Wittgenstein’s Poker, by David Edmonds and John Eidinow

On Oct. 25, 1946, Ludwig Wittgenstein and Karl Popper, two great philosophers of the twentieth century, met for the first and only time at a philosophy club meeting at Cambridge University. Recollections vary as to exactly what happened, but strong words were definitely exchanged, and Wittgenstein may have picked up the fireplace poker and threatened Popper with it.

This book (subtitled “The Story of a Ten-Minute Argument Between Two Great Philosophers”) uses the incident as a springboard for exploring the careers of both men, as well as touching on the lives of various people who interacted with them. It’s a quick overview, with less philosophical discussion than I had hoped. But as somebody who know nothing about Wittgenstein, and very little about Popper other than my appreciation for this theory of falsifiability, this book served as a good introduction to their work. Now I’ll have to go track down some of their work and read their ideas firsthand, I think.