In Wittgenstein in 90 Minutes, Paul Strathern offers a concise, expert account of Wittgenstein's life and ideas and explains their influence on man's struggle to understand his existence in the world.
©1996 Paul Strathern; (P)2003 Blackstone Audiobooks
If you know nothing about Wittgenstein, this book is not going to be of much help, though it does provide a scanty biographical sketch of the man. The treatment of Wittgenstein's ideas is both superficial and dismissive. It is hard to actually figure out what the purpose of this book is, other than to display the author's petulance. Best intro to this philosopher is Ray Monk's biography.
Unless you already know Wittgenstein, this title will be of little value. If you have previously encountered Wittgenstein, you will be very irritated by the authors tone--sarcastic--and the marked paucity of any real information. There is little sense of why Wittgenstein is important and none of his central observations and insights which inform much of late 20th Century philosophy, culture and language.
There are significant errors in history, facts and understanding of Wittgenstein's work that this small effort of 90 minutes thus will not just be a simple review, but rather it likely will impart to the new reader notions of Wittgenstein's thought with such grave misunderstandings that the user might take decades to reverse these imparted folly-laden explanations of Wittgenstein's history, thought and implications for 21st Philosophy. Avoid this. Read the texts. --- RZ PhD
If you are looking for some deep insight into Wittgenstein, this is not the place to find it. However, as with all of Strathern's books, the weaving of Wittgestein's life with his philosophy gives us a fascinating snapshot of the man. Take some of Strathern's categorical statements with a grain of salt: sometimes (in the name of conservation of space, perhaps) glib statements can turn a complicated piece of Wittgenstein's thought into a muddy generality. Because it is not possible to to get close to the significance of Wittgenstein's thought in 90 minutes, the best introduction to Wittgenstein might be to brave the chilling intellectual waters and dive into the Tractatus firsthand, perhaps with a copy of Hans-Johann Glock's Wittgenstein Dictionary (from Blackwell) close at hand to prevent mental hypothermia. A look at some introductions to his work by D.F Pears or Anthony Kenny will undoubtedly help. Despite these cautions, I recommend this book, which is well read by Robert Whitfield.
If you could sum up Wittgenstein in 90 Minutes in three words, what would they be?
aka Cliff Notes
Would you recommend Wittgenstein in 90 Minutes to your friends? Why or why not?
Yes - I've listened to each book in the series about a major philosopher that is available on Audible. Strathern's books don't have the analytical depth found in Will Durant's "The Story of Philosophy" books, but he does a good job summarizing each philosopher's biography, major philosophical points, and criticisms. Additionally, Strathern's breadth is broader than Durant's in that he covers a greater number of philosophers. I believe that the time spent listening to these books has been well-spent.
My reviews for each book in the series about a philosopher are identical.
What about Robert Whitfield’s performance did you like?
Voice is clear, well-modulated, and easily understood, even at 1 1/2 speed.
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