Being Wittgenstein’s birthday, reminded me that, at the end of last week, I’d listened to a 2015 Royal Institute of Philosophy talk “Why Wittgenstein Matters” by Ian Ground.
Sadly audio only, even though the speaker uses a few slides that we don’t see, but a very interesting talk. Partly about the importance of Witt in terms of his distorting effect on philosophy generally, but also a good summary of what his most important thoughts actually were.
Main reason for posting the link now is that the reminders reminded me I’d noticed in the side-bar to the above another Witt “RIoP” lecture by Rupert Read of a similar vintage.
Now I am prejudiced against RR thanks to his extremist Extinction Rebellion / end-of-civilisation links, and one particular experience of his unpleasant interaction on an IAI “How The Light Gets In” panel. But I had noticed he was a Witt scholar, and in fact has a book out in 2021 “Wittgenstein’s Liberatory Philosophy”. So I guess I should listen to what he actually has to say bout Witt. (He has done more talks / interviews to support his book publication, but this predates that.)
He’s clearly already on his anti-technological-progress agenda. New technological innovation isn’t progress, economic growth or development isn’t progress – no arguments there. Scientism isn’t the solution to all our problems – the source of all progress – in the real world – agreed, absolutely.
Problem for me is he seems to be advocating the opposite – explicitly advocating against these. Justifying his anti-establishment, destructive, anarchic, rebellion. No argument we need more enlightened values of what progress could and should be. A proper conservative ecologism, as opposed to neo-libertarianism, as opposed to economic “sustainability”. Seems we may agree strategically (aims of conservative values) even if I’d disagree on destructive tactics. But it is indeed memetic – rescuing our minds from dominating, infectious ideologies that have become part of received wisdom. Anti-establishment in that sense. It is where Wittgenstein fits.
Flourishing, wisdom … what’s not to like.
I need to give Read more time and credence.