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Runes, Wittgenstein, Poetsch and Von List : the origins of the picture theory in occult German nationalism

Author: Kimberley Cornish; Monash University. Faculty of Arts.
Publisher: 2011.
Dissertation: M.A. Monash University 2011
Edition/Format:   Thesis/dissertation : Thesis/dissertation : Manuscript   Archival Material : English
Summary:
"The first task of this work ... is to establish that Wittgenstein's original philosophy concerning a "picture theory", was influenced ... by List's prior anticipation, involving a picture theory of language in which the Urzeichen - the "primitive signs"--Were runes, whose magical properties were deducible from observation of how they worked together in combinations and permutations (somewhat as Hebrew letters
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Named Person: Ludwig Wittgenstein; Ludwig Wittgenstein; Artur Poetsch; Artur Poetsch; Guido List; Guido List; Adolf Hitler; Adolf Hitler; Guido List; Ludwig Wittgenstein
Material Type: Thesis/dissertation, Manuscript
Document Type: Book, Archival Material
All Authors / Contributors: Kimberley Cornish; Monash University. Faculty of Arts.
OCLC Number: 809020136
Notes: Summary: leaves 1-4.
Principal supervisor: Professor Graham Oppy.
Description: 358 leaves : illustrations ; 30 cm
Other Titles: Picture theory in occult German nationalism
Responsibility: by Kimberley Cornish.

Abstract:

"The first task of this work ... is to establish that Wittgenstein's original philosophy concerning a "picture theory", was influenced ... by List's prior anticipation, involving a picture theory of language in which the Urzeichen - the "primitive signs"--Were runes, whose magical properties were deducible from observation of how they worked together in combinations and permutations (somewhat as Hebrew letters function in Kabbala) to express both propositions and relations between propositions. Such an interpretation perfectly fits Wittgenstein's treatment of mysticism (in later sections of the Notebooks 1914-16 and the Tractatus) and of Magic (in his comments on Sir James Frazer's book The Golden Bough). We draw attention, then to a source (List via Dr Poetsch) known to have been fundamental to the development of Wittgenstein's school-fellow Hitler's ideas, as a likely source also for the philosophical ideas of Ludwig Wittgenstein. The plausibility of a Poetsch/List source for Wittgenstein allows us to offer a radical re-interpretation of the Picture Theory of Language, whose correct interpretation is still a matter of lively academic argument nearly a century after it was published. Our goal, then, is to uncover to scholarship a number of related, though hitherto unnoticed, sources that allow back-bearings to be drawn concerning the historical origins of the Tractatus picture theory.

Before commencing, it must be stressed that in drawing attention to the relevance of what Hitler wrote concerning his schooldays, we make no assertion that Wittgenstein derived ideas from Hitler or that Hitler's own ideas gain any respectability from association with Wittgenstein's. This is a matter that should go without saying, but that unfortunately, given the events of 1939-45, needs to be explicitly spelled out. One would prefer to adopt the Wittgensteinian attitude of letting facts speak for themselves, but sometimes political sensibilities demand explicit clarifications and so one such has just been presented."--A roadmap, leaves 3-4.

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