Sylvester Johnson For several centuries now, at least, a thriving humanities tradition has been established on the notion that being human is in large measure predicated on the ability to think and reason. In contemplating the nature of human ontology, Rene Descartes (1596–1650) famously quipped that the human subject can be known to exist precisely because of thinking, which requires a thinker as subject—Cogito ergo sum.
I. Ludwig Wittgenstein responded to the outbreak of World War I by joining the Austrian Army as an artillery corpsman. Twenty years later, he abandoned teaching at Cambridge University to enlist as a hospital orderly, while his colleagues (some of them) toiled at desks in British Intelligence. In his twenties, he was true to his Austrian roots and later he was true to his recently grafted British roots. He had a primitive, non-intellectualized hold on some truth he should be true to, something that was real to which he should witness. He lacked any articulate basis for regarding that witness […]