Solitude, Culture, and the Technology of Communication

Zsuzsanna Kondor


hilosophical Investigations was first published in 1953. It is, of course, widely
regarded as the most important posthumous publication of Wittgenstein, containing the
main elements of his later philosophy. Prints and Visual Communication, the work of
William M. Ivins Jr., was published in the same year. The main topics of these two
books are quite different, but in both we can find a critique of Plato's philosophy.
In what follows I would like to compare these critical considerations - with each
other, but also against the background of Ernest Gellner's notion of "abstract
universalistic individualism" and the rival position which he calls "romantic
communalism". I will first recall, very briefly, Wittgenstein's criticism of Plato in
the Philosophical Investigations, and then describe Gellner's historically oriented
point of view of the above-mentioned traditions in philosophy. Finally, I shall cite
arguments by Ivins concerning Plato which - I hope to show - offer an alternative to
the dualism represented by Gellner.


philosophy; 20th century philosophy; Wittgenstein Ludwig; communication technology; atomistic individualism; romantic communalism; picture

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