Wittgenstein & Marx International Conference University of Salento Lecce, 9-11 April 2019

Call for Papers

Wittgenstein and Marx

Fetishism and Alienation between Commodities and Words

Ludwig Wittgenstein, in the second phase of his thought, was strongly influenced by Marxism through frequent contact with personalities such as the economist Piero Sraffa and the academic Nicholas Bachtin. His philosophy turned into a critical and anthropological view of language and philosophy, that allowed different scholars to cross Wittgenstein’s thought with philosophers like B. Croce and A. Gramsci. In this perspective, the categories “fetishism” and “alienation”, that are pivotal within the philosophy of Karl Marx and also in the international debate, may have had also a significant echo in the thoughts of Wittgenstein.

Scholars have already suggested that there is a connection between Wittgenstein and Marx but, for the most part, they have taken the Germany Ideology and the Theses on Feuerbach as a point of departure. However, the relationship between Wittgenstein’s work and Marxist theory in Capital has also been discussed, although there are still few systematic and in-depth studies on this issue. In our conference, we will try to answer questions such as: is it possible to consider Wittgenstein’s critique of philosophy as a standpoint against the alienation produced by our own words? Can we understand Wittgenstein’s critique of language through Marx’s analysis of commodity and fetishism? We aim to examine more generally, on the methodological basis of the historical-critical analysis of their works, the thought of both philosophers, detecting consonances and dissonances, in order to clarify and develop their philosophy. From this background, proposals on the following subjects will be considered and their submission is strongly encouraged:

  • a. All those proposals that will focus on the (inter-)relationship of the concepts fetishism/alienation and commodity/word;
  • b. Proposals able to highlight aspects of both philosophers or to establish a fruitful dialogue and comparison between their theories;
  • c. Papers that trace connections with other thinkers or scholars (for instance: Sraffa, Gramsci, Croce, Piccoli, etc.) who have directly or indirectly influenced their thought;
  • d. Proposals on international scholars of Wittgenstein and Marx that already stressed the relationship between both thinkers (for instance: F. Rossi-Landi).
  • e. Proposals on the relationship between Marxist Philosophers (like Frankfurt School, French Theory, etc.) and Wittgenstein’s philosophy. 

Interested scholars are invited to submit a proposal by 30 November 2018 to fabio.sulpizio@unisalento.it or to wemlecce2019@gmail.com.The abstract must outline the main points of the talk and should not exceed 500 words. The proposals may be written in Italian, English or German and should be anonymous and prepared for blind review. A separate short bibliography is also needed. For each talk, there will be time for a 20-minute presentation, with about another 10 minutes designated for discussion. A selection of papers will be published.

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