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Wittgenstein’s Performance Philosophy

From the book Aesthetics Today

  • Beth Savickey


In his article “Every Text is a Performance: A Pre-History of Performance Philosophy”, David Kornhaber boldly states that philosophy is fundamentally performative (on no less an authority than Socrates). He also suggests that during the intervening millennia, “it may not be that performance was seen as incapable of sustaining philosophy so much as that philosophy was seen as being unable to survive performance”. This paper reflects on Kornhaber’s suggestion in light of Wittgenstein’s post-1929 philosophy. Wittgenstein’s method of grammatical investigation is inherently performative, and the Investigations is performative in both form and content: i) it is performative as a text, ii) there are specific performances within the text and, iii) Wittgenstein challenges us to perform various philosophical acts beyond the text.

© 2017 Walter de Gruyter GmbH, Berlin/Munich/Boston
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