[109] "Philosophy is a battle against the bewitchment of our intelligence by means of language." Moreover, the tool against this bewitchment is language. The remark opens with warnings against scientific and metaphysical pretense. The enterprise of philosophy is not to be committed to seeking deep justifications for thinking or abstract theories for why there is something rather than nothing. Epistemology and ontology are to be surrendered and replaced by the more human activity of description. These descriptions are not passive either. They offer up no representations of the way things really are. Rather, descriptions dissolve ethical dilemmas and those pains that gave rise to metaphysical systems that promised certitude and eliminated bad luck by "arranging what we have always known."

There is a blog I like titled "Sugarmama." It is a set of descriptions of one woman's life. I admire her writing immensely precisely because it is devoted to description. Sugarmama will speak of problems she confronts -- relationships, buying a house, enduring demands from her mother -- descriptively. But the descriptions have therapeutic effect for both the author and the reader. For the author, the therapy is seeing the dilemma before her in black and white. For the reader there is a dose of humor that brings the description to life. This is not an example of Wittgensteinian philosophy, to be sure. What would Wittgenstein know about buying a house or taking care of a dog. But I think what "Sugarmama" achieves is what would follow after philosophy has been absolved of its metaphysical and pseudo-scientific sins. It would accomplish something beautiful and useful. Of course "Reading and Writing" and "One Pot Meal" are further examples, but their authors lead lives that are fairly akin to my own. Significantly, I think, when I did a spell check on this entry, the suggested correction for "Sugarmama" was "sacrament." The sublime in the pedestrian indeed.


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