Conference Papers

Wittgenstein in Tagore’s Dark Chamber:

An Examination of the influence on Wittgenstein’s Philosophy of Tagore’s The King of the Dark Chamber


It is widely accepted fact that the influences on Wittgenstein by the traditional philosophy are very limited. Among this ‘limited’ group of philosophers, Rabindranath Tagore was the notable ‘one & only’ thinker from the outside of the Western world. In a letter to Paul Engelmann, Wittgenstein discusses Tagore’s play, The King of the Dark Chamber and indicates that he disagrees with the ‘object of inquiry’ of the drama. However, few months later, in another letter to Ludwig Haansel, Wittgenstein claimed that his earlier opinion on the drama should be revised and drama has something grand. I would like to locate this study in the theoretical space between Wittgenstein’s two positions on The Dark Chambers. In particular, this study explores Wittgenstein’s discussion of Tagore’s, play within the context and the process of his philosophical development and examines whether Tagore’s creative works influences Wittgenstein’s later philosophy (the Philosophical Investigations).

This paper was presented to the 39th International Wittgenstein Symposium held on 7-13 Aug 2016 in Kirchberg Austria