Peter Geach Sings Frege, Russell & Wittgenstein

This is an abridged version of a recent post by Brian Leiter. The full post which includes the original Heine poem & Geach’s re-worked lyrics (both in German and in English) can be found here. Note: The mp3 file remains available though it’s now past June 5.


Shalom Lappin (King’s College London) writes:

In (I believe) 1974 Peter Geach came to the Philosophy Department at Tel Aviv University, where I was a young lecturer at the time. After his talk, there was a reception at the home of the Chair of the Department. During the reception Geach expressed the desire to sing a song that he had composed in German about Frege, Russell, Wittgenstein, the debate over definite descriptions, and other matters philosophical. I recorded the song on a cassette tape, which became part of my collection, and it accompanied me on my wanderings. It disappeared in our house here for many years until my wife came upon it unexpectedly in a drawer, this past weekend. Some additional rummaging turned up an old tape deck with stereo speakers, long unused.
Unfortunately the tape had split, but several days of analogue engineering and a transplant to a blank cassette (amazingly, still available at Mapplin, right here on the Strand) managed to restore it.

I have produced an mp3 file of the recording [available till June 5 from this link].

The sound quality is not great, but Geach’s lyrics are clear, and he is in fine voice. Enjoy.

UPDATE:  Professor Lappin writes with more information:

“Mark [Textor] points out that Geach’s song is apparently based on a poem by Heine. He has translated the song, sustaining the analogy with the poem. I include his translation of Geach, a published translation of the Heine poem, and the German original of the poem (all generously provided by Mark), below. Many thanks to him for his insights and his translation.

“This would seem to open up new lines of research in Geach scholarship. Anyone interested in pursuing them (or changing their thesis topic accordingly) should contact Mark. I am merely the sound engineer here.” . . . Read on.


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