Monday, March 15, 2010

Piero Sraffa’s Gesticulation.

The following quote relays an anecdote with regards to Piero Sraffa and his influence upon Ludwig Wittgenstein. I’ve hear of a similar story in which Wittgenstein was supposedly sent into a tailspin over a cyclist’s contemptuous gesture that he felt belied his work in the “Tractatus Logico Philosophicus”. Anyways, here it is:

“Wittgenstein was insisting that a proposition and that which it describes must have the same 'logical form', the same 'logical multiplicity', Sraffa made a gesture, familiar to Neapolitans as meaning something like disgust or contempt, of brushing the underneath of his chin with an outward sweep of the finger-tips of one hand. And he asked: 'What is the logical form of that?'”
-Norman Malcolm. Ludwig Wittgenstein: A Memoir. pp. 58–59.

Perhaps I’m mistaken, but Sraffa’s gesture to Wittgenstein is not a proposition. By definition, a proposition is a statement that functions as a truth-claim. Sraffa’s gesture is more akin to a negation and therefore a classic Wittgensteinian logical constant. No?

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Nostalgia for Bush.

In the New York Times, Stanley Fish has published a piece entailed: “Do You Miss Him Yet?”. The central claim of which is that George W. Bush’s reputation is undergoing a slight rehabilitation. The leading edge of a trend that will see him placed somewhere in between the worst and best presidents in history. This, Fish argues, is the result both of the stabilization of Iraq and the faltering nature of Obama’s administration. In my mind, the only rationale for this ostensive recovery (supposed and not demonstrated) is the same impulse that lead the persona of Milan Kundera’s novel “The Unbearable Lightness of Being” to declare: “[i]n the sunset of dissolution, everything is illuminated by the aura of nostalgia”.