Department of Philosophy

Christian Erbacher: The Intellectual History of Editing Wittgenstein - Summary of Research Results

Post.doc. Christian Erbacher will present the results of his project. See abstract below. Open for all!

large pile of books and magazines
Illustration photo

Main content

The postdoc-project "Shaping a domain of knowledge by editorial processing: the case of editing Wittgensteins work" (NFR: 213080, https://www.forskningsradet.no/prosjektbanken/#/project/213080/no) has investigated the history of editing Wittgenstein's Nachlass in its social, philosophical and historical context.

The well known philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein did not publish much during his lifetime. Instead he entrusted three of his friends with the task to publish from his writings what they thought fit. In the following decades the three heirs - Rush Rhees, Elizabeth Anscombe and G.H.v.Wright - devoted large parts of their lifes to make Wittgenstein's thoughts known. Their book editions still serve as the most widely used gate to Wittgenstein's philosophy. Since Wittgenstein's complete Nachlass is accessible in the "Bergen Electronic Edition", the books edited by Rhees, Anscombe and von Wright have been critically discussed from a editorial point of view. However, there is more to the story of editing Wittgenstein: viewed in its social, philosophical and historical contexts the editorial history of Wittgenstein's Nachlass becomes a fascinating case of what it can mean to inherit and to make a philosopher. The project has collected and investigated new archival material and has conducted interviews in order to reconstruct the intellectual history of editing Wittgenstein with this broad scope. In cooperation with institutional partners in Austria, England, Finland, Germany, Norway and Wales, first steps have been taken to unravel a most fascinating chapter in 20th century history of philosophy.