Wittgenstein's Poker: The Story of a Ten-minute Argument Between Two Great Philosophers

Front Cover
Faber & Faber, 2001 - Philosophy - 267 pages
On 25 October 1946, in a crowded room in Cambridge, Ludwig Wittgenstein and Karl Popper came face to face for the first and only time. The encounter lasted only ten minutes, and did not go well. Almost immediately, rumours started to spread around the world that the two philosophers had come to blows, armed with red-hot pokers. But what really happened?

Wittgenstein's Poker engagingly winds together philosophy, history and biography into a compelling piece of detective work. It ranges from the place of assimilated Jews in fin-de-siècle Vienna, to what happens to memory under stress, to a vivid portrait of Cambridge and its eccentric set of philosophy dons, including Bertrand Russell (who acted as umpire during the altercation). At the centre of the story stand the philosophers themselves, proud, irascible, larger than life, and spoiling for a fight.

'Those ten minutes shook the world of Western philosophy literally to its foundations . . . Edmonds and Eidinow have a very good story to tell, and they tell it wonderfully well.' Irish Times

'A meaty, exceedingly well-researched and engaging book. In its dramatic readability Wittgenstein's Poker brings to mind Simon Winchester's The Professor and the Madman; in the depth and breadth of its scholarship it evokes Carl Schorske's Fin-de-si è cle Vienna . . . a marvel of passionate journalism.' San Francisco Chronicle

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User Review  - jonfaith - www.librarything.com

This was holiday gift from a girl back in 2001. I read it in an evening and then let the girl read it. We soon broke up and I haven't seen it since. Oh, the story is interesting despite the paucity of actual events or substance within the celerbated conversation. Read full review

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User Review  - Lord_Boris - www.librarything.com

3.5 Stars. Ostensibly about a 10 minute argument between philosophers Karl Popper and Ludwig Wittgenstein at Cambridge in 1946, but much wider in scope than that. The book delves extensively into the ... Read full review

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About the author (2001)

David Edmonds is a freelance lexicographer. He compiled the Reverse Dictionary supplement in the Oxford Compact Thesaurus.

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