Tuesday, June 27, 2006

More Rush Rhees

A few more anecdotes and quotes from Rush Rhees' Wittgenstein and the Possibility of Discourse.

Rhees on Wittgenstein:

...the difficulties of philosophy were difficulties of will, not of intellect;—and what is closely connected with that—that philosophy is difficult not because it deals with abstruse and unfamiliar subjects, but because it deals with things that are so familiar that we hardly notice them. (260)

Rhees applying for a lectureship in 1945:

I have published nothing and I have not written anything that might be published. It is not likely that I ever shall. I have had opportunity enough. (272)

Phillips on Rhees' refusal to accept promotions (after receiving his first permanent position at Swansea):

When J.R. Jones was to come as professor in 1953, Heath [basically the chair of the department] persuaded Rhees to accept a senior lectureship to assist the new man. During his first year as professor, Rhees asked Jones, casually, whether he had settled in well. On being told that he had, Rhees promptly relinquished the senior lectureship before the date of its commencement. (272)

Phillips on editing Rhees' work:

Having edited Without Answers, I found, to my amazement, that Rhees had instructed Routledge to pay all the royalties to me. Naturally, I refused to go along with this arrangement. The publishers were confronted by refusals from an author and an editor
to accept money. I then suggested to Rhees that he might want to establish prizes for students with the royalties. He was delighted with the suggestion, saying it would never have occurred to him. (274)

Finally, I can't help but wonder what it was like being an American who went to school, worked, and taught in Great Britain. I can't think of many others who've made that move.


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