Publications by Benjamin Mangrum & Alois Pichler

Hi Folks,

A couple of papers in the latest issue of Philosophy and Literature (Volume 37, Number 2, October 2013) that might be of interest to some of you.

Benjamin Mangrum, “Accounting for The Road: Tragedy, Courage, and Cavell’s Acknowledgment,” pp. 267-290.


The nameless father of Cormac McCarthy’s The Road is repeatedly faced with the difficulty of having to account for a world left desolate after a global catastrophe. The father remains committed to such a world even though it is rife with cannibalism and violence. Yet how can he account for this existence to his son? Why pass on such a way of life? I enlist the ordinary language philosophy of Wittgenstein and Cavell in an effort to account for the father’s commitment. I employ the categories of tragedy, courage, and Cavell’s notion of acknowledgment to understand the novel’s unsettling vision.

Alois Pichler, “Reflections on a Prominent Argument in the Wittgenstein Debate,” pp. 435-450.


Does the way authors treat their own works tell us something about how these works are to be understood? Not necessarily. But then a standard argument against the “New Wittgenstein” comes under question. The argument is: the undogmatic interpretation of Wittgenstein’s Tractatus cannot be correct, since Wittgenstein himself later treats it as a work that holds certain positions. My response is: the argument is only correct if the answer to four specific questions is “yes.” The main purpose of the paper is to bring issues of philosophical authorship more into focus within Wittgensteinian interpretation.


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