[lbo-talk] Overrated writers

Mike Beggs mikejbeggs at gmail.com
Sun Apr 24 19:55:10 PDT 2011

On Mon, Apr 25, 2011 at 11:48 AM, // ravi <ravi at platosbeard.org> wrote:

> Indeed. Thank you for the link. But I was surprised to read Wittgenstein and Popper described as [political] conservatives.

There's no doubt about Popper, but Wittgenstein is a more complicated case. He was for at least a while a sympathiser with the USSR. But Eagleton argues in a 1982 NLR essay ('Wittgenstein's Friends') that he was attracted to communism in its most repressive period for basically conservative reasons, a glorification of manual work and personal asceticism.

I can't let Popper and Wittgenstein go past in the same sentence without linking to this, about their famous hot-poker encounter in King's College. A great lecturer I once had used to love to tell this story. Best line goes to Bertrand Russell: "The trouble with you, Wittgenstein, is that you always get things wrong".


Mike Beggs

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