"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 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.