June 2-4  WITTGENSTEIN and the Ethical, the Literary and the Unsayable

Literary examples surface in Wittgenstein’s writing especially in connection with the intertwined topics of “the ethical” and “the unsayable”. The range of works he singles out as furnishing exemplary expressions of ethical thought is itself quite striking, initially apparently resembling more a motley than a unitary category or form of literary work.

This conference will be concerned to investigate passages in Wittgenstein’s corpus, where he discusses specific works of literature, with an eye to exploring the following three questions: (1) How and to what extent do Wittgenstein’s discussions of them illuminate these particular literary works themselves?, (2) how might a proper understanding of Wittgenstein’s remarks about these works enable us to better understand his philosophy as a whole, and (3) what does Wittgenstein mean when he speaks of “the literary”, “the ethical”, and “the unsayable” and what is his understanding of how these are related?

Primary Participants:

Michel Chaouli (Indiana University)
James Conant (University of Chicago)
Michael Fried (Johns Hopkins University)
Martin Gustafsson (Åbo Academy)
Michael Kremer (University of Chicago)
Christoph König (Universität Osnabrück)
Ray Monk (University of Southampton)
Jean-Philippe Narboux (University of Bordeux III)
Joachim Schulte (Universität Zürich)
David Wellbery (University of Chicago)

This conference is jointly sponsored by the Department of Philosophy, the Department of Germanic Studies, and the Center for Interdisciplinary Research on German Literature and Culture.