12 July 2006

Philosophy + Zidane + Headbutt + Your Mother

First things first. (I'm in a reading group in which we're reading Wittgenstein's Philosophic Investigations. The group is composed of philosophy majors, Saint John's graduate students and former SJ graduate students.) After Wittgenstein decapitated philosophy, and her head fell in the water, a robust debate sprang out and up. What's the deal with Wittgenstein? Like, why doesn't he care about philosophy? He just rejects all these issues and says you can't know anything, or he doesn't go into it.

Wittgenstein--of "I make my own air" infamy--doesn't seem to be concerned with, say, Kant's three questions: What can I know? What ought I do? For what may I hope? But really--is Wittgenstein unconcerned with those questions? There's a difference between dissolving philosophic problems and denying that there are any problems in philosophy. There's not a method, but many methods, like different therapies. Like pedophiliaor kleptomania or actions from passion: some problems, like some illnesses, seem resistant to therapy--even very good therapy. Wittgenstein sought the moment when he could stop doing philosophy; he did philosophy until almost the moment he died.

The Guardian looks into the Zidane headbutt and the probable catalyzing insult. It turns out, insulting another's mother (yours is pictured left) is a pretty big deal in Mediterranean countries. The article starts out with an anecdote about Beckham insulting a linesman in Spain. (He received a red card for calling the judge a hijo de puta.)
The Times concocted a letter of apology that Beckham might send to the linesman: Dear Assistant Referee, (Ayudante Arbitro) I am sorry that I called you a son of a whore. (Lo siento que se llamo hijo de puta .) I am sure that your mother is not a whore at all. (Estoy seguro que su madre no es una puta.) I am sure that your mother is, in fact, a respected figure within her community. (Estoy seguro que su madre es una mujer muy respetable en su comunidad.)" And so on.