Wittgenstein's Poker The Story of a Ten-Minute Argument Between Two Great Philosophers (Paperback)
|Author: David/ Eidinow Edmonds|
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|A captivating blend of philosophy, history, biography, and literary detection brings to life the meeting of two great philosophers--Ludwig Wittgenstein and Karl Popper--on October 25, 1946 in Cambridge, England, who had an intense disagreement that erupted in much speculation. Reprint. *Author: Edmonds, David/ Eidinow, John *Subtitle: The Story of a Ten-Minute Argument Between Two Great Philosophers *Publication Date: 2002/09/01 *Number of Pages: 288 *Binding Type: Paperback *Language: English *Depth: 1.00 *Width: 5.25 *Height: 7.25|
From the Publisher:
On October 25, 1946, in a crowded room in Cambridge, England, the great twentieth-century philosophers Ludwig Wittgenstein and Karl Popper came face to face for the first and only time. The meeting -- which lasted ten minutes -- did not go well. Their loud and aggressive confrontation became the stuff of instant legend, but precisely what happened during that brief confrontation remained for decades the subject of intense disagreement.
An engaging mix of philosophy, history, biography, and literary detection, Wittgenstein's Poker explores, through the Popper/Wittgenstein confrontation, the history of philosophy in the twentieth century. It evokes the tumult of fin-de-siécle Vienna, Wittgentein's and Popper's birthplace; the tragedy of the Nazi takeover of Austria; and postwar Cambridge University, with its eccentric set of philosophy dons, including Bertrand Russell. At the center of the story stand the two giants of philosophy themselves -- proud, irascible, larger than life -- and spoiling for a fight.
Ludwig Wittgenstein and Karl Popper met only once at a Cambridge University seminar in 1946. Both men being analytic heavyweights with different agendas, as well as strong-willed egoists, their meeting was charged. The story is that Wittgenstein, incensed by Poppers's philosophical remarks, waved a fire poker in the latter's direction. Their 10-minute argument has since been the stuff of academic legend, the more so because the details are obscure and contradictory. In WITTGENSTEIN'S POKER, Edmonds and Eidinow recreate the confrontation by bringing together philosophy and biography with journalistic dexterity. A New York Times Notable Book for 2002.
"The authors of this entertaining book vividly re-create the context to this sorry tale. They show us the stresses of being a Wittgenstein and a Popper, coming from very different social backgrounds in the hothouse city of Vienna. And they do an excellent job of reconstructing the philosophical differences, and the passions rightly aroused by the seemingly innocuous choice between problems and puzzles. They even manage to be fair to both parties, which is more than either party was to anybody else." - Simon Blackburn 04/15/2001 Independent (London)
"This book forensically reconstructs a spirited intellectual battle between two heavyweights, divided by their common Viennese Jewish background. Wittgenstein tended to boil everything down to language games, whereas Popper was more concerned about the impact of bad ideas on the world. There is a genuine schism of methodology and world view here, dramatized by a personality and culture clash." - Andy Martin 4/10/2001 New York Times
"No matter how furious the flap, a 10-minute episode could not ordinarily be stretched to assume book-length proportions. But he author's ingenuity is way beyond ordinary. In WITTGENSTEIN'S POKER, this small, highly charged event is made to fan out vigorously until it includes matters form the history of 20th-century philosophy to the plight of assimilated Jews in Hitler's Vienna to precisely what Wittgenstein ate on Oct. 25: the last of some tomato sandwiches from Woolworth's." - Janet Maslin 11/08/01 Times Literary Supplement
"The writing throughout is fluent and the anecdotes are often nicely chosen. But readers who are curious about one of these subjects will, I would guess, turn quickly to the bibliography." - John Hyman 11/23/01 New Yorker
"It's a terrific book, a fuguelike account of everything we know and don't know about a ten-minute squabble...." - Adam Gopnik 04/01/2002