Wittgenstein on God and Belief

From "Wittgenstein on God and Belief" from The Bully Pulpit.


“A proof of God’s existence ought really to be something by means of which one could convince oneself that God exists. But I think that what believers who have furnished such proofs have wanted to do is give their ‘belief’ an intellectual analysis and foundation, although they themselves would never have come to believe as a result of such proofs. Perhaps one could ‘convince someone that God exists’ by means of a certain kind of upbringing, by shaping his life in such a way. Life can educate one to a belief in God."


Wittgenstein held that religion was a practice that would be justified through the form of life of which it was part. This resonates with the central premise of Alain de Botton's recent popular exploration in Religion for Atheists: A Non-Believer's Guide to the Uses of Religion. In short, it is unfair to judge religion based on the factual basis of its beliefs. Instead, one should curiously explore how a certain belief structure gives rise to a form of life. It is - then - that one can - perhaps - be permitted to judge.

The way you use the word “God” does not show whom you mean — but, rather, what you mean.
— Culture & Value

Nothing is so difficult as not deceiving oneself

From "Rohit Sharma: The Constant Underachiever" by Anjali Doshi of Wisden India Cricket News.


"In this post-IPL era in Indian cricket, where fame and money are so easily accessible even to players with limited talent and experience, there are very few who stay grounded and appreciate how illusory the hype, celebrity, success and riches are. 'Nothing is so difficult as not deceiving oneself', as the Austrian philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein said.

A very interesting observation based on events of late, and with that I refer to the events surrounding Lance Armstrong. It seems that sporting success gives rise to self-deception. For many, one's belief in his or her talent propels the individual to strive. For others, there are outsiders who feed the sense of talent. In fact, it would be difficult to achieve the heights of sporting success without succumbing in some way to the hyperbolic narrative of sporting prowess. 

Leading Captialism Out of the Bottle

From "10 Practical Pointers for Capitalists from 10 Moral Philosophers" by Dov Seidman in Forbes Magazine


Note: Dov Seidman makes an insightful observation about the changing role of business. His effective use of a line from The Godfather establishes an outdated perspective of a business' relationship with clients, the public, consumers, etc. Seidman presents a clear example of how language games do change over time, and this requires that individuals and institutions work to adopt new perspectives and emerging modes of operating.

"The most famous line from the Godfather – “It’s not personal, it’s only business” – no longer qualifies as sound management advice.  That’s because we can no longer sustain separate, amoral spheres for our professional and personal lives.  Everything is now personal as the world is now not just interdependent, it is morally interdependent.  So much so that I consider moral philosophy to be the “killer application” of the 21st Century.

"Austrian-British philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein understood its power, when in 1953 he wrote, “What is your aim in philosophy? To show the fly the way out of the fly-bottle.” Today, we, metaphorically speaking, as flies who find ourselves in an ever shrinking bottle, are in an even greater need of leadership and direction on how to navigate the interdependent world.

"I believe both can reliably come from moral philosophy.   Moral philosophers examine areas that modern-day domain experts too often ignore:  human values, core beliefs and character."