“All Over the Sofa” — Wittgenstein on Your Facebook Feed

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Yes, your facebook feed features iphone filtered photos of your friends’ breakfast spreads and sand-encrusted toes, but  is Ludwig’s daily play-by-play in the mix? 

This from theUniversity of Reading’s Staff Portal: As part of his research into the life and work of philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein, Dr John Preston, Senior Lecturer in and Head of the Department of Philosophy has collected a large amount of biographical material. So much material that he realised that he could recount the events that happened in Wittgenstein’s life day-by-day as they occurred one hundred years ago on a Facebook account.

Dr John Preston

Since its creation, Wittgenstein day-by-day has had thousands of visits – mostly from 23-24 year olds – a significant number for an academic profile, thus proving that this is an excellent way to engage with a younger audience.

Dr Preston said: “I had this idea a few years ago when I realised that the 100th anniversary of very important events in Wittgenstein’s life was approaching. It was in October 1911, for example, when he went to Cambridge to study.

“I started looking to see whether anyone had produced a chronology of Wittgenstein’s life before. His letters, diaries, and books of philosophical notes form the basis for a detailed list of what he was doing and working on almost every day.”

This information has also informed the Wittgenstein website that Dr Preston has created, which details the philosopher’s family history and childhood, and will cover other stages of his life. The Facebook timeline mirrors just one of these pages, presenting the information in an engaging and sometimes pictorial way.

Dr Preston is committed to continuing this timeline until the anniversary of the time when Wittgenstein published his first book, but also stopped doing philosophy and became a schoolteacher, in 1921. This means he has his work cut out until 2021. However, Wittgenstein did return to philosophy in 1929 – so perhaps Dr Preston will return to the timeline in 2029?

Both the webpages and the facebook pages will be used as teaching tools in future.

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