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Monday, February 18, 2013

The Poker Philosopher

Maurice O'Connor Drury, a Cambridge a student of philosophy taught by Ludwig Wittgenstein at Trinity CollegeCambridge, remembered that Wittgenstein exclaimed after one particularly fatuous paper at the Moral Sciences Club: "This sort of thing has got to be stopped! Bad philosophers are like slum landlords. It's my job to put them out of business." So when Wittgenstein met Karl Popper on 25 October 1946 in a crowded Cambridge room the meeting soon turned into a loud and aggressive confrontation. The two philosophers disliked each other so much that they came to blows. Rumours spread that Wittgenstein got up, went to the fireplace and attacked Popper with a red-hot poker. Another good reason to sympathize with Ludwig. Not because I like his thinking better than that of Popper (I do!). Only because this story shows that he was an emotional man with a temper.

1 comment:

  1. I am surprised.
    Popper is the one who likes Ockhams razor, who is in favor of open society, who is an opponent of totalitarian systems. He is the one who criticizes obscurantism, often being practiced by philosophers of “Frankfurter Schule” (magnified writing prohibits understanding).
    Ok, I’ve been infected by von Hayek, whom I heard in the first year of studying at university.