Skip to content
Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter March 14, 2022

Of Beetles and Roubles: Wittgenstein and Dostoevsky on Intention

  • Tea Lobo EMAIL logo
From the journal Wittgenstein-Studien

Abstract

Wittgenstein and Dostoevsky both ridicule a hypostasizing and fetishizing picture of interiority: viewing sensations and intentions like discrete material objects. The symbols for this misleading view in their respective works are a beetle and a sachet containing thousand five hundred roubles. The beetle in the box passage in the Philosophical Investigations discredits a Cartesian picture of pain as akin to a thing-like entity. The sachet in Dostoevsky’s The Brothers Karamazov represents Dmitry’s intention to be honourable. Dostoevsky achieves a perspicuous view of entangled webs of intentions, as opposed to labelling them like object-like entities.

I show that Wittgenstein’ account of first-personal thought, including intentions, is not based on the Cartesian dualism of the inner and the outer, the mind and the body. To underscore my argumentation, I refer to The Brothers Karamazov, one of Wittgenstein’s favourite novels. I especially focus on Dmitry’s sachet, which inspired Wittgenstein’s beetle in the box example. I show parallels both in content and in form of Wittgenstein’s and Dostoevsky’s approach to intention as a species of first-personal thought.

Bibliography

Bieler, Max: Ludwig Wittgenstein in 1915 – 1916, in: Flowers III, F.A. & Ian Ground (eds): Portraits of Wittgenstein, Vol. 1, London 2016.Search in Google Scholar

Biesenbach, Hans: Anspielungen und Zitate im Werk Ludwig Wittgensteins, Bergen 2011.Search in Google Scholar

Diamond, Cora: The Face of Necessity, in: Diamond, Cora: The Realistic Spirit: Wittgenstein, Philosophy, and the Mind, Cambridge, MA 1991.10.7551/mitpress/5797.001.0001Search in Google Scholar

Dostoevsky, Fyodor M.: The Brothers Karamazov, New York 2002.Search in Google Scholar

Jankovic, Tea: Wittgenstein and Dostoevsky on Aesthetics and the ‘Inner’ Life, in: Majetschak, Stefan & Anja Weiberg (eds.): Aesthetics Today: Contemporary Approaches to the Aesthetics of Nature and of Art. Contributions to the 39th International Wittgenstein Symposium, Kirchberg am Wechsel 2016.Search in Google Scholar

Hagberg, Garry L.: Describing Ourselves. Wittgenstein and Autobiographical Consciousness, Oxford 2008.10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199234226.001.0001Search in Google Scholar

Hampe, Michael: Die Lehren der Philosophie, Berlin 2014.Search in Google Scholar

Holland, Kate: The Legend of the Ladonka and the Trial of the Novel, in: Jackson, Robert Luis (ed.): A New Word on the Brothers Karamazov Evanston, IL 2004.Search in Google Scholar

Klagge, James Carl: Wittgenstein in Exile, Cambridge, M.A 2010.10.7551/mitpress/9780262015349.001.0001Search in Google Scholar

Lawrence, Joseph P.: Goethe, Dostoevsky and Wittgenstein on Truth and Deception, in: Williams, Emma & Iman Sheeha (eds.): Deception. An Interdisciplinary Exploration, Leiden 2015.Search in Google Scholar

Lobo, Tea: A Picture Held Us Captive. On Aisthesis and Interiority in Ludwig Wittgenstein, Fyodor M. Dostoevsky and W. G. Sebald, Berlin/Boston 2019.10.1515/9783110612301Search in Google Scholar

McGuinness, Brian: Wittgenstein and Dostoevsky, in: Bru, Sascha & Wolfgang Huemer & Daniel Steuer (eds.): Wittgenstein Reading, Berlin 2013.10.1515/9783110294699.227Search in Google Scholar

Monk, Ray: Ludwig Wittgenstein: The Duty of Genius, New York 1990.Search in Google Scholar

Richter, Duncan: Historical Dictionary of Wittgenstein’s Philosophy, Lanham 2014.Search in Google Scholar

Wittgenstein, Ludwig: Interactive Dynamic Presentation (IDP) of Ludwig Wittgenstein's philosophical Nachlass [http://wittgensteinonline.no/]. Edited by the Wittgenstein Archives at the University of Bergen under the direction of Alois Pichler. Bergen 2016.Search in Google Scholar

Published Online: 2022-03-14
Published in Print: 2022-03-14

© 2022 Walter de Gruyter GmbH, Berlin/Boston

Downloaded on 6.6.2023 from https://www.degruyter.com/document/doi/10.1515/witt-2022-0008/html
Scroll to top button