(2012) Wittgenstein: Esotericist or Evangelist?

James Klagge


Lecture in Bergen 2012, Mar. 5. Wittgenstein was always conscious of his audience, often discussing or alluding to this in prefaces or drafts of prefaces for his writing. His conception of his audience changed over time—sometimes writing for like-minded friends, sometimes for disbelieving students, later for readers in a distant future. This evolution of audiences seems to have been influenced by his experience teaching at Cambridge. This talk examines prefatory remarks, notes of lectures, and argumentative strategies to get a sense of how Wittgenstein’s context and self-understanding influenced his approach to philosophical questions over time. He seems to have taken a largely esoteric approach until around 1931, when his engagement with student led him to a more evangelistic approach.


philosophy; Wittgenstein Ludwig; 20th century philosophy; esotericism; Spengler Oswald; Cambridge lectures; temperament; Wittgenstein's students; evangelize; teaching; stage

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