Ludwig Wittgenstein and Klaus Mollenhauer’s Forgotten Connections

A recently completed paper (.pdf):
Klaus Mollenhauer’s Forgotten Connections: On Culture and Upbringing is internationally regarded as a key post-war text in the philosophy of education. This paper introduces this text (translated by the presenter) by focusing on its highly original interpretation of the early and late Wittgenstein. Mollenhauer explicates “upbringing” (Erziehung) as the acquisition of language and of adult forms of life. He sees schooling, reading and writing as exemplified in the picture of (language) learning sharply critiqued in Philosophical Investigations: “as if the child came into a strange country… [with] a language, only not this one.” Turning to the Tractatus, Mollenhauer understands the unsayable (that which is to be “passed over in silence”) not as something beyond logic and language, but as coming before language, as a kind of “pure subjectivity” prior to speech. As such, it is a power and potentiality that animates both language and imagination, playing a central role in addressing the challenges of formal schooling and of upbringing generally.

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