This blog is for everyone who uses words.

The ordinary-sized words are for everyone, but the big ones are especially for children.



Thursday, 23 July 2015

The battle against bewitchment: a rant.

"Philosophy is a battle against the bewitchment of our intelligence by means of language."

Or so, in the snappily-titled Philosophische Untersuchungen, said Ludwig Josef Johann Wittgenstein: 

photograph
Photograph by Ben Richards

But then Wittengenstein always was an obvious nutter, wasn't he.

Word To Use Today: philosophy. This word appeared in the English language in the 1200s and comes from the Old French filosofie, from the Greek philosophos, lover of wisdom.

Actually, now I come to think about it, does that quote mean that it's language that's doing the bewitching, or language that is the means by which we battle the bewitchment?

Wittgenstein meant the first. I think. Anyway, let's be charitable and blame the ambivalence on the translation.


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