By James C. Klagge
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36 If you evidently do practice philosophy, but most decidedly not in the spirit of Wittgenstein, then these two struggles may strike you as utterly independent of one another. ) Yet if you wish to think of yourself as practicing philosophy in anything like the spirit of Wittgenstein, then these two struggles must become for you – as they did for Wittgenstein – twin aspects of a single struggle, each partially constitutive of the other. 38 All philosophical thinking and writing accordingly has, for Wittgenstein, its ethical aspect.
Compartmentalism is best seen, I think, as arising out of a kind of recoil from these evils of reductivism. Part of the reason that compartmentalism is the dominant point of view in serious intellectual circles today is because we have so few good examples of the practice of intellectual biography. Most biographies, where they are not utterly superficial and without pretense to confer intellectual understanding, tend to slide, to some degree, into reductivism. , “You only have to consider the way Russell treated his many wives and lovers to see that Principia Mathematica cannot be the work of a great mind”).
K. Perhaps you have a point about ancient philosophy. Perhaps philosophy was once about living a certain sort of life – and you are right that there is, in such a case, perhaps no Philosophy and Biography 23 separating an understanding of the life that a particular philosophy enjoins its practitioners to lead from an understanding of the philosophy itself. But my objection is to biographies of modern philosophers. The relation between one’s life and one’s philosophy is no longer for us what it was for the ancients.