Philosophy Weekend: Derek Jarman's Ludwig Wittgenstein

British Existential Film Language Nature

I don't have much of a Philosophy Weekend post for you this weekend. I'm working on some technical improvements to the website, and I'm also pondering some big themes for the next few weekends. But all I've got to show you today is a clip from a 1993 movie about Ludwig Wittgenstein that I only discovered myself recently.

The always fascinating Derek Jarman lays out the philosopher's story in fairly straight fashion, with Chancy Classay playing the role of the groundbreaking philosopher. I particularly like the part of this clip in which Wittgenstein explains to an impudent student that he really can't absolutely know for sure whether or not he just slapped his own face. If he could know for sure, then the word "know" would not need to exist. I'm not as completely convinced by Wittgenstein's famous statement, also played out in this scene, that "if a lion could speak, we could not understand him". (But then, I've always had an affinity for cats, and I sometimes think I understand them better than I understand humans. Maybe Wittgenstein was a dog person.)


Anyway, here's more about the film from Open Culture, and here's a previous Litkicks post about Ludwig Wittgenstein. I promise a more substantial article next weekend!
This article is part of the series Philosophy Weekend. The next post in the series is Philosophy Weekend: Kierkegaard's Birthday. The previous post in the series is Philosophy Weekend: Denial of Death.
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