Friday, September 27, 2013

Brecht's "Externalism"

Bertold Brecht once noted (in 1930) that he "thought in the heads of others and in his head others thought as well" (Er dachte in anderen Köpfen, und auch in seinem Kopf dachten andere. Das ist das richtige Denken.) This is no special accomplishment. Indeed, that's what we all do when we think—whether we want to or not. Nor is it restricted to "the political," as Walter Benjamin suggested in 1936. "Private thinking," like Wittgenstein's "private language" does not really exist. It's a myth.

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