A Whiff of Wittgenstein

“For a healthy politics to flourish it needs reference points outside itself — reference points of truth and a conception of the common good… When everything becomes political, that is the end of politics.” Making everything politics “totally distorts your ability to read reality.”
(Moshe Halbertal, Hebrew University religious philosopher)

(Thomas L. Friedman, “Can You Believe This Is Happening in America?” NYTimes, 2-23-21)

At first blush it seems like a paradox to say that when everything is politics, politics disappears.

The comment may provide a clue, however, to understanding a point of Ludwig Wittgenstein’s thought (which I am struggling to grasp):

The world is determined by the facts, and by these being all the facts (TLP 1.11)
For the totality of facts determines both what is the case, and also all that is not the case. (TLP 1.12)

In his gnomic fashion Wittgenstein seems to imply that in order to perceive what something is, we must also perceive what it is not.

Deprived of their “is-not-ness,” things lose their definition; by flooding our logical and linguistic space, they cease to be.

We then lose our way.

(c) 2021 JMN

About JMN

I live in Texas and devote much of my time to easel painting on an amateur basis. I stream a lot of music, mostly jazz, throughout the day. I like to read and memorize poetry.
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