Rush Rhees on the philosophical life

Rush Rhees on the philosophical life

The difficulties of philosophy have in certain ways the character of moral difficulties. This is what Wittgenstein implies when he says that in philosophy one has to struggle constantly against a resistance within oneself, which is a resistance of will. One is unwilling to let certain ways of thinking go. It was in such connexions also that Wittgenstein said that whoever does philosophy will have to suffer.

It may be suggested also that we should be surprised to find anyone who was a serious philosopher and was at the same time a playboy or man about town. We may feel that devotion to philosophy goes together with a certain asceticism in one’s life, and a certain humility. And this is not just because of the tradition of the Stoic ‘sage’; nor is it just because certain philosophers who come to mind (Socrates or Spinoza, for instance) have lived that way. We may feel that there is something more like an internal connexion between what you are engaged on in philosophy, and the sort of life you lead.

from Wittgenstein and the Possibility of Discourse, 2nd Ed., Ed. D.Z. Phillips, (Blackwell, 2006), xii.

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