Excitements of Reason
The Presentation of Thought in Shakespeare´s Plays and Wittgenstein´s Philosophy
1. Auflage, 2007
How do changes in thoughts, feelings, and attitudes come about, and how can they be brought about? How can someone's most fundamental convictions be shaken? What role do moments of uncertainty, of „not knowing one's way about“– an experience omnipresent both in Shakespeare´s writings and Wittgenstein´s philosophical works – play in such alterations? What do Shakespeare´s supernatural characters – witches, fairies, ghosts – have in common with Wittgenstein´s „witch posing questions“? In what ways does Wittgenstein´s style of reasoning resemble Shakespeare´s thinking in the mode of drama? Why do Shakespeare´s plays and Wittgenstein´s philosophical writings continue to generate such an astonishing number of often contradictory interpretations? These are some of the questions that this study attempts to answer by reading Shakespeare´s dramatisations of awareness and thought in 'Much Ado About Nothing', 'Hamlet', 'Macbeth' and 'The Tempest' along lines suggested by Wittgenstein´s later philosophy.