Evaluating the Bergen Electronic Edition

Herbert Hrachovec


The Bergen Electronic Edition, which has been published starting in 1998, is now completed and has dramatically changed the field of Wittgenstein philology.Wittgenstein’s entire writings are available in easily accessible facsimiles as well as in carefully prepared diplomatic and normalized transcriptions.The focus of the paper is on some shortcomings of the digital edition that may be partially responsible for the amazing lack of recognition the innovative work done at the Bergen Wittgenstein Archives has received. In order to discuss this topic, one has to deal with some issues outside the scope of Wittgenstein philology proper. As it turns out, the Bergen project raises some fairly general questions pertaining to the socio-economics of computer-assisted scholarship. It’s only against the background of several conditions imposed upon the humanities by the current implementations of digital technology that a certain weakness of the Bergen approach can be apprehended and – hopefully – corrected. The first part of this contribution attempts to give an outline of the overall problem, whereas the second one presents ongoing research to address some desiderata revealed by the preceding analysis.


20th century philosophy; Bergen Electronic Edition; Nachlass; Wittgenstein Ludwig; digital humanities; edition; media philosophy; philosophy

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