), he will get a fit of "righteous2 anger.

Anonymous said...

Excellent point. Marx, Freud, Einstein, Wittgenstein all Jews, all frauds.

I'm hoping this is all in good fun, particularly the idea implied of linguistic idealism. Which, of course, isn't what Wittgenstein said.

After all, we want our foolishness to be stated precisely, don't we?

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