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The Ninth BWS Lecture will be delivered by Professor Paul Standish (Institute of Education, London)

Title: On Being Resolute (see abstract below)

At the University of Hertfordshire, De Havilland Campus, Room R110

Friday 23 November 2012 at 5 pm (a wine reception will follow)

Paul Standish is Professor of Philosophy of Education. He is concerned in his work particularly with questions in ethics and education. Author of the excellent Beyond the Self: Wittgenstein, Heidegger, and the limits of language (Ashgate 1992), Professor Standish is interested in the relation between Analytical and Continental philosophy and the productive tensions of that relation. He is co-editor of the Blackwell Guide to the Philosophy of Education (2002) and of Stanley Cavell and the Education of Grownups (Fordham UP, 2011).

Abstract: On Being Resolute

A striking feature of Wittgenstein studies over the past decade or so has been debate over therapeutic readings of the texts, especially insofar as these extend backwards to include the Tractatus. “Resolute reading” has become the term of choice for at least some advocates of this view. Opponents of claims of this kind typically take issue not only over questions concerning the continuity of Wittgenstein’s thought but over the nature and possibilities of philosophy itself. Exchanges between the two camps – insofar as they can reasonably be identified in this way – have been lively, engaging, and sometimes insightful, but not always enlightening. To those on the outside, such debates can readily appear overly introspective, and this can muffle the sense of the wider importance of his philosophy. The discussion of Wittgenstein starts from issues that are critical to that importance, but in some respects these are obscured by aspects of the ensuing debate.

My discussion examines the implications of the adoption of the term “resolute” in this literature in the light of the provenance of therapeutic readings. It also turns beyond this towards a consideration of the significance of the virtue the term names for the reception of Wittgenstein more widely. This involves a return to questions regarding language and what it is to follow a rule.

The event is free, but registration is required. Please email

How to get to the conference venue
Bus timetable from/to London
Map of the campus: Parking is complimentary, but you will need a voucher. Simply ask for one when registering for the lecture.

If you would like to become a member of the British Wittgenstein Society, please send an email to stating your affiliation and/or focus of interest in Wittgenstein.

British Wittgenstein Society



Dr Ian Ground, Secretary

The British Wittgenstein Society (BWS)

at the University of Hertfordshire

Department of Philosophy

De Havilland Campus

Hatfield, Herts AL10 9AB



Wittgenstein on Austrian stamp


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Alain Badiou




“A figure like Plato or Hegel walks here among us!”—Slavoj Žižek

“An heir to Jean-Paul Sartre and Louis Althusser”—New Statesman


Alain Badiou, one of France’s most influential radical thinkers, turns his attention to Ludwig Wittgenstein, legendary maverick thinker and one of the most influential philosophers of the 20th century. One of the key figures of analytic philosophy and standard-bearer of the “linguistic turn”, Wittgenstein was hailed by (including himself) as the ‘last philosopher’.

Wittgenstein’s great work was TRACTATUS LOGICO-PHILOSOPHICUS. Written in his twenties, it had a huge impact on modern thought, and in particular the use of language and logic in analytic philosophy. Badiou dissects the TRACTATUS, and finds Wittgenstein to be an exemplar of antiphilosophy.

Antiphilosophy is defined by Badiou as a way of doing philosophy which questions or attacks the very basis of philosophy itself. Other key antiphilosophers would include Nietszche, Kierkegaard and Lacan.

Badiou addresses the crucial seventh proposition in TRACTATUS LOGICO-PHILOSOPHICUS where Wittgenstein argues that “what we cannot speak about we must pass over in silence”. Badiou argues that this mystical act reduces logic to rhetoric, truth to an effect of language games, and philosophy to a set of esoteric aphorisms.

In the course of his interrogation of Wittgenstein’s antiphilosophy, Badiou sets out and refines his own definitions of the universal truths that condition philosophy. Antiphilosophy shows the philosopher what he is: a political militant, hated by the powers that be and their servants; an aesthete; a lover, whose life is capable of capsizing for a woman or a man; and a savant. It is in this effervescent rebellion that philosophers produce their ideas.

Bruno Bosteels’ introduction shows that this encounter with Wittgenstein is central to Badiou’s overall project – and that a dialogue with the exemplar of antiphilosophy is crucial to the continuing development of modern thought.


ALAIN BADIOU is the author of many books, including BEING AND EVENT and INFINITE THOUGHT. He teaches philosophy at the Ecole Normale Supérieure. His ETHICS: AN ESSAY ON THE UNDERSTANDING OF EVIL, METAPOLITICS,  POLEMICS, FIVE LESSONS ON WAGNER and THE COMMUNIST HYPOTHESIS are also available from Verso.


ISBN: 978 1 84467 694 1 / $24.95 / £14.99 / $31.00 CAN / Hardback / 192 pages


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