In the comments section two posts down, my friend Aidan McGlynn cites Michael Dummett's famous quote making what I've come to call the Wittgenstein Fallacy. As Aidan writes:
Does the push away from conservative careful publishing mark a change in the attitudes held by philosophers, or is it rather a response to external pressures placed upon them by current system for advancing one's career in philosophy?...Dummett noted in the intro to 'Frege: Philosophy of Mathematics' that Wittgenstein wouldn't have fared too well in the current climate, given his reluctance to publish anything he'd written.
The Wittgenstein Fallacy is the claim that the profession of philosophy as currently practiced is somehow flawed, because a modern day Wittgenstein would not receive recognition or employment.
Would a modern day Wittgenstein succeed in our times? Wittgenstein was a student of Bertrand Russell at the height of his philosophical powers and professional reputation in the field, right after the publication of the Principia Mathematica and before he started publishing popular works. As a graduate student at Cambridge University, he not only dazzled Russell, but also Moore. Previously, he also had greatly impressed Gottlob Frege. He then went off to war, during which he wrote a book. After the war, the book was published, and immediately had a tremendous influence on the next generation of leading younger philosophers (such as Frank Ramsey and the emerging Logical Positivists). A modern day Wittgenstein would be, say, a graduate student at Princeton in the 1980s under David Lewis and Saul Kripke. His letter of recommendation from Lewis would note that Lewis abandoned a nearly finished book manuscript because of his trenchant criticisms. He would also have an outside letter praising his genius from a philosopher not at Princeton, who was admired by the very best mathematical philosophers (perhaps George Boolos?). As a very young man, right after graduate school, he would have written an enormously influential book, one that deeply influenced some of the best of the subsequent generation of younger philosophers and was soon recognized as a philosophical classic. He would also be bad-tempered, rather self-important, and not a very responsible colleague. Is the claim really that a modern day Wittgenstein wouldn't have tenure somewhere really quite respectable? There are various reasons why the Wittgenstein Fallacy is pernicious. It should be put to rest.