Linguistic philosophy

Friendships and rivalries in the golden age of Oxford philosophy

Though it is startling to think of it now, analytic philosophy was once considered a promising subject for satire on mainstream television. When Beyond the Fringe was broadcast in 1964, the viewing public could apparently be relied upon to recognise the archetype of the post-Wittgensteinian linguistic philosopher being impersonated by Jonathan Miller and Alan Bennett. The discursive style on display was anguished, effete and reflexively pedantic; the setting, a kind of implied common room (the only atmosphere this particular creature was able to breathe); the repartee hopelessly clogged with qualifications and smug little obiter dicta and minutely alert to exquisite verbal distinctions of doubtful relevance to the point in hand.

Grotesquely plodding: Late Night Staring At High Res Pixels reviewed

The Finborough’s new show is a love story with the male partner absent. Two women, one Irish and one American, explain their feelings for a London businessman, aged 45, who seems to be connected with the fashion trade. The women, known as ‘I’ and ‘A’, have different functions. ‘I’ is a young Irish model and ‘A’ is the absent man’s co-worker. Both are besotted with him for obscure reasons. We know nothing about him except that he visits east London every Sunday to devour his parents’ roast dinner. ‘A’ attends these meals but ‘I’ is excluded so she texts him snaps of her boobs instead. The women aren’t remotely troubled