Audio recording of me talking about Wittgenstein etc.

Here is me discussing Wittgenstein's private language argument, Wittgenstein on the standard metre, naturalism, evil, God, and Jeremy Corbyn! Link.


Philolinguist said…
On the subject of language structuring thought, Wittgensteineans may be interested in Walter Ong's book 'Orality and Literacy', particularly the last section of Ch. 3, 'Words are not signs', and the whole of Ch. 4, 'Writing restructures consciousness'. He writes on the differences between oral and literate cultures.

Humans were speaking long before they could write, so it's plausible to suggest that the transition to writing involved a cognitive shift that may have given rise to some of the problems discussed by Wittgenstein. For example, it is arguable that in an oral culture, the idea of 'knowledge' as a set of 'facts' simply didn't exist. 'Knowledge' was inseparable from knowers and their practical expertise. Problems in epistemology about 'knowledge' and 'truth' may not have arisen in oral cultures. So perhaps it isn't 'bewitchment by language' as Wittgenstein puts it, but 'bewitchment by literacy'.

Some researchers have argued that even before orality, language began as sign-language, and this may have also left cognitive artefacts that contributed to philosophical problems. I discussed this possibility in my working paper: