Language and Solitude: Wittgenstein, Malinowski and the Habsburg Dilemma




Author: Ernest Gellner
Type: eBook
Date Released: 1998
Format: pdf
Language: English
Page Count: 228
Isbn10 Code: 0521630029
Isbn13 Code: 9780511016097


From Library Journal In this book, Wittgenstein and Malinowski meet at the intersection of their ideas about language and the intellectual climate of the (late) Habsburg era, by which both were influenced. The book is primarily a highly negative appraisal of Wittgenstein's work?both the earlier and later phases?contrasted with a positive appraisal of Malinowski's. The anthropologist, in this account, is seen to have been "far more original" and, ultimately, more important than the philosopher. This view would, of course, be anathema to many contemporary philosophers?and not only because Wittgenstein has provided them with a lucrative cottage industry. Be that as it may, Gellner's grasp of both men's work and of history and politics, together with a marvelously fluid and engaging prose style, make this a book most academic libraries will want for their philosophy, anthropology, and intellectual history collections. (Gellner, after a distinguished career in philosophy and anthropology, died in 1995.)?Leon H. Brody, U.S. Office of Personnel Mgt. Lib., Washington, DCCopyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc. Review "The theme of this book - the tension between philosophies of individualism and holism - is both timely and very important. No on else I know could approach it with the depth and width of Ernest Gellner, taking on philosophy, anthropology and history with such confidence and ability. The book is full of his characteristic wit, insight, lucidity and clarity of vision...This is a provocative, deeply felt and important work (which) continues the tradition of his major onslaught on some of the closed systems of our century." Alan Macfarlane "Language and Solitude is at once a synoptic interpretation of the thought of Wittgenstein, and Malinowski; a comparative assessment of their world-views - their accounts of knowledge, language, a culture; a brilliant sociological sketch of the common socio-political and intellectual background which they shared; a view of their influence upon their respective disciplines; and a passionate and polemical argument with them and some of their successors, in which Gellner once more and for the last time eloquently and succinctly expresses his own world view." Steven Lukes

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