chapter  7
11 Pages

Language at play: games and the linguistic turn after Wittgenstein and Gadamer

ByWittgenstein and Gadamer NÚRIA SARA MIRAS BORONAT

If there ever was a philosopher whose personality could be exactly the opposite of Ludwig Wittgenstein’s radical temperament, it must be Hans-Georg Gadamer. Wittgenstein’s life was intense and often dramatic, whereas the days of Gadamer were joyful and calm. When Wittgenstein attained recognition in the philosophical world he was barely thirty years old and had not applied for any academic positions, while when Gadamer received major attention he was more than sixty and occupied a comfortable position as a professor in Heidelberg. These differences in temperament become more obvious when comparing the pathos of their ‘official’ biographies: Ray Monk’s (1991) thrilling examination of Wittgenstein’s life contrasts with Jean Grondin’s (1994) symphonic account of Gadamer. But there are more than just differences in their respective personalities; these two thinkers differ in philosophical style. Gadamer was a scholar: erudite and meticulous. Wittgenstein, on the other hand, was an anarchistic spirit who wrote in feverous floods of thought, without giving them any systematic form.1