BARRY STOCKER Dialectic of Paradox in the Tractatus: Wittgenstein and Kierkegaard 21
Dialectic of Paradox in the Tractatus: Wittgenstein and Kierkegaard BARRY STOCKER What connects Wittgenstein and Kierkegaard? We know that Witt- genstein read Kierkegaard with deep interest, but this paper will not try to construct the exact details of that influence. The paper will be concerned with a more general comparison of the Tractatus with some texts by Kierkegaard, in order to work out underlying philosophical connections, independently from questions of in- fluence. The aim is to add to the understanding of both Kierkegaard and Wittgenstein by examining where there are Kierkegaardian elements in Wittgenstein. These might or might not result from direct influence; they might arise from shared influences, they might arise by accident.1 Whatever the case is, we can learn about both from comparison of philosophical arguments, and this might help the work of detailed construction of influence. The task of comparing all of Wittgenstein’s philosophical work with that of Kierkegaard is excessive for one paper, so it’s just the Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus that will be considered on Witt- genstein’s side. On Kierkegaard’s side, it’s not possible to isolate texts, they are written to be read in an interactive way. It’s also the case that each Kierkegaard text is written in such an inwardly connected, dense, and singular way, that just mining his corpus for quotes is not going to give any sense of his achievement. The compromise in this case is to refer largely to Philosophical Frag- ments2 and Concluding Unscientific Postscript to Philosophical Frag- 1 Some information about...
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