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Wittgenstein did not refuse to talk about God and religion. But some "important questions of everyday life," he said to Malcolm, are "often downright nasty" to think about.

How did Wittgenstein see himself?

Preliminary: I do not like controversy; I do not like polemic. And I would not like this page to be read in that spirit, which is not the spirit of philosophy.

Like any human being, I am touched by many things, of which the following is only one, and, if it had not been for Wittgenstein's strange point of view, I would never have written about this particular topic at all. Apartheid, racism, whatever form it takes, including India's caste system, shall I hope always disturb me. However, I no longer want to discuss that or any other political topic, because so far as I can see such topics only make human beings angry with one another and divide us over issues about which most of us can do nothing, and posturing about them makes neither us nor the world better for it.

There is no wisdom in allowing our being enemies of certain ideologies and policies to unnecessarily also make us the enemies of individuals. It was a wise ship's rule which forbade the discussion of politics: "No Politics, Religion, or Women are to be Discussed at the Captain's Table".

Notes: In the last several years -- after having known of his existence since before I am old enough to remember when -- I have at last read the works of Albert Schweitzer. As a consequence of that, I no longer have any interest in Wittgenstein's religious view of our life and of philosophy, but only in his ideas about the logic of language. And so I no longer want to discuss many of the topics on this page. Nevertheless --

It is only the attempt to write down your ideas that enables them to develop. (Recollections p. 109)

And wherever there is unclarity in one's fundamental ideas about the world, one must force oneself to discuss those ideas, regardless of how "downright nasty" one may find doing that.

What does it mean -- "the spirit of philosophy"?

That the agreed to propositions of today may only be of today, that tomorrow further thought or experience may overthrow them. Philosophy is Socratic dialectic: cross-questioning until propositions are agreed to or refuted. But dialectic begins afresh each day. There are things, maybe many things, on the present page that I would not say today, as I would not now confuse sociology with philosophy (although the theses of both must be put to the test of experience). But thoughts cannot ripen without being expressed.

Note: I am in nowise advocating globalization in what follows: my criticism of nationalism is of chauvinistic nationalism only. The countries of Eastern Europe, for example, have national cultures they wish to preserve, but not at the expense of other nations. That is very different from claiming that one's own culture is superior to the cultures of other nations and therefore those nations should be subjected to one's own (as in Nazi Germany, Imperial Japan, and now political Zionism in Palestine). Exceptionalism, i.e. disrespect for international law, is as well chauvinism.

Outline of this page ...

Context: these are rough draft conceptual and logic of language remarks: How is meaning to be distinguished from nonsense in the discussion of philosophical problems?

"Biblical versus Greek"

Note: this continues the discussion of Wittgenstein and religion (biography and philosophy).

I had begun to attend Professor Moore's lectures.... At the commencement of his first lecture Moore had read out from the University Calendar the subjects that his professorship required him to lecture on; the last of these was "the philosophy of religion". Moore went on to say that he would be talking about all the previous subjects except the last, concerning which he had nothing to say. I told Wittgenstein that I thought a professor of philosophy had no right to keep silent concerning such an important subject. [Wittgenstein replied to Drury: "I won't refuse to talk to you about God or about religion."] (Recollections p. 89-90)

Moore's reason was not cowardice, however, although for saying or writing anything controversial about religion an academic can expect to be vilified. Michael Prior (1942-2004) of Surrey University's St. Mary's College, who I'm sure had no hatred in his heart for anything except lies and injustice, is a recent example of this. Doubtless what I wrote at the end of my earliest Philosophy of Religion pages [and also what follows on this page] would offend many people if they read it. But because my lack of talent for philosophical thinking, if nothing else stopped me from becoming an academic, I can make use of our human right -- not our Biblical right (because there is no such right) -- to free speech (even when -- or especially when -- it gives offense) without too much fear of persecution. Because, in a word, no one cares what I think. "We recognize [the right to hold] no opinion but our own" was a fascist maxim, and the intolerance it expresses is still doing harm in the world.

Speech that does not give offense is not free. We have no need for a human right to say what no one finds offensive and what no one disagrees with. Socrates was sentenced by the Athenians for free speech; that is the heritage of philosophy: If you disagree with what someone says, refute him; but silencing him or ridiculing him is not a refutation. Nor is ignoring him (and yet we do ignore most people ... One might say that there is a human right to speak freely, but that there is no corresponding right to be listened to; being heard is a privilege which others must grant you, although if you are charged with an offense you have the right to be heard in reply).

Most of the statements on this page are questions in the form of assertions, written in the spirit of Pythagoras who said, "I am not someone who knows (sophist), but someone who wants to know (philosopher)." That is the spirit of philosophy.

"The Good is whatever God orders"

If any proposition explains just what I mean, it is: Good is what God orders. (LE/Notes p. 15)

However, that is not the only sense of "Hebraic" that Wittgenstein may have intended, when he said to Drury:

Your religious ideas have always seemed to me more Greek than biblical. Whereas my thoughts are one hundred percent Hebraic. (Recollections p. 161)

Two search queries made by visitors to this site and recorded in its server logs led to my thinking about this again:

Query: Wittgenstein's categories.

Do I understand this query? Its language is suggestive. (There could be a faint echo of Kierkegaard: the thinkers of each age revise its categories.) But you could ask of a thinker: which categories does he use -- and which categories does he not use? It's vague, but you might do something with it; it is related to points of view, ways of looking at things. The second query is:

Origin of the Concept 'Mind' (The "mind-body" distinction)

Query: the mind; who invented this concept?
Query: anima e corpo.

If I remember right, and I may not remember right -- I am certainly not to be trusted either for my memory or as if I were an historian -- there is no "soul" (in the Orphic-Platonic-Christian-theological sense) in the Bible: a man's consciousness, his "life", is not separable from his body, which is maybe the why of bodily resurrection in the New Testament. The Gospel [Matthew 16.26] used to be translated "gain the world [i.e. save one's life in this world], but lose one's soul" [-- i.e. lose one's immortal soul (i.e. be cast into Hell), although, given a different understanding of Jesus' kingdom of God this might be read as a warning: 'loss of one's soul' meaning loss of oneself as an ethical human being and therefore of belonging to the kingdom of God, or it might simply be "read in a spiritual rather than a carnal sense" --], but then Biblical scholars said this was not consistent with Jewish thought and changed it to "gain the world, but lose his life [i.e. die, be obliterated]". In the Bible God breathes "the breath of life" into the clay from which he formed Adam. Adam is [equals] his body plus God's breath, but if God's breath is removed from Adam's body, then Adam dies: the breath belongs to God, not to Adam: there is no Adam [no consciousness] which is separable from his body (cf. "Put not your trust in princes nor in the child of man, in whom there is no safety; for his breath shall go forth and he shall return into the earth [cf. "Remember man that thou art dust and unto dust thou shalt return" (Ash Wednesday)], and his thoughts shall perish on that very day" (Psalm 146.3-4)). [At school I was told that Moslems had not built windmills because the wind is the breath of God (just as Hebrew vowels are not written because they are produced by breathing); telephones also had been reluctantly accepted. (That at the same time, however, sailboats were used shows what religious prohibitions amount to.)]

As an historical question, which is what this query seems to be, who can say who first invented the concept 'mind' ('soul')? The Greek shades ["The human body is the best picture of the human soul" (PI II, iv, p. 178)] in Hades -- where did this idea come from? As usual, I am ignorant of history and anthropology. There is "ancestor worship or fear" [where the dead are thought of as disembodied spirits (cf. Phaedo 81c-d)] in many cultures, but clearly this is not universal in human culture if it is not also found in Judaism. Traditional Christianity is, in a sense, not Biblical, because the early Christians (Paul's converts in the Roman world) understood the Gospels using the categories of the Greeks, not those of Judaism and therefore not those of Jesus himself. This may be another sense in which Wittgenstein told Drury that his own religion was "100% Hebraic", whereas Drury's was more Greek. (On the other hand, Augustine's Christianity was conceptually Greek, if I remember anything about it; but, on the other hand, Wittgenstein's admiration for Augustine does not imply that their religions, much less their theologies, were identical.)

This is a very important part of how Wittgenstein saw himself, I believe, as a Christian Jew, although not in the sense that the Apostle James (as a strict follower of the Law) was. Wittgenstein referred to the Gospels as being the "head", as the Old Testament was the "body" of, I believe, his own religion (CV p. 35 [MS 162b 16v: 1939-1940]). I think that Wittgenstein saw no inconsistency in this view of himself, nor do I believe that there is any inherent inconsistency if Jesus is seen through Jewish rather than Greek-Platonist eyes (categories). If looked at this way, Wittgenstein's attitudes are clearer.

So I am saying that what Wittgenstein told Parak, that he had been "reborn" (in the sense that the Apostle Paul may speak of) should be taken very seriously? Why shouldn't the First World War have been a Road to Damascus for him? [Whether he, like Paul, "kept the faith" to the end is another question.] "What would it feel like not to have heard of Christ? Would we feel left alone in the dark?" (CV p. 13) It does seem that such things happen: a crisis may profoundly change a human being. When Wittgenstein wrote around 1944 "Go on, believe! It does no harm" (ibid. p. 45), it wasn't for nothing. And although it's true that the years often act as a damper to even the profoundest changes in a man, and that in 1946 Wittgenstein wrote: "I cannot kneel to pray because it's as though my knees were stiff. I am afraid of dissolution (of my own dissolution), should I become soft" (ibid. p. 56), that doesn't mean that he no longer wanted to pray (There would be no point to his remark otherwise).

History of the concept 'mind'

According to David J. Furley's account ("Homer", in Encyclopedia of Philosophy, 1967), the starkly contrasted conceptual pair 'mind-body' was, among the Greeks, invented by Pythagoras and Plato [Neither Socrates nor the Greek Stoics made a distinction between "spirit" and "matter"]. There is no unified mind in Homer; instead its functions are attributed to the organs in the chest, to the heart, to breath, (and the soul, the future shade in Hades, does not fully retain a person's moral personality).

Cf. The pictures we have of the head as the center of consciousness. But such pictures are by no means the only possible ones. Many "pictures of the mind" -- (We do not use the word 'mind' as a name; that is a false, idle account of its grammar; the word conjures up pictures nonetheless) -- seem connected with the concept 'agent'. Suppose there were a tribe that said, "When a rock is thrown, it is the hand that is the agent", meaning it is the hand that does the thinking, that decides to do it. That tribe would not have our picture of the mind as a unity. (There are also pictures of the mind as a passive receptor rather than as a will. And in some contexts 'mind' and 'soul' are distinct concepts, as e.g. in religious pictures where "the soul" might be called a theological construct.)

"In the idea, now is always." -- This is something else that "makes a man into a philosopher" [i.e. which leads us to philosophize]: a stronger interest in ideas than in facts. That is, the above is philosophy if it is anything, not historiography. ["In the idea." -- Drury was not of course encouraging irresponsible speculation. Schweitzer in his Quest of the Historical Jesus spoke harshly of those who wrote a "Life of Jesus" without doing the historical research that would have qualified them to do this (tr. 1910, p. 325).]

If someone does not believe in fairies, he does not need to teach his children 'There are no fairies'; he can omit to teach them the word 'fairy'. (Z § 413)

Could we say the same thing about souls and the word 'soul'? I think so. So are we back to "Wittgenstein's categories"? 'Soul' and 'mind' are not names of objects -- but this is only a grammatical remark: what is the logical category of these words? Did Wittgenstein "believe in" souls (i.e. hold fast to that "picture")? -- I don't know [He may have regarded 'soul' as a superstition-word (part of speech), at least in some contexts], but whether he did "believe in souls" or not this would belong to his religious views, not to his work in philosophy.

Query: mind and body distinction.

Is this distinction necessary? Is it made by a dog e.g.? Could human beings live without it? (Does life force this concept on us? (CV p. 86)) Even if we speak of "the breath of God" rather than of souls, we are still making a distinction: a plus, something added to a body. But isn't the distinction shown by what we do with it -- e.g. what consequences we draw from it, e.g. if we think of life after death [of the body]? "Is this distinction necessary?" If 'necessary' here means 'universal', then no.

But here I do not know whether we should speak of "forms of life" or not -- because the concept 'soul' or 'mind' seems contagious: once a human being is acquainted with the distinction it is impossible to ignore it, not in the sense of "believing in souls", but in the sense that the distinction is not nonsense. Ideas are contagious: that belongs to human nature, the human form of life, like using rude words when you lose your temper despite your disliking those words.

[What distinctions would we say that a dog makes? For example, friend or foe, edible or inedible, but not mind or body -- or what canine behavior would correspond to [resemble a human being (PI § 360)] making that distinction?]

Showing rather than saying the "deeper meaning"

Note: this continues the discussion The Grammar of 'beautiful' versus Aesthetics (Play-acted Rules of Grammar).

You would have to describe (present on stage e.g.) a way of life, although the word 'beautiful' might appear very seldom in your description.... Presenting a 'way of life' (What does this expression mean?) -- there is a poem by Ludwig Uhland quoted by Paul Engelmann in his Memoir of Wittgenstein, in translation titled "Count Eberhard's Hawthorn" that Wittgenstein valued for doing this. A way of life is shown in this poem, although what exactly is shown is not said -- that is, the poet only describes; he does not explain the significance ("deeper meaning") of what he describes.

I do not know that I could explain -- put its deeper meaning into words -- in a satisfying way. Must what we call a "deeper meaning" be restateable in prose? There is a symbol in the poem, but does 'symbol' = 'metaphor'? Do we want to call this type of presentation of a way of life a definition -- i.e. an example of a play-acted definition, e.g. of the word 'fidelity', if that is the word, and although that word does not appear in the poem? Maybe we would say that this is a "limiting case". If you cannot explain the symbol in prose, then what criterion will there be for saying that anyone 'understands' the definition it displays?

Faith and Rationality

Note: this continues the discussion of the contrasting views of religion of Wittgenstein and Schweitzer.

Query: Schweitzer, a stronger case for religion.

I often have the impression that people are looking to prop up their faith, by finding arguments or by finding authorities (So-and-so was a believer -- "he was one of us", so to speak (as if it were an issue of tribal nationalism) -- e.g. the query "Was Wittgenstein a believer?", which I see from time to time). It is as if they were in a fight against their own doubts. Apologetics, justifications for believing, may be both institutional (for a church's confession [doctrine]) and personal (for an individual's faith). And this seems very mistaken to me, especially if it is a matter of subjective doubts (doubt without grounds), as if someone were trying to make himself believe in something that his [natural inclination and] better judgment told him not to believe in. Wittgenstein said to Drury: "Make sure that your religion is a matter between you and God only" (Recollections p. 102) and that means not dependent on the example of other people or on any desire for group identification -- which is not, of course, to deny that the ideas of other people may not help you to find your way to God, for of course they may (although only if they genuinely also become your own ideas through your having thought them through and lived with them; otherwise they are just a false path, one to self-deception). Now, what Wittgenstein told Drury strikes me as correct, and any other foundation would be one of pure sand [cf. Etienne Gilson's view of faith].

Query: Christian response to Wittgenstein.
Query: Christian view of logic and language.

This is what dogma (in religion, political ideology, etc.) may do to someone. There is no question of an open mind when you already think you know the truth and are merely trying to make yourself conform to a doctrine (thus making yourself "ideologically sound"). Socrates: no one looks to find what he thinks he already has. This query is not about propping up one's own beliefs, but about seeking orthodoxy (being "ideologically sound") and doing battle against the infidels and heretics (unbelievers and unorthodox believers). On the other hand, that is no more than my conjecture about what the query is about (but other meanings might be given to the query's combination of words; Que sais-je?).

In any case the first thing to do is to figure out what you are responding to. Is it e.g. to what is called here a "straw man"? Wittgenstein was not an enemy of religion. Quite the contrary. He once called himself "in some sense a Christian" (Recollections p. 114). Why would there be a "Christian response" to a Christian? It's true that his Christianity was not orthodox ("in some sense", he said), but, well, I would not want to speak against anyone to whom Christianity is important in their life merely because what was important to that person about it was different from what was important to me about it. ("Where the spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.".) So that is my view, in any case.

With respect to Wittgenstein's view of the "logic of language" of religious language, he tried to describe what we find when we look at religion. He did not prescribe: he did not say that religious language "must" be meaningless, as did the doctrinaire Logical Positivists with their principle of verificationism.

Wittgenstein told his student Drury that the "symbolisms of Catholicism are wonderful beyond words" (ibid. p. 102). "Beyond words", in a different sense, was his view of religion in the Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus: "There are indeed things that cannot be put into words [There is indeed the inexpressible]. They make themselves manifest [This shows itself]. They are what is mystical [It is the mystical]." [6.522]

But how does one think of God?

Note: this continues the discussion Is the word 'God' a name?.

Goethe's Mephistopheles (Faust, Part I): "I am the one who wanting to do only evil, does only good."

That is not our life's reality (and who will say "apparent reality" as if evil were not real?), not the devil of this world. It is instead a picture [ideology] with no defined verification: a proposition that is not to be put to the test. Does God very often bring good out of evil? But that is not the question. One must believe that the ends justify any means at all, if one believes that it is permissible to use evil means to accomplish good ends.

The stories of Adam and Eve and of Abraham: submission to the will of God. -- Why should anyone submit to God's will? Why should anyone say "Thy will be done"? As if God were thought of as saying: "Whatever I do to you, you are to accept, and if you don't do as I say, I will box your ears, or I may box your ears whatever you do." That is not morality, but the bullying that comes from the barrel of a gun. Again and again it seems to me that it makes no sense, and everyone knows that it makes no sense. And that does not seem to matter to the religious person, as if there were something far more important still. But why mustn't one say: Good and evil are the same for both man and God? Is that too anthropomorphic, but is not the God of religion pure anthropomorphism? (The "God of the philosophers" is at best natural theology, but not religion.) What is to be done with Isaiah 55.8?

Wittgenstein told Drury that he did not think of God as "another being like myself, outside myself, only infinitely more powerful" (Recollections p. 108). But neither did he tell Drury how he did think of God. I am left again and again with a word, a bare sign.

Why do I resist calling Wittgenstein's life a life of faith, even when the evidence suggests that's what it was? Wittgenstein does not belong to "the modern age": he was not a child of the Enlightenment. What manner of man was Wittgenstein? This is a worthwhile question for me -- from a philosophical point of view, because, when I'm not too dense, it makes my own assumptions -- i.e. my views and beliefs that I have never subjected to criticism -- apparent to me.

Part of why -- maybe most of why -- I am puzzled by Wittgenstein is that he was sympathetic to religion, whereas I have learned to my cost to be wary of its effect on me. It is as if there were two sides to Wittgenstein: one rational (the logic of language) and one irrational (religion, Freudian psychology) -- puzzlingly irrational, at least to me.

I would not say that I am an enemy of religion -- but that religion must be judged from the point of view of what is right and what is wrong [ethics]. The Apostle Paul said: "Test everything; keep what is good." I think that is what we must try to do.

Reverence where it's due (But is it due?)

The Book of Exodus 12: the Lord God himself indiscriminately slaughters all first born Egyptians, sparing neither man nor animal. Where is there "high morality" here? Passover recalls the boast of the god of the Jews that he is more powerful than the gods of Egypt. [Read without preconceptions, many of the books of the Old Testament are decidedly not monotheistic. (Early Judaism recognizes the gods of other peoples; only later are those gods said not to really be gods but only demons ... although the god of the Jews, Yahweh, is demonic enough himself.)] Why should anyone revere this story? Yet there are countless human beings who not only revere it, but who treat this text as if it were historiography ["what really happened"] rather than the nation-building myth that it is. Such a story may serve nationalists, creators of myths of origin -- but can it serve our common humanity? [It is no defense to say that this was a myth about "God's love for his people", because were Egyptians not people (human beings, members of humanity) too.]

Passover is an example of a nation-building myth. The myth says that if you are faithful -- i.e. obey -- the god of your tribe -- i.e. if you cling together as a tribe according to tribal laws -- God will reward you with his protection and prosperity, exalting you above other tribes. Otherwise he will punish you. There is this question, then: Why might anyone want to nation-build? Had the tribes the French found in western Equatorial Africa had gods and myths about those gods, would not those myths have been like the myths of the Jews -- i.e. nation-building myths? Within the tribe you are safe; outside you will find only rivals and potential enemies; therefore cling together, just as the myth says your ancestors did. We in the West now take the notion 'common humanity' for granted, but we did not always possess it: it was an idea invented by the Roman Stoics. We should not imagine that it is or ever was universal to the human species. Tribalism is the far older and far more common notion.

The plain reading of the first commandment is: I am your god and you shall not have any gods except me. I am a jealous god, and I punish infidelity. This is not monotheism. This is straightforward advocacy of tribal exclusivity (Nationalism as Religion): Yahweh is "the god of Israel"; other tribes have their gods, but Jews are to worship no god but Yahweh. The Jewish god is also not the god of other tribes. He has chosen his people. That is the ideology of Deuteronomy 7.1-6.

Why should I be troubled by this? If since childhood you have been told that something is venerable, namely the Bible, and then you see that much of it is morally reprehensible, what else can you feel but betrayed? But is it right -- from a philosophical point of view -- for me to denounce this or any other religion? When religions are imposed on humanity with evil consequences, and they have been and are, why wouldn't it rather be my obligation to denounce them? Wasn't that Voltaire's project: to denounce all tyrannies over the mind of man [Thomas Jefferson's expression]. Écrasez l'infâme! -- but is such propaganda the task of philosophy?

Controversy is contrary to the spirit of philosophy, which is thoughtful reflection. And I would rather say: "This is not my concern." But silence often mean consent, and what is as wrong as consent is not speaking up for those who have no voice (Proverbs 31.8). Of course, if it were not for Wittgenstein and his strange point of view, I would not be discussing this at all.

Political Zionism and Palestine

My thoughts about the Bible and Judaism have been strongly colored, whether always fairly or not, by events in Palestine: it torments my sense of right and wrong [with an intensity kept alive by daily news reports and anti-Palestinian propaganda] that such a profound injustice was so recently done -- just after the truly horrible war of 1939-1945 to defeat German and Japanese nationalisms -- and continues to be done -- with the full support of Western governments (and especially of the two governments (U.S.A. and E.U.) I am subject to) -- to the native population of Palestine.

Personal Disclaimer

There is also this, that I lived among Arabs for two years of my life and had a several friends (and 'friend' is not a word I use carelessly) who were devout rather than nominal Moslems. Neither they, nor likewise the Christian and Moslem Palestinians, nor even I, belong to a lesser humanity than the political Zionist Jews. Two of my friends were a Libyan bother and sister; what I know is that the Libyan government the United States of America overthrew supported the Palestinians; what I don't know is whether my two friends are alive or dead.

Pericles could well say that Athens was "an education to Greece [the world]" (Thucydides ii, 35-46); but the Biblical-mythical Israel and now "the [four-fifths] Jewish state" in Palestine cannot be called "a light to the Gentiles" (Is. 49.6 [But note that Isaiah assigns that role to the Messiah, not the Jewish nation]), because it is a caster of darkness [of bad examples, of theft, of walls, of apartheid]. Anyone who refers to the Palestinian citizens of Israel as "Arab Israelis" rather than as "Palestinian Israelis" is a participant in cultural genocide; which is not only cultural: Palestinian children in the "occupied territories" suffer from malnutrition and Israeli-imposed obstacles to their education in what is by all human rights Palestinian's own home.

[According to the Catholic Church (Pope John Paul II), "the darkness", i.e. Jewish tribal exclusivity, is as just in the eyes of God as "the light" (as I read the metaphor of John 1.5: "The light shines in the darkness and the darkness knows it not"), which is a rejection the anti-nationalism of Jesus' teaching that God is the Father of all humanity and that the kingdom of God belongs, not to a particular nation, but only to those who do God's will of loving one's neighbor as oneself -- and "one's neighbor" is all of humanity, not only the members of one's own tribe or nation or race (Luke 4.16-30, Mark 12.28-24, Luke 10.25-37). (But if darkness is as good as light, then what is the point of Catholic Christianity?)]

Open your mouth for the dumb,

for the rights of all who are left

desolate. (Proverbs 31.8)

In 1904 the King of Italy replied to Herzl's request for land to establish his political Zionist -- i.e. nationalistic Zionism rather than religious Zionism -- state in Italy's soon-to-be-acquired colony of Tripoli: Ma è ancora casa di altri: "But it's still the home of other people."

The essential point, of course, about Israel is that it is "the Jewish state". If Israel had been founded as a colony by Dutch and English settlers as was South Africa, it would not exist in the form it that does today, any more than South Africa exists as it once did under Apartheid. What the political Zionist-supporting Jews of Israel (with the Christian Zionists in America and the secular European Zionists) have done and continue to do to the native population of Palestine is no less evil than what the Apartheid government of South Africa did to black South Africans -- It is no less tribal, no less racist [by any other name] --, and therefore Israel would not have the Western support that it has, were it anything other than a Jewish state. Because, of course, support for the national-imperialist ideology that is political Zionism is strong only because of Western guilt over the Holocaust. But anyone who asserts that the persecution of one people (i.e. the Jews of Europe) can justify the persecution of another people (i.e. the native population of Palestine) is someone I do not understand. There should not be two states in Palestine (just as there are not two states in South Africa, one white, one black) but only one, and it should be ruled by the majority. (Look at the tortured language of the British Broadcasting Company's report titled "Israeli anxiety over "enemy within"", and decide for yourself whether political Zionism is or is not racism.) There is no more reason for Palestinians to accept "Jewish supremacy" than there was for South African blacks to accept "White supremacy".

Christian Evangelical Zionism

It is not only a general sense of guilt over the Jewish Holocaust that drives Western support for the Zionist state, but also the ideology of Christian Evangelical Zionists who see the "restoration" of the Jews to "the land of Israel" as the fulfillment of the Bible's prophesies about the "end days" and the "second coming". That ideology is devoutly held by representatives at the highest levels of the U.S. government, including the American president who spoke at Falwell's Liberty University in Virginia in 2017.

Japan's "Japanese versus Gaijin" is of a piece with "Jew versus Gentile": both divide the world into "us" and "them" and both are racist and allowed Colonial Japan's atrocities in East Asia and political Zionism's deracination of the native population of Palestine.

It should not need to be said that not all Jews, nor all Israeli Jews, are responsible either for the existence of Israel or the policies of the Israeli government, anymore than it should need to be said that all Americans are not responsible for the existence of the United States or for the policies of the U.S. government. [But talk comes easy, feelings not so easily.] As I wrote, and continue to think, in the History Outline: "Common people have ever been subjects, never masters of the governments they are ruled by, and consequently no government is to be identified with the people who must live under it." And I wonder whether even Periclean Athens was an exception to this generality.

It is only with the coming of the prophet Jeremiah that God's justice and love will be seen as extending not only to Jews but also to non-Jews, and only with the prophet known as Deutero-Isaiah that Judaism will fully embrace monotheism. (Albert Schweitzer, The Kingdom of God and Primitive Christianity (1968), p. 10, 16) Nonetheless these prophets seem to have had little effect on the Jewish religion: its leading principle continues to be an exclusivity (tribalism) such as would be justified by polytheism rather than by monotheism. It is no accident that the symbol of Judaism and the State of Israel is a military shield wrapped in a prayer shawl.

Of course if there were not good things to be found in religion, if it did not in many ways speak to what is best in us -- so that e.g. in a sense it is true that "salvation comes through the Jews" (for Judaism made love for God and neighbor indivisible. But who is my neighbor? The Africans of that time said to Schweitzer, "That man is not my brother": who is my brother -- is it only the one who belongs to my own tribe or is it as with the merciful Samaritan Jesus speaks of (Luke 10.25-37)?), then how would it survive except in half-light? It is those good things found there -- that is how dogmatic religion blinds us. We close our eyes to the picture in its wholeness, taking in only parts.

On the other hand, some human beings do see the whole picture and nonetheless hold fast to dogmatic religion. And those are human beings I do not understand. I do not understand someone who believes e.g. that the ideology of Deuteronomy 7.1-6 is the good for mankind. I would call that belief "belief to spite the evidence", for the evil of tribalism/nationalism is plain for all to see, and to advocate for it is impossible for any man who seeks what is the good for any man, let alone for mankind. (What is to be thought of an ideology that encourages man to continue in his dysfunctional behavior?)

What is "the sum of the law and the prophets"? It is to love God with your whole heart and to love your neighbor as you love yourself (Matthew 22.36-40), or again: to give to others the same consideration you would want given to you (ibid. 7.12), which has the same meaning as to "love thy neighbor as thyself". (Cf. Rom. 13.9-10: "Love never wrongs the neighbor ..." To paraphrase Augustine: "Whatever is done from love is done as it should be done", and that applies universally.)

That is the culmination of Judaism, its highest development beyond which there is no place for it to go, but which to be fully realized must see the renunciation and dissolution of all tribalism. "Who is my neighbor?" Common humanity, but above all anyone who is in need of my help. It is the merciful Samaritan's love which fulfills "the law and the prophets", according to Jesus, and no one else's in the story.

With dogma, there is no "on the other hand". That possibility belongs to philosophy.

Is the reason monotheism's god is written 'God' in English because in this case the word 'god' is supposed to be a proper name?

The way you use the word 'God' shows not whom you mean -- but instead what you mean. (CV p. 50)

This is of course a grammatical remark. But it requires pondering. Obviously, the word 'God' is not a name-of-object word, but that in itself does not tell you what kind of word [which part of speech] the word 'God' is.

The "Meaning of the Facts" versus the Facts Themselves

Note: there are related discussions: Event versus event-meaning and Preface to historical chronology.

Once I asked my cousin a question of fact of the form "Is it A or B?" and when he replied that he did not know the answer, even though I also did not know, I suggested an answer to him ("It is A, is it not?"). When he again replied that he did not know, and when I again suggested the same answer to him, he said: Are you asking me or telling me? This was an example of what Drury identified as "philosophical clarity by means of a full-stop [period]" (DW p. xii): my cousin could not tell me what he did not know.

However, most of the assertions we make in philosophy are not simple statements of fact; they are instead questions [although they take the form of assertions] about the meaning -- in the sense of 'implications' or 'way of understanding [looking at]' (not in Wittgenstein's sense of 'meaning') -- of the facts. The meanings I suggest are my present opinions -- but in philosophy opinions can only be expressed in order to be revised (further thought about, the question marks "put deeper down"). The spirit of philosophy is that I am asking you, not telling you. (Even though I may need to be reminded of that sometimes.)

The "meaning of the fact" is not the same things as the fact itself. [By 'meaning of the fact' I do not mean the concept that gives sight to the percept [facts are "concept-laden"]. I am taking that concept for granted here. That is not the distinction I am writing about.] The criterion for a statement-of-fact's being true is not the same as the criterion for a statement-of-the-meaning of the statement-of-fact's being true. -- If we want to apply the word 'true' in the latter case, it will only mean: "self-consistent and able to account for all the evidence". Now, that is what we sometimes call a 'theory'; -- however, we must make an essential distinction here: there is a world of difference between saying: "This is reality!" [the hidden, underlying "truth"] and saying: "This is a way of looking at things." The latter is philosophy (as Wittgenstein saw it, not as Russell saw philosophy).

[The meaning of the fact is not as it were invisible; it is not another fact standing beside the first. It is not real; it is not reality.]

Note: it should be asked of what follows: what has "logic of language" to do with questions about the identity and cultural influence of Jews? Well, these pages concern Wittgenstein -- and in that context -- because of Wittgenstein's own strange remarks -- these questions unavoidably arise. But if any of the remarks that follow is motivated by hatred of the straw man (the scarecrow, the man who is not there), then I would wish to see it condemned. In any case the following remarks certainly need not have been stated as stridently as they were.

Further Notes: I would now say these remarks are a caricature, philosophically stupid (as is most of what I write, but logic of language remarks are not hurtful of anyone, whereas these are). One's response to Palestine shouldn't be allowed to affect one's judgment so. I lived among Arabs for two years of my youth, and learned that they are human beings no different from me (and I should have remembered this about Jewish people as well: No one has the right to define someone else's religion for him). "Not all Jews are political Zionists and not all political Zionists are Jews, and not all Jews are responsible for the actions of the Israeli and U.S. governments." And just as there is no Christian religion but instead countless Christian religions, so too there is no religion of Judaism or Islam, but there are many religions of Judaism and Islam. Of course it is easy to say that, but at times difficult to be penetrated by it. Not all Christians are Christian Zionists and not all Americans are support the foreign policy of the United States' government -- Those are other thoughts that can be difficult to be penetrated by in many places on earth.

What can be conceived can also be misconceived. Remember what Drury said about theories, that a theory is a selection of data organized in a particular way, not the only possible selection and not the only possible way. All theory is facts plus imagination. A theory is not a description but an explanation.

But quite apart from philosophy, a social hypothesis has to be definitively verifiable or falsifiable: any other kind is simple prejudice, allowing all facts to confirm the hypothesis which is analogy-proof.

Who is the straw-man?

There are Jews who are political Zionists; there are Jews for whom Judaism is a national identify ideology (and for whom therefore there can be secular Jews). The logical fallacy is to deduce all from that some, to think that particular some is in fact the essence of all; that Israel is indeed "the Jewish state" -- i.e. the embodiment of Jewishness (rather than simply one variant) -- rather than "a state for Jews" (Herzl's expression).

To place blame on all because of the ideology and practices of some -- is irrational, i.e. it is madness, delusional. To assume that the thinking of all is evil because the thinking of some leads them to do evil deeds -- is all too common among men (cf. blaming "the Jews" for Hollywood, the entertainment industry and the press). Indeed it is a primary cause of racism. Wherever I have committed that fallacy on this page, what I have written there is false.

Nationalism as Religion

If God really does choose those who are to be saved, there is no reason why he should not choose them according to nationality, race or temperament. (CV p. 72)

Is such a concept 'God' serviceable (for religious pictures are neither true nor false; they are not hypotheses nor divine revelations, but ways of looking at our life)? The answer is that many Jews and Christians find it so, although in my eyes the god of Passover and the "land" texts is indistinguishable from the devil. (The Gospels, salvation and the doctrine of the elect.)

Judaism [who is that exactly?] has come to be perceived by outsiders (the unchosen people) as an aggressive nationalism; the physical example of this is of course political Zionism. -- Given that one-fifth of the citizens of Israel are not identified as "Jews" (being Palestinians with Israeli citizenship), what does anyone mean if he calls Israel "the Jewish state" [which suggests a state that is representative of the ideology of Judaism or of "Jewishness" [whatever that is when it's at home], whereas "state for the Jews" is Herzl's word Judenstaat's meaning]? Language matters. The creation of the modern state of Israel required the dispossession of the native population (Muslim and Christian Palestinians), just as the creation of the biblical-mythical Israel required the dispossession of a native population (Canaanites), in both cases to be replaced by Jews, in the biblical case through genocide. -- On a cultural level, the perception [whose perception exactly?] often is that Jews want to impose their own views, customs and values on outsiders, just as one nation may colonize another, quite insensitive to, often contemptuous of, the views, customs and values of the natives ["cultural imperialism"].

The Nazis would regard what culminated in the Holocaust (specifically in the Nazi program to exterminate all Jews, both physically and culturally) as the outcome of a confrontation between two aggressive nationalisms. In the eyes of the Nazis, in the language of the Old Testament, the Germanic peoples were the native population of Europe, resisting an Israelite invasion. (Not that the Nazis had any use for the Bible; they referred to Christmas as "the Jesus myth".)

What did Wittgenstein mean when he called himself a Jew? [Wittgenstein's view of himself was not accepted by everyone.] Did he think of himself as belonging to "the Jewish race"? Based on remarks he wrote in his notebooks, where e.g. he refers to Jews as "my people" (CV p. 21: "I should not like my people to become poor ..." [Wittgenstein was 42 years old when he wrote this]), and his constant reference to it when speaking to Bouwsma, it may appear that way. How did Wittgenstein see himself in this instance -- did he have a racist view?

I think I have observed [but what I thought is based on generalization from a selection rather than from the whole: Every group (culture) has sub-groups (sub-cultures), and it is illogical to generalize from a sub-group to the whole group. To select only the best or the worst representatives of any group is bigotry] that Jews [which?] are brought up to think of themselves as having dual nationality; indeed, Judaism is essentially a national [tribal] identity ideology. But having dual nationality -- even if this does not involve carrying passports from two different countries [Medieval Catholic Christians were taught to regard the earth as a place of exile from their heavenly home; what type of citizenship was that?] -- need not be racist, and there are other forms of exclusivity than race. On the other hand, if a group of people only intermarries, if it favors its own members over outsiders, if it promotes its own customs over the customs of the people it lives among, if it holds itself apart, this may be racist, although need it need not be, but certainly it is tribalist. But Wittgenstein did not do those things, and does every Jewish person do them either? [The question of general statements.]

I am confronted by a puzzle, something unclear to me, that I must try to solve -- i.e. conceive in such as way that it no longer appears irrational. [What can be conceived can also be misconceived.] But perhaps I am trying to extract an irrational root. If someone constantly tells me, "I am a this-or-that", I cannot help but wonder what he means by that. Does he mean "I divide the world into us and them, and you are a them"? I am anti-nationalist in outlook (although this I had to learn): I am opposed to everything that divides the world into us and them. And maybe this stands in the way of my understanding here. Because where I ought to say: This is just how things are: "human life is like that" (RFGB p. 3) -- I keep objecting: "But this is just not right!"

Does it make sense [is it "reasonable"] to practice exclusivity and then condemn those you exclude for not liking you for doing it? "Dual nationality." But this may result in "a nation within a nation". And because Judaism is essentially a nationalistic religion [Is it essentially? Some rabbis in Herzl's time denied that Jews are a nation, and from the point of view of religious Zionism condemned political Zionism as blasphemous], it will always be this way. And so long as this exclusivity is aggressively practiced, there will be antisemitism, and so long as one insists that exclusivity is not the root cause, then one will, as Wittgenstein did, regard antisemitism as "a tangle that one cannot unravel" (CV p. 74).

For a Jewish person to assimilate -- i.e. to give up his "dual nationality", or, separateness from the rest of humanity -- is to stop being a Jew; it means giving up his religion [Is this correct? Assimilation is broadening one's identity, one's sense of "we"]. And this is the fundamental problem, because most people do not want to give up their religion. Even I who may not be a Catholic might feel a deep sense of loss if the Church were to disappear tomorrow: Catholicism was the religion of my ancestors and of my childhood: it is an essential part of my cultural heritage and personal identity. Suppose instead that my heritage were a nationalism (tribal religion) and perhaps further that I still held fast to my religion, and then we see the depth of the problem.

In other words: the problem will persist for so long as "dual nationality" (tribal identity, a "chosen people" set apart from the rest of humanity) is not replaced by "common humanity" (Boris Pasternak's idea: "The time of nations is over; now is the time of individuals"). So we will all of us just have to live with it. [In this context, there is Nietzsche's aphorism: "History is the process by which the dead bury the living."]

I would far prefer to be thinking about the logic of language than about this! But Wittgenstein to Malcolm:

... what is the use of studying philosophy ... if it does not improve your thinking about the important questions of everyday life.... And the trouble is that thinking about these things is not thrilling, but often downright nasty. (Letter No. 9)

Tentative conclusion: the cause of antisemitism is "semitism" -- i.e. the ideology of Judaism itself, which is a tribal identity ideology, which creates tension between people by setting up an "us" versus "them" atmosphere, against which the "them" react (Even within the so-called Jewish state in Palestine, Jews form a state within a state and will do so until they drive out all the remaining Palestinians). Human beings are happy when they are at peace [Is this always true?], but tribal rivalry is the opposite of peace.

In our times there is a further cause, namely calling the state of Israel "the Jewish state" (rather than "a state for Jews") because that implies that what the Israeli government does is what all Jews believe in doing. And therefore, in the thinking of uneducated people, every Zionist wrong-doing is the wrong-doing of all Jews and therefore all Jews are to be held to account for it. Equating anti-political Zionism, as Zionists do, with antisemitism has this consequence.

Obviously a tribal identity ideology is not all that Judaism is. Jesus' ethic of love, his picture of an ethical kingdom of God, has no other source than his understanding of late Judaism. The rub is the question: "Who is my neighbor? who is the one I must love as I love myself and in the same breath as I love God?" Is my brother only the members of my tribe -- or is my brother the whole of humanity? And this really is a case of "you cannot serve two masters", because serving both exclusive nationalism and common humanity is an impossibility.

Assimilation involves refining one's sense of "we", but how is this done? (My discussion of this subject needs thorough revision.)

Well over two thousand years ago, in Hellenistic times, the Phoenicians [as the Greeks called them; they called themselves Canaanites] -- a creative and adventurous people to whom the Greeks and therefore we owe so very much -- "assimilated": they abandoned their own race [racism] in order to join the human race (Their tribal history ended as they merged into common humanity). The Jews should have done that as well. Of course much is lost when people assimilate, for they adopt new customs, new languages and cultural identities -- but is the alternative not far worse for humanity: division, hatred, war, destruction? Obviously by 'assimilate' I do not mean that anyone should join "a multitude to do evil" (Exodus 23.2)! But to believe that the only good human beings are those who belong to your own race or tribe is counter-factual foolishness. "Wherever he may be, even if as yet unmet face to face, a good man is already a friend", and a good man is the only identity that anyone should wish to have.

In this sense, of course, 'assimilation' doesn't necessarily require the loss of languages and customs, although it may if a nation employs those to cut itself off from common humanity; and, indeed, language and custom preservation may be justified if it is employed as a defense against the destruction of one people by another. Although, of course, self-defense has its limit: it does not justify murder or revenge, for the devoured to become a devourer, for defense to become offense [Matthew 5.39].

All the word 'assimilate' means is 'to become similar'. The question is: in which ways must people become similar if they are to join themselves together as common humanity, recognizing that as the only identity worthy of mankind?

My own cultural heritage must be nothing more than that, i.e. if it divides me from the rest of humanity then it must be discarded. And although I would regret its loss, preserving it would be far worse even for me: No one who divides the world into "us" and "them" can be at peace with the world, or within himself.

What assimilation amounts to is this: that one's tribal identity becomes nothing more than one's cultural heritage. Our tribal exclusivity ends when our answer the question "Who is my neighbor?" with "Everyone without exception -- and no one more than any other".

[The word 'assimilate' has nothing to recommend itself from the point of view of clarity. As a tool it is a dull instrument. But it's the one we have, and our meaning can be sharpened in discussion. The loss of that concept would not be beneficial, for what other brake is there to apply to sub-national chauvinism ("state within a state")? We can use the word 'integrate', but what is "to be fully integrated" if not assimilated -- i.e. in a state of sincere mutual solidarity with the people of the country one inhabits? (But 'solidarity' here doesn't have to mean 'the same in all respects', but only in the essential respects. Which are? Whatever we are calling "sincere mutual solidarity" in answer to the question posed to Jesus, "Who is my neighbor?")]

Is there a distinction to be made between nationalism and chauvinistic nationalism? Maybe this is the key distinction.

We only give up an hypothesis for an even higher gain. (Wittgenstein's Philosophical Remarks [1929-1930], tr. Hargreaves and White (1975), p. 284)

People will only assimilate (1) by force (e.g. if otherwise they are excluded from government positions and entry to university) or (2) for the sake of something better than what they already have; no one freely assimilates for the sake of something worse. People will only give up their own national solidarity (culture) in exchange for a better one. (The Greek scholars never assimilated to Rome. Why would they have!)

(See how high the seas of language run here!) (PI § 194)

And I am drowning a bit more than a bit: the "waves won't subside" -- because I have lost interest in thinking about this topic, as I have lost interest in the man Wittgenstein himself.

A Metaphor for Nationalism

Of course it is a tragedy when a language (and whatever I wrote above) is lost, but it might be compared to this. Suppose the choice, as was alluded to by Heinrich Böll in his writing, were the destruction of Cologne Cathedral or of a family, just a father, mother, child. Whether the hundreds of people, if not thousands of people of Cologne who were killed by the aerial bombing of that city -- was the cathedral of more worth than their lives were? Obviously our humanity is diminished by the loss of our cultural heritage, but, well --. And that is what nationalism is like: caring more about buildings [or an abstraction, e.g. "the species"] than about individual human beings. (Of course it is not really a question of caring more about one than about the other: human breath is both culture and biology, biology and culture. Nonetheless a choice must sometimes be made. A building can after all be rebuilt, and culture can survive in memory and way of life, but the restoration of life is not possible: a corpse cannot be revived.)

Einstein as artisan and the Atomic Bomb (Correspondence with the Seiei Shinohara)

Albert Einstein wrote to Seiei Shinohara in 1953-54 (as reported by Agence France-Presse (AFP), and published by Taipei Times, 5 July 2005):

I didn't write that I was an absolute pacifist but that I have always been a convinced pacifist. That means there are circumstances in which in my opinion it is necessary to use force ...

Einstein, the "conditional pacifist" (whatever that is when it's at home): I am opposed to all war, but not to every war. Isn't that what everyone means by saying that someone is not a pacifist?

Such a case would be when I face an opponent whose unconditional aim is to destroy me and my people.... Therefore the use of force against Nazi Germany was in my opinion justified and necessary.

In effect, Einstein's view was that: If someone wants to destroy "me and my people", then I will create an atomic bomb that can destroy "him and his people". He wrote to Shinohara: "I have always condemned the use of the atomic bomb against Japan"; Einstein said that he only favored the development of the atomic bomb for its "deterrent effect". This was naive if not disingenuous: it could not act as a deterrent to its use until the effects of its use on human beings had been demonstrated (Poison gas was not used in Europe in WW2 [although the Italian military did use it in North Africa] because its effects had been demonstrated in WW1).

"... to destroy me and my people." Einstein's view shows itself to be: that life is a struggle between the red ants and the black ants -- i.e. between exclusivist [often genocidal (either physically or culturally)] tribes. Because no one delivers a weapon into the hands of someone he cannot control without the implicit acceptance that that person may choose to use the weapon. And that means that Einstein was willing, under some "circumstances", for the weapon to be used. Everything else is rhetoric.

Einstein said that he did not want the atomic bomb to be used against Japan -- why? Because the aim of "Japan", unlike "Germany", had not been to destroy "me and my people"?

Like the artisans Socrates questioned (Apology 22d-e), Einstein doubtless had more talent for thinking about physics than he had for thinking about ethics [and "politics" -- i.e. social ethics, although public morality cannot be divorced from personal morality: murder is murder, whether is your own hand or the hand of your agent that pulls the trigger or drops the bomb]). Although, of course, I don't know that: I have it on authority -- imposed by technology: scientists can do things: so they cannot be intellectually ignored, as some other ideologists could be; -- for how could I myself judge theoretical physics (I have neither the education nor presumably the intellect)?

... the Jewish people to whom I gladly belong and with whose mentality I have a deep affinity have no different quality for me than all other people ... I cannot see anything "chosen" about them. (Letter of 3 January 1954 to Eric Gutkind, as reported by AFP, 13 May 2008)

Einstein's thoughts about religion, society, are not "subtle"; they are simply confused. Einstein says that there is a "people" whom he does not differentiate from any other "people", except that he does differentiate it by its "mentality" and says that he belongs to this "people"; he refers to "our wonderful Spinoza". Einstein's notion coincides with Wittgenstein's notion, that there is a Jewish way of seeing things.

Einstein called himself a "secular Jew", which would be: a non-religious adherent to a religion (cf. "a theist who does not believe in God"), which certainly appears to be a contradiction. In any case, is it not a tribalist attitude -- or racism, by any other name?

My alternative is not to have a "people". Not to want a people. To refuse to be forced into a people, either by bigots or by history. I certainly would not respond to Einstein-Wittgenstein by speaking of the Western people "to whom I gladly belong and with whose mentality I have a deep affinity". I refuse to allow anyone else's tribalism to make me a tribalist -- the essence of which is "us" and "them". I refuse to let other people's racism make me a racist; to me a man is a man, no more no less, but no more than that.

Someone will ask: "But suppose the red ants tried to exterminate the black ants, and that you were a black ant, then what would you say?" Should I say that therefore "we" (I and the other black ants) ought to try to exterminate the red ants? I [hope I] would not budge: I will not kill one child in order to save another child merely because the latter belongs to my "people" or "nation" or "race" or "community" or "ethnic group" or "religion" or "we" or "us" or any other euphemism for 'tribe' anyone likes to use; I owe no more loyalty to one than to the other: both are human beings and I have equal responsibility towards both. "Me and my people", "We" "us" "they" "them" -- the formula [elements] for eternal war.

"I destroy, I destroy, I destroy ..." (But philosophy is criticism)

Roman Catholics [The modifier 'Roman', when used by Protestants, is a legacy from the attempt by nationalists to create "national churches", something essentially inconsistent with Christianity, which is not a tribal-identity religion [On the other hand there is symbolism in that name, because ancient Roman citizenship was "catholic" rather than based on tribal membership ("nationality") (The Apostle Paul was a Roman citizen)] are often perceived as Jews are perceived: don't Catholics have "dual citizenship" ["dual nationality"] -- aren't their loyalties divided between "their country" and the Vatican [religious authority]? Many governments take the position of fascism: that there is only one god, and that that god is a jealous god, and that that god is the government ["state"], denying that religious beliefs and ideals have first claim to the consciences of their citizens and subjects.

Could this be treated as an empirical question: e.g. have Catholics not been able to reconcile almost any political position with their religion; historically, have Catholics been a fifth column for the pope?

Which Catholics? This question, which shifts the focus from the [nonexistent] general to the [existent] particular, should cause this investigation to fall apart. However, that question is simply dodged by asking about "the majority of Catholics", which is a stereotypical ("straw-man") generalization by any other name. But that is the way we learned [were taught] to think by the example set for us by the press and by sociologists and by democracy (vox populi) itself, none of which are characterized by philosophical thinking.

A famous Soviet-Russian author wrote in his dissident memoir that "Jews only care about themselves", meaning about promoting the interests of the members of their own nation ["tribe", "community", "race" (The double-quotes mean: because of course it is clear "what these words mean")]. Could this assertion be treated as an empirical question -- what would that treatment look like? (The treatment would further define the question.)

How is a generalization justified, if is it justified? That is the important question -- i.e. how, in the case of human beings, the particular can justify the generalization, and if it ever can?

[Musical notation which Wittgenstein marked "With Passion"]

That must be the end of a theme which I do not know. It came to me today while I was thinking about my work in philosophy and said to myself: "I destroy, I destroy, I destroy --" (CV p. 21 [MS 154 21v: 1931])

And so it is said that "Jews hate Western Civilization because of its deep Christian roots (They turn Jesus's name into a curse ["expletive rather than a noun"] because of his internationalism [anti-chauvinism, anti-exclusivism]: in the Gospels they want to lynch him [Luke 4.16-30]), because for them the essence of religion is nationalism [Deut. 7.1-6] and therefore they can only understand Christianity as a rival nationalism (and where rival nationalisms are concerned the rule is as always: "one reptile will devour another"). And therefore Wittgenstein, being a Jew, wanted with his philosophy to destroy Western Civilization."

[At Georgetown University a rabbi -- sc. Harold White -- who gave a religion course there in the late 1970s, told us that Jesus belonged in Georgetown's insane asylum: "If Jesus were alive today, I think he would be in St. Elizabeth's." [He would not have been in bad company, because that is where Voltaire would have put Socrates (Letters on the English xiii, "On Mr. Locke").] Rabbi White stated dates as "B.C.E." rather than "B.C.", and joked that the "E" was for "Error", all of which was anti-christian, and for the final exam asked "what the Jewish view of Jesus should be". I'd say of an anti-nationalist prophet, according to whom God grants salvation, not on the basis of tribal membership, but on living justly: the kingdom of God belongs to all those, and only to those, who do God's will, which is to love God with all one's heart and to love all people as one loves oneself, (Luke 4.16-30), as was the Apostle Paul (Gal. 3.28). Judaism is essentially a tribal-identity religion (the relationship of a tribal god to his chosen people) -- indeed, a tribal identity ideology -- and for this reason, if no other, cannot abide a prophet who says such things. In earlier times Rabbi White would have asked us "what the Jewish view of Socrates should be", but when it was declared, as dogma, that religion and philosophy could not be in opposition to one another [Fr. Copleston said he was not at all sure that was true], from that point on the ideology of Judaism began to identify itself by means of contrasting itself with a selected ideology of Christianity.]

But with respect to Wittgenstein, that is an example of why freedom of speech is essential "to heal our wounded understanding": because when we look at this idea in the light of day (as opposed to suppressing it in the dark night of the soul [as the enemies of free speech ("misologists") want to force human beings to do]), we see that it does not stand up to the evidence (and therefore to reason either). First, because Wittgenstein truly loved Western Civilization (its music, literature, religion), the cultural decline of which he felt as a personal tragedy.

And second, because all philosophers in the Socratic tradition are destroyers: Philosophy is destructive criticism. But, as Wittgenstein said: "All we are destroying are houses of cards" (PI § 118) [as in Alice in Wonderland]: Philosophers seek -- quite ruthlessly and unapologetically seek -- the distinction between what I know and what I only think I know (Apology 21d).

"Wittgenstein's view of Western Civilization" (Rush Rhees)

Rush Rhees has a very different account of Wittgenstein's view of Western Civilization, based on Wittgenstein's many remarks deprecating "progress" (Recollections p. 199-201). On the other hand, I don't know if these two accounts are inconsistent, depending I think on which aspects of the West are emphasized.

But, on the other hand, Rhees makes much of Wittgenstein's classification of himself as a Jew and of Wittgenstein's contrasting "Jewish" with "Western" views [aims and values] of things (ibid. p. 200; cf. CV p. 16: "In Western Civilization the Jew is always being measured [with a yardstick] that does not fit him [properly]" [MS 111 195: 13.9.1931]). This is important biographically -- or very important -- to an understanding of Wittgenstein the man; but I am skeptical about its importance for understanding Wittgenstein the logician, except in the context of Wittgenstein's limited aim in philosophy, although why that or any other aim should be classified as "Jewish" rather than "Western" I can't imagine (as if love or hate of "scientific and industrial progress" belonged to any one "people", "race", "nation", "tribe").

To say that the ancient Greeks were not modern Europeans seems to miss the point (One could with as much justification say that pre-Industrial Revolution Europeans, Medieval Europeans, etc., were not modern Europeans), the point being that it was specifically Europe that embraced ancient Greece as its own intellectual heritage (Even Christian theology was based on this heritage); and Wittgenstein's work in "logic-philosophy" must face the standards that derive from that specific heritage -- if it is to be counted as philosophy at all.

I myself do not know what Wittgenstein meant, whether his distinctions were "racist" or "cultural" (extremely vague words, those); obviously one can select some features to emphasize and select others to de-emphasize, and then identify the emphasized features with a "people" or "civilization", but I see no reason to follow Wittgenstein or anyone else in that: it does seem to suggest the view that Wittgenstein condemned when Malcolm spoke about "national character". Hence my remarks about "The Straw Man".

I do not think that the following account, which occurred to me earlier, can possibly be the complete explanation -- because it does not account for all the evidence (particularly all Wittgenstein's remarks in the translation titled Culture and Value).

Wittgenstein's assertion that he was a Jew might be seen in the light of the "confession" that he made to a few of his respected friends, where he expressed his shame over having been dishonest about his ancestry-heritage when he first came to Cambridge. Sometimes an assertion is a double-negation: "I must avow this in order not to deny it."

Tribal Exclusions - From Two Directions

Wittgenstein is a challenge both to antisemites and to Jews who are anti-christian. Because Wittgenstein was a Christian Jew [Yes, to both the words 'Christian' and 'Jew' we must add "in some sense" -- but that sense was essential to Wittgenstein's view of himself].

The woman who taught Wittgenstein the Russian language did not seem willing to regard Wittgenstein as a Jew. This was because one of Wittgenstein's grandparents was a "Gentile" (That's the word she uses) and the other three of his grandparents were baptized (two as children, one at marriage); the woman's response was: ""Some Jew," my grandmother would have said." She branded Wittgenstein's family "an assimilated family" and contrasted it with families "who did not repudiate the old faith and the Jewish community" (Recollections p. 35-36). This strikes me as the racism of the Nazis turned on its head, because the Nazis classified Wittgenstein as a Jew precisely because of his three "assimilated" grandparents. On the one hand repudiation by the tribe Wittgenstein regarded as his own ("my people") and on the other "acceptance [as a Jew]" by the tribe he -- along with all civilized people -- rejected ("People call us barbarians. We are proud to be called barbarians. We are barbarians," Hitler boasted. [Wittgenstein said to Drury: "Just think what it must mean, when the government of a country is taken over by a set of gangsters" (Recollections p. 138).]) I think this is the only time, in anything I have read, that I actually feel sorry [compassion] for Wittgenstein, because it is painful when an important part of a person's self-identity is not recognized [is denied by other people].

But in the end, to me this is all tribalism ["community" = 'tribe' by any other name -- call it whichever name you like]: on the one hand secular nationalism, and on the other hand religion as nationalism.

"That someone cannot be both a Jew and a Christian seems obvious"; -- what then was the Apostle Paul? what was Felix Mendelssohn? The greatest crime against the tribe is conversion ("repudiation of the old faith and community"). And that is part of why in my view: Judaism is essentially a tribal identity religion.

[I suspect that, in the end, it will be hard to maintain that Wittgenstein did not see himself as belonging to the "Jewish race" and that, in his view, that race had certain identifiable characteristics which he shared. This is not to say that I believe that there is any such thing, but that it would seem that Wittgenstein did. (This is just another aspect of Wittgenstein's thought that is incomprehensible to me.)]

The Straw Man (The scarecrow, the man who is not there)

No one would, I think, have reason to say that Jacob Bronowski hated Western Civilization. "But they're not all like him, you know." One perceives something one don't like about "them" and then chooses to call it representative of "them". Perhaps racial or cultural -- whatever-euphemism you like to substitute for 'tribal' -- stereotyping begins in a reaction; the question is: why do we feel the very strong desire to generalize and then to hate the general picture (cf. Drury's fact and theory distinction: "Reality which lies before us at every moment is replaced by the abstract picture we have ourselves created") that we ourselves have created? Well, don't we hate certain human qualities and values? Yes, of course, but why do we want to believe that those qualities and values are embodied by the members of another tribe (or simply: "the members of a particular tribe" ["Do you prefer to hate as a group or as an individual?"])?

Obviously there is a sense in which society exists, as there is also a sense in which round squares exist. There is an "in a sense" for any combination of words. My point is that: there is no existent named 'society' apart from the individuals who make it up. In that sense individuals exist, but society does not; society has only a conceptual existence, which is not to say that all concepts embody illusions. (Why would I want to deny the obvious? I should not have to say that twice.)

[There are in any case many strains of Jewish culture ['culture' (here) = 'customs and constellations of values'], not only one (which is itself a consideration that should undermine prejudice: "them", just like "us", isn't homogeneous).]

I am inclined to think that something so deeply and universally rooted must have its roots in instinct: maybe we are more "genetically" like the red and black ants than we would like to believe: we hate other tribes because it is our nature to hate other tribes. -- History does seem to support this view, and it is very disheartening: a weed in Voltaire's garden that will return no matter how often we pull it out. [Of course, that we do try to pull this weed out also belongs to our nature and must be accounted for by any theory of humanity.]

Maybe I have not used the English language expression 'straw man' here correctly -- i.e. according to common usage [acceptation], or, what I have called "common grammar". I mean 'straw man' in the sense of 'scarecrow', because, you see: he [i.e. the man] is not there; he does not exist.

[It is our old, ancient story of thinking that we know what we do not know [philosophic presumption], as we had it from Socrates at the beginning of philosophy.]

"Me and My People" (Another Example)

Your democratically elected governments perpetuate atrocities against my people and your support of them makes you responsible, just as I am directly responsible for protecting and avenging my Muslim brothers and sisters.

Those words were attributed to Mohammad Sidique Khan who, the press reported (2 September 2005), blew himself up killing and wounding many others in the London subway (7 July 2005). What is the difference between Khan's reported view and Einstein's view? In defense of "my people" I am morally permitted to employ the use of any and all means, terrorist bombings that indiscriminately kill dozens or atomic bombs that indiscriminately kill tens of thousands. There is no difference: in both cases [ideologies religious and nationalistic -- or both: Osama Bin Laden reportedly spoke of Moslems as "a nation" (19 January 2006)] inhuman means are used in defense of an imaginary [i.e. conceptual construct] "people" against flesh and blood individuals, employing the principle that there are privileged ends that justify the use of any [and all] means.

Wittgenstein said to Drury:

You don't take enough notice of people's faces; it is a fault you ought to try to correct. (Recollections p. 126; cf. p. 96: "I think in some sense you don't look at people's faces closely enough.")

According to the press, Kahn must have been "brain-washed" [or "radicalized"] or delusional or a monster. Of course he "must have been", because when someone understands life in a way that is different from my own, then something must be wrong with that person. However, Kahn just seems to have been a young man who took life seriously. Just as Einstein was a middle-aged man who seems to have taken life seriously. Those who find this comparison distasteful are those who cannot see things from more than one [their own] point of view.

Pragmatism's definition of 'believe'

Is "democratically elected governments" a myth, a lie told a hundred times that is now mistaken for the truth? I don't know.

The Pragmatists (if I understand them) would ask: what is its cash value? How is the way someone who believes this acts different from the way someone who does not believe this acts? What is the correlation between words and deeds? In the case of drinking water -- whether safe or poisonous -- this may be clear. If someone believes that a government acts with "the consent of the governed", does he explode a bomb in a subway? The content of the belief may be true or false (or it may be a complex, analyzable into true, false, and questionable statements) -- or it may even be nonsense. The Pragmatists chose to define 'belief' [-- i.e. they selected this meaning of 'belief' out of the many that belong to our common grammar (cf. Wittgenstein and 'meaning', Socrates and 'to know') --] based on the consequences rather than on the content of beliefs.

Science (Archeological and Genetic Research) and Ethics

Note: this continues the discussion M. O'C. Drury's Philosophy of Science.

What a strange thing the social sciences" are. If the evidence suggests a different origin [distinct origins] for the human races, then the research is condemned as racist. But if the evidence suggests a single origin ... then the research undermines all racism: we human beings are all brothers and sisters -- not only ethical siblings but also blood siblings.

But then there is ethics, because the evidence of tomorrow may be different from the evidence of today. Suppose future evidence suggests different origins for the races? This is why ethics is not based on facts. "All men are created equal" -- i.e. equal in human rights ("the rights of man") -- is a statement of ethics, not of fact (But this is not a good example, because 'fact' in this particular case is nonsense -- i.e. undefined language).

Today's science fact may be tomorrow's science fiction. So it would be foolish to base our ethics on scientific theories. (This was something Drury warned against doing (DW p. 110).)

"Wittgenstein and Race"

The religion of Wittgenstein's ancestors -- i.e. of Wittgenstein's grandparents and parents and brothers and sisters was Christian ... therefore, what did Wittgenstein mean by calling himself a Jew? I ask: if he did not mean "racially", what did he mean? Did Wittgenstein mean a "type" (independent of race, nationality, etc.) as in Weininger (where Rousseau could be a "Jewish thinker"), as asserted by McGuinness and Rhees? That won't account for the "my people ... naturally I wish them to be powerful" (cf. CV p. 21). Did Wittgenstein think there was a Jewish race? Why did he refer to himself as a Jew when talking with Drury and when talking to Bouwsma during Wittgenstein's stay in America with Malcolm? Was this purely Wittgenstein's assertion that he belonged, intellectually belonged, to a particular "culture" -- "community of ideas"? Does that make sense of the evidence [account for all the data]? But Wittgenstein wrote:

I often wonder whether my cultural ideal is a new one, i.e. contemporary, or whether it comes from Schumann's time. It does at least strike me as continuing that ideal, although not the continuation that it actually had. That is to say, the second half of the 19th Century has been left out. CV p. 2 [MS 107 156 c: 10.10.1929])

Res severa verum gaudium however that should be translated; I think its sense is like [fractured] Longfellow's "... with the greatest care, for the gods are everywhere"; but it certainly cannot mean a grave seriousness in Schumann's case, but 'seriousness' only in the sense of: dedication, devotion, conscientiousness in the creation and performance of art. Mendelssohn had been a conductor of Leipzig's Gewandhaus orchestra, but when he withdrew Schumann was passed over. [Life of Robert Schumann] Which ideal Wittgenstein had in mind, I of course don't know, but it would be an ideal that belonged to pre-revolutionary -- i.e. pre-industrial, pre-democratic -- Europe. Would there be any reason to identify that ideal with Vienna's Jewish community [of ideas] of Wittgenstein's youth [if there was such a thing]? I do not know of one.

An object of comparison. What if I were to refer to myself as "an Italian thinker" because of my three Italian grandparents (i.e. as if there were an Italian race); -- wouldn't people think I was a fool and wouldn't they be right? On the other hand, there are people who do so refer to themselves -- and because it is an important part of how they see themselves, it is not something to treat disrespectfully. But many of those people -- because their parents or their grandparents were or still are a living memory for them -- really can speak about their cultural heritage; -- but how could Wittgenstein speak that way, given that his grandparents, if he ever knew them, did not belong to what Wittgenstein's Russian-language teacher called the "Jewish community" nor did his own parents? That is, wouldn't Wittgenstein have had to have been referring to race rather than to enculturation?

Maybe Wittgenstein did believe there was a Jewish race, and that a human being's way of thinking could "in some sense" be determined by his race [a racial "community of ideas" as it were]. There is, after all, no impossibility [either logical or real] about Wittgenstein's having regarded himself as belonging to "the Jewish race". [The notion of "race" was in the air of those times; it was assumed rather than demonstrated; but because Wittgenstein continued to refer to himself as a Jew after WW2, it cannot be a simple matter of accusing him of thoughtlessly accepting a concept that had earlier been common currency (CV p. 74).] -- That to me this looks irrational does not mean [imply] that it might not be so -- i.e. that this was not the way Wittgenstein did in fact see himself.

Both the title and possibly the structure of the Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus suggest Spinoza, who, as I recall from school, set out his metaphysics as if it were a series of proofs in formal geometry [It is notable, I think, that Wittgenstein's world-view is similar (but not identical: Wittgenstein did believe that we have responsibilities towards the world beyond simply a benevolent attitude) to Spinoza's pantheism]. But on the other hand, of course one can look for similarities and find them wherever one pleases; it certainly does not follow that by these similarities Wittgenstein intended to identify himself as being in some racial sense a Jewish philosopher (The Latin title of the book which Wittgenstein had himself titled Logisch-philosophische Abhandlung ("Logical-Philosophical Treatise") was suggested by G.E. Moore [cf. the titles Principia Ethica, Principia Mathematica], not by Wittgenstein himself (according to von Wright, Biographical Sketch (1984), p. 9)).

The question of whether there is such a thing as a "Jewish race", (1) demands a definition of 'race' [although this definition would make 'race' a jargon-word, because the meaning of that word, if we simply report actual usage, just is vague [i.e. the word is flung about carelessly]; it is, as it was in Wittgenstein's day, simply a concept that is taken for granted (and not necessarily with more consciousness of the "dangers of words" (Drury); -- there is an "of course" attitude toward the question "Are there human races?", as if asking that question were like asking "Are there male and female?" Early in the last century United States Immigration classified immigrants into 46 different "races or peoples"; the government used the expression "original stock or blood", giving that criterion precedence over mother tongue; whether Wittgenstein would have been classified as German or Hebrew, I don't know, nor whether I would be classified as "Italian (South)" (notwithstanding that no Italian scholar believed that there was an Italian race, even when Mussolini consented to introduce Hitler's race laws)], and (2) is irrelevant to how Wittgenstein saw himself (which is a matter independent of facts and of theories about them: a man just does believe what he believes, rational or irrational as what he believes may be or appear to be to others); what would be relevant would be how Wittgenstein would have explained the meaning of [i.e. defined] the word 'race'. -- But we don't know that.

Wittgenstein and the Enlightenment

In the fullness of his thought ["My work consists of two parts: the one presented here plus all that I have not written."], Wittgenstein did not belong to the "Age of Reason" [the Enlightenment, with its dogmatic self-assurance of the intelligibility of all things (cf. TLP 6.372)]: there were indeed many places in Wittgenstein's life where he could have said: "Here I do not use reason" -- but not because he was irrational, but because: "It's true that we can compare a picture that is firmly rooted in us to a superstition, but it's equally true that we always eventually have to reach some firm ground, either a picture or something else. [CV p. 83] The difficulty is to realize the groundlessness of our believing. [OC § 166]". But on the other hand, Wittgenstein did not entirely belong to the "Romantic Movement" either: instead, he wanted to keep everything in its rightful place; and so his non-rationality should not be over-emphasized either: the Philosophical Investigations is after all a model of the use of critical reason.

Could Wittgenstein have been doing something so simple, and so human, as seeking a personal identity by identifying with his ancestors? Or was dis-identifying with "the West" what he was really seeking? What did regarding himself as a Jew accomplish for Wittgenstein? It allowed him to take up a position as an outsider ... although, given Wittgenstein's family's social and economic situation and his own professorship at Cambridge University and his many powerful British friends, that pose was absurd. Nonetheless, in his view it allowed him to take up a position outside [like an anthropologist] the society he lived in: to see himself as someone in opposition to what he disliked about that society [its fascism and socialism, its formal progress which was not actual improvement (CV p. 7)], as an outsider to its values, to its way of life, and its science. He opposed to that society what he called a "Jewish" view of things, a view which he shared.

Although this distinction did allow Wittgenstein to pose as an outsider, the way he made the distinction was utterly arbitrary and even absurd, given that it was based on supposed racial differences.

Wittgenstein wanted to say: "I am a outsider to this -- i.e. to the values of the society, the world around me, to its way of thinking and of life." As an object of comparison: I too live in rebellion against the values of the society in which I live; -- but I do so as an individual human being, not as a member of a supposed race or group. ["A philosopher is not a member of a community of ideas."]

I do not believe that there is a "Jewish race", and even if I believed that there were some such thing, on the basis of what would I be able to justify saying that Jews do the things that they do from racial causes (rather than e.g. for ideological reasons or upbringing or because of differences in temperament between individual human beings)? I would regard that claim as absurd, certainly unprovable. What would have to be discovered -- "genetic determinism"? "We've run a genetic profile on all black-skinned human beings, and found that their genes compel them to do such-and-such." I think that human experience suggests that such a notion is absurd: were it otherwise, then how could Jews have been both saints and villains, both nationalists and internationalists? (Is racism, then, a matter of instinct [Why do the red and the black ants slaughter one another?] -- because it does not stand up to the test of reason.)

'Race' - What does it mean?

Are there human races? What does 'race' mean here? Why "mean"? -- This passive voice construction [form] is very misleading, suggesting as it does that words have meanings in themselves. -- Because it is always: what does such-and-such individual mean by that word? which may be a matter of jargon: because if someone sets the meaning of a word with more specificity than acceptation [common usage] does, he is creating a jargon-word. Or it is: what do "we" mean, as in what do dictionary compilers report as the acceptation? although dictionary definitions often fail to take us very far: even a general [essential] definition still must be applied in the particular case, and here [in the particular case] is where there is vagueness, "conceptual fluidity".

What do we mean by 'race'? I don't know. Anyone can see that white Europeans look different from black Africans, and that neither of these look exactly like Asians. -- Is that what we commonly [i.e. as a matter of acceptation] mean by 'race': distinct appearance (hair and skin color and the shapes and colors of eyes)?

What biological importance such differences in appearance may have -- i.e. whether they are only skin deep or not -- I don't know. The subject is distasteful [In any case, even considered as an empirical question: the similarities among human "races" are far more profound than the differences: "common humanity" is a fact of experience]. Who could expect a philosophical [open-minded] discussion of this question, given the horrendous harm that racism has done in human history.

The anthropologist or biologist who wants to continue his research, to live a quiet life, would never suggest "natural resemblances in character" with respect to members of the same race. Would a change from repression [self-censorship] of such thinking be good? -- For those who are able to reflect philosophically, of course it would be: because silence here hides a mass of conceptual confusion. But, on the other hand, I confess that it is not something I myself want to think about; it is a question I wish would go away; as Wittgenstein said to Malcolm: "thinking about these things is ... often downright nasty."

Mercifully, it is not a question that we need to think about for the sake of ethics: ethics is independent of any natural science. "All men are created equal" -- i.e. equal in human rights -- is a categorical imperative; it belongs to the principles of ethics, not biology.

Biology. -- Could those who invented the concept 'race' have known anything about modern biology [i.e. genetics] -- or about any science of biology at all? Were they not were talking about appearances -- and nothing else? Were there natural -- as opposed to enculturated -- differences in "character" [The quotation marks mean: this word is as ambiguous as 'intelligence'] for them to correlate? How would non-scientific thinkers distinguish between nature and culture? They would have no way. They attributed various characteristics to other races [as characteristics are attributed to a "straw man"] especially in times of war ... or in times of free trade (slavery).

The question for logic is: 'Race' -- what do we mean by that word?

What was Wittgenstein asserting about himself?

If Wittgenstein was asserting that he belonged to "the Jewish race", what exactly was he asserting? That there is a breed of human beings ('breed' as in 'breed of dogs') with common characteristics, possibly of appearance, but certainly of [intellectual] character? It cannot, I think, have been an assertion of tribal affiliation -- because there is no evidence that Wittgenstein sought actual affiliation to any "Jewish community" (or any other "community of ideas"). When Wittgenstein wanted to drastically change his life, it was not to "resettle" Palestine as a political Zionist but Tolstoyian Russia that he chose (When he told Engelmann that he might join him in Palestine, this was what Russell called "an idea, not a intention".)

As far as Wittgenstein's connection to Christianity is concerned, obviously Jesus, his disciples, and the Apostle Paul were all Jews all their lives, and for Wittgenstein there would have been no inherent contradiction in seeing himself as both a Christian and a Jew -- i.e. as a Christian Jew. Whatever Wittgenstein meant by calling himself a Jew, it was not that he belonged to a exclusivist tribe of Jews at war with "the Christian tribe" and "the Moslem tribe", etc.

There is a temptation to believe that Wittgenstein believed in a Jewish race (-- A temptation is not a demonstration --) because Wittgenstein's statements become easier to understand if .... But why should we suppose that anything about Wittgenstein is easy to understand [fully account for]? [Using inappropriate yardsticks to assess "forms of life" that are foreign to us.]

In sum, it is not obvious -- it is not at all clear -- what anyone who calls himself a Jew means by that. What did Wittgenstein mean by it? I don't know. Does it matter? If one wants to know "what manner of man Wittgenstein was" (Russell), then I think it does. But I will now set that question aside, however, and return to what really interests me: what manner of philosopher Wittgenstein was.

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