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

Wittgenstein's Poker by David Edmonds
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's review
Jun 11, 2010

it was ok
bookshelves: biography-memoir, philosophy
Read in June, 2010

This was a fun book to read. As the title says, it tells the story of a brief argument between two of the 20th century's most influential philosophers: Karl Popper and Ludwig Wittgenstein. In telling the story of that argument, it becomes a biography, telling their individual stories: growing up in Vienna, living through the second world war, developing their ideas and so on. The bulk of the book is more biography, though near the end there are a few chapters on their philosophies. They disagreed deeply, which contributed to their argument when they finally met for the first time, despite being from the same city, at Cambridge in 1946.

Though a fun read, this book perhaps could have been laid out a bit better. The structure seemed almost haphazard as the story jumped around quite a lot and the narrative was not very tight. On both the philosophy and the biography side it seemed to cast a wide net but not go very deep. Of course, perhaps this is the point. It is a popular level book, not meant to be any more than an introduction to their ideas and lives. In this regard, the book succeeds.

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