[108] "The preconceived idea of crystalline purity can only be removed by turning our whole examination around." This is Wittgenstein at his most Nietzschean. I was reminded of the power of perspectivism the other night while watching a program that celebrated the life and work of Gore Vidal. For some reason, I've managed to go through life without reading a word of Vidal. A false impression I gained at an early age that Vidal was a prissy, light-weight, rich boy, became an obstacle to a set of polemics I would have both enjoyed and found edifying. What I like about Vidal's approach to the American Empire is the way he forces the reader to scrutinize values long considered inscrutable. Thus he has us look at the founders through the eyes of Burr revealing them to be pompous, anti-democratic, and corrupt. His thesis on Lincoln is well known. Iconoclasm, when done well, leads to transvaluation of values or at least a re-consideration of the cornerstones of our education. Wittgenstein is making a similar demand here. We are going to engage in philosophy from a new location, a different perceptual vantage point. "We are talking about the spatial and temporal phenomenon of language, not about some non-spatial, non-temporal phantasm."


Post a Comment

<< Home