Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Philosopher in the Raw

This is a strange portrait. The person portrayed seems to sink. He is standing against a blackboard, which has been used intensively. Some words are still readable. And perhaps there lies the key in why the photographer decided to portray this person in this awkward fashion (or maybe he didn’t know any better…). The word ‘WC’ is readable but doesn’t seem to make too much sense. The word that might be important in relation to the one portrayed is ‘raw’. And the one portrayed is Ludwig Wittgenstein, writer of Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus (written in the WWI trenches and it functioned as his dissertation but he claimed that his own promoters, Bertrand Russell (who wrote an introduction to the book so it could find a publisher) and G.E. Moore (who suggested the title), did not understand the moral scope of the book) and Philosophische Untersuchungen (just as any other work published posthumously because Wittgenstein could not be satisfied with his own work). Derek Jarman made a movie on Wittgenstein, which shows rather than explains the struggles Wittgenstein put himself through (not just with logics, also with his sexuality).

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