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Martin Paul Eve

Professor of Literature, Technology and Publishing at Birkbeck, University of London

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Eve, Martin Paul, ‘Pynchon and Wittgenstein: Ethics, Relativism and Philosophical Methodology’, in Profils Américains: Thomas Pynchon, ed. by Gilles Chamerois and Bénédicte Fryd (Montpellier: Presses Universitaires de la Méditerranée, 2014), pp. 81–104

This piece presents a tripartite analysis of the relationship between the philosophical works of Ludwig Wittgenstein and the novels of Thomas Pynchon. This is broadly structured around three schools of Wittgenstein scholarship identified by Guy Kahane et al. as the Orthodox Tractatus, the New Wittgenstein, and several strands of the Orthodox Investigations (Kahane et al. 4-14). Moving from the earliest affiliation that Pynchon stages between Wittgenstein and Weissman, the underlying theme lies in Pynchon's relationship to ethical relativism as it pertains to Nazism. From this it will become clear that neither relativism of experience and representation, nor an unbounded relativism of non-committal ethics, are central to Pynchon's fiction.

You can buy a copy of the book from the press's website or download a non-paginated/typeset version of the accepted manuscript from this site and (shortly) from the Lincoln repository.