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By John Stuart Mill

One of many maximum prodigies of his period, John Stuart Mill (1806-73) was once learning mathematics and Greek via the age of 3, as a part of an astonishingly excessive schooling at his father's hand. Intellectually very good, fearless and profound, he grew to become a number one Victorian liberal philosopher, whose works - together with "On Liberty", "Utilitarianism", "The Subjection of Women" and this "Autobiography" - are one of the crowning achievements of the age. the following he describes the pressures put on him by means of his youth, the psychological breakdown he suffered as a tender guy, his fight to appreciate an international of emotions and feelings a long way faraway from his father's strict didacticism, and the later improvement of his personal radical ideals. A relocating account of a unprecedented existence, this nice autobiography unearths a guy of deep integrity, continuously trying to find fact.

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Extra info for Autobiography (Penguin Classics)

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He writes: ‘Now the idea that the real I lives in my body is connected with the peculiar grammar of the word ‘‘I,’’ and the misunderstandings this grammar is liable to give rise to’ (p. 66). At this stage of his development Wittgenstein draws a contrast (one to be made with much greater subtlety in Philosophical Investigations and his mature writings on the philosophy of psychology) between categories of cases where ‘I’ is used as an object and those where it is used as a subject. If I refer to my broken arm, the bump on my forehead, or the fact that I have grown six inches (p.

And the aim of the philosophical undertaking that utilizes therapeutic, argumentative, and self-monitoring modes of analysis (along with multi-voiced selfdirected dialogue) is, of course, conceptual clarity, perspicuity, and—in a philosophical sense—self-understanding. Conceptual perspicuity, as we see at the close of the final section, is the kind of thing one achieves in a case-by-case, piecemeal manner. The fact that we cannot characterize generally a system called ‘Wittgenstein’s method’ or generically define ‘perspicuousness’ itself (as we will see by returning to Cavell and to Cavell’s Emerson at this point), along with the fact that one cannot at the end of investigations of this kind elucidate a succinctly expressed theory of autobiographical or self-descriptive language that stands at the end of a single overarching argumentative line, is not a limitation.

And this shows something of the distinctively personal nature of this kind, or idiom, of philosophical work. The seeing of newly emergent connections of the kind examined in Chapter 6, and the layered and intricate analyses of linguistically induced conceptual disquietudes, take time and care—as does the kind of autobiographical work (whether it manifests itself in a formal autobiography, memoir, diary, or not) considered throughout this study. Some have argued that Wittgenstein’s ‘method’ is essentially (there is a gentle irony that appears Introduction: The Cartesian Legacy 13 on both sides of the debate here) therapeutic, while others have argued that it is essentially more conventionally argumentative in nature.

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