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Wittgenstein's Poker: The Story of a Ten-Minute Argument Between Two Great Philosophers

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3.75  ·  Rating details ·  2,397 Ratings  ·  186 Reviews
On October 25,1946, in a crowded room in Cambridge, England, Ludwig Wittgenstein and Karl Popper came face-to-face for the first and only time. The encounter lasted just ten minutes, and did not go well.

Their loud and aggressive confrontation became the stuff of instant legend. Almost immediately, rumors spread around the world that the two great philosophers had come to b
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Hardcover, 352 pages
Published November 1st 2001 by HarperCollins (first published 2001)
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Conrad
Mar 24, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned, philosophy, history
Karl Popper's a sad case. One of the greatest geniuses of the last century, he was an analytical philosopher par excellence at the exact moment when everyone started to ignore analytical philosophy. But at least he got to survive to see himself become extinct.

Wittgenstein and Popper were from opposite sides of the tracks in Vienna, both had taught school for a little while, both Jews who escaped the Anschluss (Wittgenstein with a bit more dignity than Popper), but beyond some superficial biogra
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Brad Lyerla
Nov 18, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ludwig Wittgenstein is widely regarded as the greatest philosopher of the 20th Century and one of the greatest philosophers ever. His big idea was that a philosopher's job is to clarify the use of language to help us think more clearly. Early in his philosophical career, he believed that clarification could be achieved by making language more logical. He suggested ways to accomplish this.

Later, he changed his mind. He abandoned the notion that language could be made more logical. He concluded i
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Apeiron
One of my favorite reads this year, it's delightful.

Apparently it's a legendary anecdote: Karl Popper triumphantly debunking the whole foundation of Wittgenstein's philosophy so brutally that the latter, in impotent rage, threatened him with an iron poker and stormed out.

The main reason it's legendary is because Popper himself wouldn't let it die. He was certain he single-handedly overthrew logical positivism and its conviction that there are no real philosophical problems, merely linguistic ri
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Hamid Isfahani
پوپر و ویتگنشتاین دو فیلسوف بزرگ قرن بیستم، تنها یک بار در یکی از انجمنهای دانشگاه کمبریج با هم ملاقات میکنند. این ماجرا، همان طور که از اسم کتاب پیداست، به جدل میکشد. نویسندهی کتاب حاضر تلاش کرده است علتهای این جدل را بررسی کند. در این بررسیها، گاه مسائل فلسفی بیان میشود و گاه مسائل تاریخی و اجتماعی و حتی روانی. کتاب حول یک موضوع واحد میچرخد اما برای بررسی موضوع، از هر دری سخنی میگوید... . ...more
Troy
Jan 20, 2009 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
This book was incredibly vapid.

The book is a fluffy soap opera that doesn't attempt to seriously describe either man's thoughts, and what it did describe was subpar to any "Philosophers for Beginners" comic books. The authors' characterization of Wittgenstein vacillated between gross simplification to flat out wrong, yet not only did the authors mis-characterize Wittgenstein's work, but they failed to show how either Wittgenstein or Popper's philosophy changed philosophy (and the world) as we k
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Mari
Dec 26, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Those studying Wittgenstein or Popper
Recommended to Mari by: Mel
Recently (re)discovering a keen interest in Wittgenstein and his work, I found myself once again lacking when I tried to confront the material head-on, as it were. I poured over the same books I'd studied in classes (now more than a decade ago) only to find myself asking the same questions. Am I really understanding any of this the way it was intended to be understood?

Then recommendations came from a family member on a more helpful approach to Wittgenstein - that is, approaching from the side. S
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Ahmad Sharabiani
Wittgenstein's poker: the story of a ten minute argument between two great philosophers, David Edmonds, John Eidinow
عنوان: ویتگنشتاین - پوپر و ماجرای سیخ بخاری: ده دقیقه جدال میان دو فیلسوف بزرگ؛ اثر: دیوید ادموندز؛ جان آدینو؛ مترجم: حسن کامشاد؛ مشخصات نشر: تهران، نشر نی، 1383، در 358 ص، مصور، جدول، عکس، شابک: 9643127230 و 9789643127237، کتابنامه ص 333 تا 341 و به صورت زیرنویس، نمایه دارد، موضوع: لودویگ ویتگنشتاین و کارل ریموند پوپر، فلسفه آلمانی قرن 20 م
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Trevor
May 09, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have been meaning to read this for a very long time – I’ve always been interested in both Wittgenstein and Popper, although never at the same time. Which pretty well explains much of the point of this book, I think. And then I’ve recently seen Amadeus again and so I’ve a feeling some of the themes from having that play fresh in my mind have had a part in my reading of this too.

Let’s start with the blindingly obvious – neither of these guys are the sort of people I would choose to be stuck bes
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Brandon
Jul 19, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a stellar book about a legendary story in academic philosophy: the confrontation between Karl Popper and Ludwig Wittgenstein, two of the twentieth century's biggest philosophers -- and two of the most different.

At a meeting of the Cambridge Moral Sciences Club in 1946, Karl Popper gave a lecture entitled "Are there philosophical problems?", in which he propounded a view which he knew would be directly opposed to Wittgenstein's, who believed that philosophical problems are merely a result
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Bob Nichols
Sep 20, 2013 rated it liked it
The authors take a brief moment in time (Wittgenstein's ten minute confrontation with Popper, his philosophical opponent, which involved a fire poker) as a platform to explain the philosophies, biographies and personalities of these two individuals, and the event's moderator, Russell. Here and there, the authors may engage in some journalistic license to add to the story (e.g., "physically small..., neither man was capable of compromise," which comes off as gratuitous prejudice), but generally t ...more
Joshua Nomen-Mutatio
I found the historical sketches which were basically book-ended with descriptions of "the poker incident" to be well worth the read. Very interesting little insights into the lesser known (or even thought of) effects of WWI and WWII. I learned some valuable things about European history, specifically the intellectual and political climate of Vienna leading up to and during WWII.

I also got some useful ideas through broad overviews of both Popper's and Wittgenstein's careers of their philosophica
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Anand Gopal
Jul 31, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: philosophy
In 1946 philosopher Karl Popper gave a short lecture addressing the central questions of philosophy to a small audience at Cambridge University. When attendee and legendary philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein stormed off in just ten minutes, apparently bristled by Popper's remarks, the meeting became the stuff of legend.

In this slim volume Edmonds and Edinow, a pair of journalists, attempt to reconstruct the fateful meeting, proceeding in detective-like fashion to uncover the details. They really hi
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Rebecka Göransdotter
I really enjoyed this. And I mean - really really enjoyed it! All the details, all the turns and of course - the adventurous dive into the minds of brilliance and intelligence: Popper and Wittgenstein.

One thing I did not like was the continuous fixation with the looks of women, well almost all the writing regarding women in the book actually. I don't really see the use of it. This intriguing storyline does not need that extra spicing up, because it already has a handful. Sexualising women in tha
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Safat
Aug 14, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
To sufficiently explain the background of a 10 minute's vehement dispute between two most influential philosophers of twentieth century on 25th October 1946, his book includes a short biography of both philosophers, Wittgenstein and Popper, along with their cultural background, temperament and their influence on other philosophers. Wittgenstein(considered by many the greatest philosopher of the twentieth century) was an ascetic monk, almost spiritual in his essence, who believed there isn't any ...more
Sahar keshmiri
این کتابو چند سال قبل هدیه گرفتم و با اینکه کلا از شوخی درمورد مسائل جدی خیلی خوشم نمی اد از روی کنجکاوی و احساس وظیفه مطالعه کردم.
داستان از این قراره که دو فیلسوف بزرگ ویتگنشتاین و پوپر یک بار با هم ملاقات می کنند و یکی نظریات دیگری رو به چالش می کشه و ویتگنشتاین با سیخ بخاری پوپر را تهدید می کنه.در پرداخت به این ماجرا که در نهایت صحت ش کامل مشخص نشد نویسندگان زندگی این دو نفر، مختصری از نظریاتشون و هرچه که باعث شده اونها به این نقطه در زندگیشون برسند رو بررسی می کنند.
بخشی از کتاب که به تجربی
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Michael Avery
Informative, but I would really like to know more of these men's philosophies. They appear to be at odds about the nature of philosophy, but this book isn't deep enough to explain, nor is it intended to be.
Koen
Jul 28, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Di Cambridge, ada klub filsuf serius, yang dinamai Moral Science Club (MSC). Tiap Kamis malam, mereka melakukan diskusi di ruang H3 di King’s College. Tahun 1946 itu, ketua klub tak lain adalah Ludwig Wittgenstein, dengan sekretaris orang Palestina bernama Wasfi Hijab. Di bulan Oktober, Hijab mengundang salah satu filsuf tenar, yang saat itu berposisi di London (LSE): Karl Popper. Popper dan Wittgenstein sama2 berasal dari Austria, dan berkeliaran akibat perang. Namun selama PD II, Popper berada ...more
Greg Brown
Apr 28, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
While it purports to be about an emphatic argument between Wittgenstein and Popper, the book actually uses that incident as a way into exploring the cultural background of both authors, especially the way they were both shaped by Vienna and the rise o the Nazis. There is some philosophy there, but it's treated very lightly and simply. I probably would have gotten more out of the book if it wasn't retreading so much of what I already sorta knew, but it remains a breezy & easy-to-read explorat ...more
James
This is notable for its clear presentation of the ideas of both Karl Popper and Ludwig Wittgenstein. I discussed it with our Wednesday Study Group and we all found it insightful and entertaining. The book is very well researched having received praise from some of the foremost Wittgenstein scholars, including Ray Monk who wrote the critically acclaimed biography of Wittgenstein's life. However, it is aimed a general reader and those who are looking for detail discussions and defense of the philo ...more
Orrin Grey
I found a paperback copy of this book among a random pile of $1 books in a small-town hardware store, of all places. I majored in philosophy (and English) in college, and I loved Wittgenstein, so I figured I'd give the book a read. It's a little bit all-over-the-place, and it's certainly heavier on history and sociology than philosophy, but it's an intriguing read if you've got an interest in the players, or in the history of philosophy at the time. Plus it's a quick read with a lot of fun anecd ...more
Christopher
Sep 20, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I very much enjoyed this book. The authors do a good job in contextualizing the meeting of Popper and Wittgenstein within the history of the continent, the story of their individual lives, and the philosophical projects they were each working on. Philosophy often seems so divorced from life - the authors show that philosophy is integeral in that it has an effect on the men and women who profess it and the organization of society and it's methods.
David
Aug 20, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to David by: a gift from my lovely wife
Shelves: read-philosophy
A good book, but you will be bored if you know anything about Wittgenstein and/or Popper's thought already. I enjoyed it because I'd love to know more about both but I am busy with the rest of my life and sadly cannot throw it all aside to study these men's works, no matter how much they deserve it. If you want a book that you can read on the bus but will still make you smarter, this is it.
David
Dec 10, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
How Nazi Germany and attitudes towards Jews, teaching, Vienna and the Vienna circle (Logical Empiricism) affected two of the greatest philosophers and their place in the 20th century. Cast list of Turing, Godel, Schoenberg, Freud.......
Ege Özmeral
Kitap sadece 'Bilmece Meselesi' adlı bölümden oluşsa kesinlikle 5 yıldız verirdim çünkü o bölümü okurken Wittgenstein'ın fikirleri kafamda çok daha net oturdu, bu açıdan kitabın beklemediğim şekilde Wittgenstein'ı anlamamda çok yardımcı olduğunu söyleyebilirim.
Geriye kalan kısımları da elbette güzeldi, yazar okuyucuyu sıkmadan her iki filozofun (Wittgenstein ve Popper) yaşantılarını, kişiliklerini, ailelerini vs. çok iyi yansıttığını düşünüyorum fakat kitabın sonlarına doğru yazarın bazı yerle
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Stuart
Mar 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction, history
Wittgenstein’s Poker is the story of era, background, and personalities, and the role of philosophy leading up to a confrontation between two philosophers—Ludwig Wittgenstein and Karl Popper—at a meeting of the Moral Science Club in Cambridge, England on October 25, 1946. The book follows three narrative threads. The first is an investigation of what exactly took place; a difficult endeavor given the differing accounts provided by those interviewed who wore in attendance.

The second presents a co
...more
Liedzeit
Oct 04, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: philosophy
This is the story of the famous clash between Wittgenstein and Popper. It is a story and E & E tell it in a way that should appeal to non-philosophers and philosophers will at least not be annoyed by it. Basically it is the story of a ten-minute argument and to make a book out of it show some ingenuity. Popper was reading a paper in Cambridge. Wittgenstein did not like it (as he seemed to not have liked anybody but him doing the talking). And some time he was playing with a poker (Feuerhaken ...more
Matt McCormick
Mar 14, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The poker and the argument, their just hooks. Edmonds and Eidinow use these props to tell an interesting story none the less. It’s interesting if you are curious about 20th Century philosophy or philosophy in general, which I am. Admittedly, Wittgenstein is my least favorite of the better known philosophers and I find the whole language/logic/mathematics focus of him and his followers to be oh so meaningless. That said, the “poker” story allowed me to be introduced to Karl Popper and has placed ...more
Ian
Oct 30, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016-read
3.5 Stars.
Ostensibly about a 10 minute argument between philosophers Karl Popper and Ludwig Wittgenstein at Cambridge in 1946, but much wider in scope than that. The book delves extensively into the background of each. Both being Viennese Jews we get many pages on the treatment of Jews before and after the Anschluss. Their place of origin being pretty much all they had in common apart from their formidable force of personality bordering on a kind of bullying when it came to arguing their philoso
...more
Sharad Pandian
Using a minor argument between Wittgenstein and Popper as an pretence to explore the rich historical and philosophical context of the time. The only downside is that the actual philosophy is fairly superficial, and with some glaring errors (eg: the authors never make a distinction between in-principle verification and in-fact verification, and treat arguments against the latter as arguments against verificationism itself. In addition, in one place, they bizarrely claim the perpetual possibility ...more
Lupo
Arguta ricostruzione di un periodo di conflitti filosofici culminati con un incontro ravvicinato ad alta tensione tra due pesi massimi quali Karl Popper e Ludwig Wittgenstein.
Lettura molto piacevole intorno a tempi e idee di cui i due autori sembrano molto ben informati. Per chi si interessa di filosofia del XX secolo, una rara occasione di leggerne una sintesi del tutto particolare.
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Goodreads Librari...: Cover problem 2 20 Jan 06, 2012 08:18PM  
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