Ludwig Wittgenstein

Ludwig Wittgenstein
Ludwig Wittgenstein
Photographed by Ben Richards
Swansea, Wales, 1947
Born 26 April 1889(1889-04-26)
Vienna, Austria
Died 29 April 1951(1951-04-29) (aged 62)
Cambridge, England
Cause of death Prostate cancer
Resting place Ascension Parish Burial Ground, Cambridge
Coordinates: 52°13′03″N 0°06′00″E / 52.2176°N 0.1001°E / 52.2176; 0.1001
Education PhD (University of Cambridge)
Alma mater Berlin Technische Hochschule
Victoria University of Manchester
University of Cambridge
Occupation Philosopher, engineer, soldier, school teacher, gardener, hospital porter
Known for Private language argument, language-game, family resemblance, picture theory of language, forms of life, Truth table
Notable works Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus (1921)
Philosophical Investigations (1953)
Parents Karl Wittgenstein and Leopoldine Kalmus
Relatives Paul Wittgenstein (brother), Margaret Stonborough-Wittgenstein (sister)
The Wittgenstein Archives at the University of Bergen
The Cambridge Wittgenstein Archive

Ludwig Josef Johann Wittgenstein (26 April 1889 – 29 April 1951) was an Austrian philosopher who worked primarily in logic, the philosophy of mathematics, the philosophy of mind, and the philosophy of language.[1] He was professor in philosophy at the University of Cambridge from 1939 until 1947.[1] In his lifetime he published just one book review, one article, a children's dictionary, and the 75-page Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus (1921).[2] In 1999 his posthumously published Philosophical Investigations (1953) was ranked as the most important book of 20th-century philosophy, standing out as "...the one crossover masterpiece in twentieth-century philosophy, appealing across diverse specializations and philosophical orientations". [3] Bertrand Russell described him as "the most perfect example I have ever known of genius as traditionally conceived, passionate, profound, intense, and dominating."[4]

Born into one of Europe's wealthiest families in Vienna at the turn of the century, he gave away his entire inheritance.[5] Three of his brothers committed suicide, with Ludwig and the remaining brother contemplating it too.[6] He tried to leave philosophy several times: serving as an officer during the First World War on the front lines with the Austrian Army, where he was decorated a number of times for his courage; teaching in schools in remote Austrian villages, where he found himself in trouble for hitting the children when they made mathematical mistakes; and working during the Second World War as an orderly in Guy's Hospital, London, where the hospital staff did not know that he was one of the world's most famous philosophers.[7]

His work is often divided between his early period, exemplified by the Tractatus, and latter period, articulated in the Philosophical Investigations. The early Wittgenstein was concerned with the relationship between propositions and the world, and believed that by providing an account of this relationship he had solved all philosophical problems. The later Wittgenstein rejected many of the conclusions of the Tractatus, arguing that the meaning of words is constituted by the function they perform within any given language-game. Wittgenstein's influence has been felt in nearly every field of the humanities and social sciences, yet there are widely diverging interpretations of his thought. In the words of Georg Henrik von Wright:

"He was of the opinion... that his ideas were generally misunderstood and distorted even by those who professed to be his disciples. He doubted he would be better understood in the future. He once said he felt as though he were writing for people who would think in a different way, breathe a different air of life, from that of present-day men."[8]



The Wittgensteins

Karl Wittgenstein was one of the richest men in Europe.[9]

According to a family tree prepared in Jerusalem after the Second World War, Wittgenstein's paternal great-grandfather was Moses Meier, a Jewish land agent who lived with his wife, Brendel Simon, in Bad Laasphe in the Principality of Wittgenstein, Westphalia.[10] In July 1808, Napoleon issued a decree that everyone, including Jews, must adopt an inheritable family surname, and so Meier's son, also Moses, took the name of his employers, the Sayn-Wittgensteins, and became Moses Meier Wittgenstein.[11] His son, Hermann Christian Wittgenstein—who took the middle name "Christian" to distance himself from his Jewish background—married Fanny Figdor, also Jewish, who converted to Protestantism just before they married, and the couple went on to found a successful business trading in wool in Leipzig, far from their Jewish origins.[12] Ludwig's grandmother, Fanny Figdor, was a first cousin of the famous violinist Joseph Joachim.[13] They had 11 children— among them Wittgenstein's father. Karl Wittgenstein (1847-1913) became an industrial tycoon, and by the late 1880s was one of the richest men in the Europe, with an effective monopoly on Austria's steel cartel.[9][14] Thanks to Karl, the Wittgensteins became the second wealthiest family in the Habsburg Empire, behind only to the Rothschilds.[15] As a result of his decision in 1898 to invest substantially overseas, particularly in Holland, Switzerland and the United States, the family was to some extent shielded from the hyperinflation that hit Austria after World War I.[16] The family wealth was nonetheless diminished by the hyper-inflation, and later on, by the Great Depression; although, even as late as 1938, the Wittgensteins owned 13 major mansions in Vienna alone, which may give some indication of the magnitude of their pre-1914 fortune.[17]

Early life

Ludwig's sister Margaret, painted by Gustav Klimt for her wedding portrait in 1905

Wittgenstein's mother was Leopoldine Kalmus. Her father had been Jewish and her mother Catholic, and she was an aunt of the Nobel Prize laureate Friedrich von Hayek on her maternal side. Wittgenstein was born at 8:30 in the evening on 26 April 1889 in the so called "Wittgenstein Palace" at Alleegasse 16, now the Argentinierstrasse, near the Karlskirche.[18] Karl and Poldi, as she was known, had nine children in all. There were four girls: Hermine, Margaret (Gretl)—who was analysed by Sigmund Freud in the early 1930s—Helene, and a fourth daughter who died as a baby; and five boys: Johannes (Hans), Kurt, Rudolf (Rudi), and Paul, who became a concert pianist despite losing an arm in the war, and for whom a number of composers wrote works for left hand (the most famous of which was Maurice Ravel's Piano Concerto for the Left Hand). Ludwig was the youngest of the family.[19]

The children were baptized as Catholics, and raised in an exceptionally intense environment. The family sat at the center of Vienna's cultural life, with Bruno Walter describing life at Palais Wittgenstein as an "all-pervading atmosphere of humanity and culture".[20] Karl was a leading patron of the arts, commissioning works by Auguste Rodin and financing the city's exhibition hall and art gallery, the Secession Building. Gustav Klimt painted Wittgenstein's sister for her wedding portrait, and Johannes Brahms and Gustav Mahler gave regular concerts in the family's numerous music rooms.

For Wittgenstein who highly valued precision and discipline, contemporary music was never considered acceptable at all. "Music", he said to his friend Drury in 1930, "came to a full stop with Brahms; and even in Brahms I can begin to hear the noise of machinery."[21] Ludwig himself had absolute pitch perception,[22] and his devotion to music remained vitally important to him throughout his life: he made frequent use of musical examples and metaphors in his philosophical writings, and was said to be unusually adept at whistling lengthy and detailed musical passages. He later played the clarinet and is said to have remarked that he approved of this instrument because it took a proper role in the orchestra.

Family temperament; brothers' suicides

From left, Helene, Rudi, Hermine, Ludwig (the baby), Gretl, Paul, Hans, and Kurt, around 1890

Ray Monk writes that Karl's aim was to turn his sons into captains of industry; they were not sent to school lest they acquire bad habits, but were educated at home to prepare them for work in Karl's business empire.[23] Instead, Anthony Kenny writes, three of them committed suicide, Paul became a concert pianist, and Ludwig a philosopher after a brief period as an engineer.[24] The Irish psychiatrist Michael Fitzgerald argues that Karl was a harsh perfectionist who lacked empathy, and that Wittgenstein's mother was anxious and insecure, unable to stand up to her husband.[25] Brahms said of the family, who he visited regularly: "They seemed to act towards one another as if they were at court".[26] Whatever the reason for it, the family appeared to have a strong streak of depression running through it, or what Anthony Gottlieb called bad temper and extreme nervous tension. He tells a story about Paul practicing on one of the family's seven grand pianos, when he suddenly shouted at Ludwig in the next room: "I cannot play when you are in the house, as I feel your skepticism seeping towards me from under the door!"[27] Fitzgerald and the Swedish psychiatrist Christopher Gillberg argue that Wittgenstein may have showed several features of high-functioning autism; on the other hand, German psychiatrist Sula Wolff argues that he suffered from schizoid personality disorder.[25]

Ludwig (bottom-right), Paul, and their sisters, late 1890s

The eldest brother, Hans, may have suffered from autism. At the age of four, Waugh writes, Hans could identify the Doppler effect in a passing siren as a quarter-tone drop in pitch, and at five started crying "Wrong! Wrong!" when two brass bands in a carnival played the same tune in different keys. He was hailed as a musical genius; he died in mysterious circumstances in May 1902, when he ran away to America then disappeared from a boat in Chesapeake Bay, likely a suicide.[28]

Exactly a year later, aged 22 and studying chemistry at the Berlin Academy, Waugh writes that Rudi walked into a bar on the Brandenburgstrasse, asked the pianist to play Thomas Koschat's "Verlassen, verlassen, verlassen bin ich", then mixed himself a drink of milk and potassium cyanide, dying in agony. He left several suicide notes, one to his parents that said he was grieving over the death of a friend, and another that referred to his "perverted disposition". It was reported at the time that he had sought advice from the Scientific-Humanitarian Committee, an organization that was campaigning against Paragraph 175 of the German Criminal Code, which from 1871 until 1969 forbade homosexual sex. His father forbade the family from ever mentioning his name again.[29]

Monk writes that Kurt did become a company director briefly, but shot himself on 27 October 1918 at the end of the First World War, when the Austrian troops he was commanding refused to obey his orders and deserted en masse.[23] According to Gottlieb, Hermine had said Kurt seemed to carry "the germ of disgust for life within himself". Paul also considered suicide, as did Ludwig.[27] The latter told a friend, David Pinsent, that when Bertrand Russell first encouraged him in his philosophy in January 1912, it had ended nine years of loneliness and wanting to die, though Russell was so worried about his state of mind that he predicted Wittgenstein would kill himself by February 1914.[30]

1903–1906: Realschule in Linz

Realschule in Linz

The Realschule in Linz

Wittgenstein was taught by private tutors at home, until he was fourteen years old. Subsequently, for three years, he attended a school. After the deaths of Hans and Rudi, Karl relented, and allowed Paul and Ludwig to be sent to school. Alexander Waugh writes that it was too late for Wittgenstein to pass his exams for the more academic Gymnasium in Wiener Neustadt; he failed his entrance exam and only barely managed after extra tuition to pass the exam for the more technically oriented K.u.k. Realschule in Linz, a small state school with 300 pupils, and according to Brian McGuinness a stronghold of German nationalism.[31] In 1903, when he was 14, he began three years of schooling there, lodging nearby in term time with the family of a Dr Srigl, a master at the local gymnasium, the family giving him the nickname Luki.[32]

Historian Brigitte Hamann writes that he stood out from the other boys and was bullied; he spoke an unusually pure form of High German with a stutter, dressed elegantly, and was sensitive and unsociable.[33] His first impressions of the school, recorded in fragmentary form in a notebook, indicate there may have been an early romantic relationship with Dr. Stigl's son, Pepi, who died in August 1914: "Mist! [Rubbish!] Relation to the Jews. Relation to Pepi. Love and pride. Knocking hat off. Break with P. Suffering in class."[32] Monk writes that the other boys made fun of him, singing after him: "Wittgenstein wandelt wehmütig widriger Winde wegen Wienwärts"[34] ("Wittgenstein strolls wistfully Vienna-wards due to adverse winds"). In his leaving certificate, he received a top mark only once, in religious studies; a 2 for conduct and English, 3 for French, geography, history, mathematics and physics, and 4 for German, chemistry, geometry and freehand drawing. He had particular difficulty with spelling and failed his written German exam because of it. He wrote in 1931: "My bad spelling in youth, up to the age of about 18 or 19, is connected with the whole of the rest of my character (my weakness in study)."[32]

Jewish background and Hitler

There is much debate about the extent to which Wittgenstein and his siblings, who were of 3/4 Jewish descent, saw themselves as Jews, and the issue has arisen in particular regarding Wittgenstein's schooldays, because Adolf Hitler was at the same school for part of the same time.[35] Laurence Goldstein argues it is "overwhelmingly probable" the boys met each other: that Hitler, vicious and aggressive, would have hated and envied Wittgenstein, a "stammering, precocious, precious, aristocratic upstart ..."[36] Other commentators have dismissed as irresponsible and uninformed any suggestion that Wittgenstein's wealth and unusual personality may have fed Hitler's antisemitism, in part because there is no indication that Hitler would have seen Wittgenstein as Jewish.[37]

Vienna was at that time one of the most antisemitic cities in Europe, and any hint of a Jewish heritage had the potential to weigh heavily on a family. Certainly the Wittgenstein children were aware of their ancestry. Paul had created a family tree showing their descent from the Chief Rabbi Samson Wertheimer (1678–1724), the banker Samuel Oppenheimer (1678–1724), and the composers Giacomo Meyerbeer (1791–1864) and Felix Mendelssohn (1809–1847). There was nevertheless a streak of antisemitism among them. Wittgenstein famously compared the Jewish people to a Beule (boil or tumour) on Austrian society.[38] His grandfather, Hermann Christian Wittgenstein, himself a Jew, had refused to allow his children to marry other Jews, and Wittgenstein's father had said that "in matters of honour one does not consult a Jew." McGuinness argues that Wittgenstein saw himself as completely German[35]Ray Monk writes that when Ludwig and Paul wanted to join a gym in Vienna that was restricted to those of Aryan origin, Ludwig was willing to lie about his background, whereas Paul was not.[34]

Wittgenstein and Hitler were born just six days apart, though Hitler had been held back a year, while Wittgenstein was moved forward by one, so they ended up two grades apart at the Realschule.[39] Monk estimates they were both at the school during the 1904–1905 school year, but says there is no evidence they had anything to do with each other.[40] Hitler referred in Mein Kampf to a Jewish boy at the school, but there were 17 Jews there at the time: "At the Realschule I knew one Jewish boy. We were all on our guard in our relations with him, but only because his reticence and certain actions of his warned us to be discreet. Beyond that my companions and myself formed no particular opinion in regard to him."[41] Several commentators have argued that a school photograph of Hitler (see above right; Hitler is on the top right) may show Wittgenstein in the lower left corner,[42] but Hamann says the photograph stems from 1900 or 1901, before Wittgenstein's time.[43]

In his own writings[44] Wittgenstein frequently referred to himself as Jewish, at times as part of an apparent self-flagellation. For example, while berating himself for being a "reproductive" as opposed to "productive" thinker, he attributed this to his own Jewish sense of identity, writing: "The saint is the only Jewish genius. Even the greatest Jewish thinker is no more than talented. (Myself for instance)".[45] While Wittgenstein would later claim that "[m]y thoughts are 100% Hebraic",[46] as Hans Sluga has argued, if so, "his was a self-doubting Judaism, which had always the possibility of collapsing into a destructive self-hatred (as it did in Weininger's case) but which also held an immense promise of innovation and genius."[47]

Loss of faith

It was while he was at the Realschule that he decided he had lost his faith in God. He nevertheless clung to the importance of the idea of confession. He wrote in his diaries about having made a major confession to his oldest sister, Hermine, while he was at the Realschule; Monk writes that it may have been about his loss of faith. He also discussed it with Gretl, his other sister, who directed him to Arthur Schopenhauer's The World as Will and Representation. As a teenager, Wittgenstein adopted Schopenhauer's epistemological idealism. However, after his study of the philosophy of mathematics, he abandoned epistemological idealism for Gottlob Frege's conceptual realism.[48] In later years, Wittgenstein was highly dismissive of Schopenhauer, describing him as an ultimately "shallow" thinker: "Schopenhauer has quite a crude mind... where real depth starts, his comes to an end".[49]

Influence of Otto Weininger

Otto Weininger (1880–1903): Wittgenstein was greatly influenced by his suicide.

During Wittgenstein's first term at the Realschule, on 3 October 1903, the Viennese philosopher Otto Weininger rented the room in the house at Schwarzspanierstrasse 15, Vienna, that Beethoven had died in, and shot himself. His book Geschlecht und Charakter (Sex and Character) had been published to mostly terrible reviews a few months earlier, but it had received a great review from August Strindberg; that and his suicide turned Weininger into a cult figure, and someone Wittgenstein came to admire. Monk writes that Wittgenstein was ashamed that he had not also killed himself, seeing Weininger's suicide as an ethical deed in a rotten world—a world that Weininger saw composed of superficial anarchy and a materialist interpretation of history, where there are no great philosophers or artists, and where genius is a form of madness—and recommended to everyone that they read Weininger's book.[50]

Weininger argued that the concepts male and female exist only as Platonic forms, and that the essence of woman is sexual. Whereas men are basically rational, women operate only at the level of their emotions and sexual organs; Jews are similar, saturated with femininity, with no sense of right and wrong, and no soul. Wittgenstein saw in this argument the answers to issues he had been struggling with. Weininger argues that man must choose between his masculine and feminine sides, consciousness and unconsciousness, Platonic love and sexuality. Love and sexual desire stand in contradiction, and the love between a woman and a man is therefore doomed to misery or immorality. The only life worth living is the spiritual one—to live as a woman or a Jew means one has no right to live at all; the choice is genius or death. Monk writes that Wittgenstein's thoughts of suicide, which receded to some extent only when Russell began to admire his work in 1912, suggest he had embraced Weininger's bleak outlook.[50] Many years later, as a professor at Cambridge, Wittgenstein distributed copies of Weininger's book to his bemused academic colleagues. He said that Weininger's arguments were wrong, but that it was the way in they were wrong that was interesting.[51]

1906–1913: University

Engineering at Berlin and Manchester

The old Technische Hochschule in Charlottenburg, Berlin

He began his studies in mechanical engineering at the Technische Hochschule in Charlottenburg, Berlin, on 23 October 1906, lodging with the family of a professor there, Dr Jolles. He attended for three semesters, and was awarded a diploma on 5 May 1908, after developing an interest in aeronautics.[52] He arrived at the Victoria University of Manchester in the spring of 1908 to do his doctorate, full of plans for aeronautical projects, including designing and flying his own plane. He conducted research into the behavior of kites in the upper atmosphere, experimenting at a meteorological observation site near Glossop, and living nearby at the Grouse Inn, a pub on Chunal Road, Derbyshire, where he was one of only two guests, along with a Mr. Rimmer. He told Hermine he loved the isolation of the Grouse Inn, but was less enamored of the toilet facilities.[53] He also worked on the design of a propeller with small jet engines on the end of its blades, something he patented in 1911 and which earned him a research studentship from the university in the autumn of 1908.[54]

Wittgenstein stayed at the Grouse Inn in 1908 while engaged in research near Glossop.[53]

It was around this time that he became interested in the foundations of mathematics, particularly after reading Bertrand Russell's The Principles of Mathematics (1903), and Gottlob Frege's Grundgesetze der Arithmetik, vol. 1 (1893) and vol. 2 (1903).[55] Wittgenstein's sister Hermine said he became obsessed with mathematics as a result, and was anyway losing interest in aeronautics. He decided instead that he needed to study philosophy, describing himself as in a "constant, indescribable, almost pathological state of agitation".[54] In the summer of 1911 he decided to visit Frege at the University of Jena to show him some philosophy he had written, and to ask whether it was worth pursuing; the work did not survive, perhaps because, as he said, Frege wiped the floor with him.[56] He wrote: "I was shown into Frege's study. Frege was a small, neat man with a pointed beard who bounced around the room as he talked. He absolutely wiped the floor with me, and I felt very depressed; but at the end he said 'You must come again', so I cheered up. I had several discussions with him after that. Frege would never talk about anything but logic and mathematics, if I started on some other subject, he would say something polite and then plunge back into logic and mathematics."[57]

Arrival at Cambridge

Wittgenstein wanted to study with Frege, but Frege suggested he attend the University of Cambridge to study under Russell, so on 18 October 1911 Wittgenstein arrived unannounced at Russell's rooms in Trinity College.[58] Russell was having tea with C.K. Ogden, when, according to Russell, "... an unknown German appeared, speaking very little English but refusing to speak German. He turned out to be a man who had learned engineering at Charlottenburg, but during this course had acquired, by himself, a passion for the philosophy of mathematics & has now come to Cambridge on purpose to hear me."[56] He was soon not only attending Russell's lectures, but dominating them. The lectures were poorly attended and Russell often found himself lecturing only to C.D. Broad, E.H. Neville, and H.T.J. Norton, so he was quite pleased at first when Wittgenstein turned up, though less so as the weeks wore on.[56] Wittgenstein started following him after lectures back to his rooms to discuss more philosophy, until it was time for the evening meal in Hall. Russell grew irritated; he wrote to his lover Lady Ottoline Morrell: "My German friend threatens to be an infliction."[59]

Russell revised his opinion, and in fact came to be strongly influenced by Wittgenstein's forceful personality. He wrote in November 1911 that he had at first thought Wittgenstein might be a crank, but soon decided he was a genius: "Some of his early views made the decision difficult. He maintained, for example, at one time that all existential propositions are meaningless. This was in a lecture room, and I invited him to consider the proposition: 'There is no hippopotamus in this room at present.' When he refused to believe this, I looked under all the desks without finding one; but he remained unconvinced."[59] Three months after Wittgenstein's arrival he told Morrell: "I love him & feel he will solve the problems I am too old to solve ... He is the young man one hopes for."[60] The role-reversal between him and Wittgenstein was such that he wrote in 1916, after Wittgenstein had criticized his own work: "His criticism, 'tho I don't think he realized it at the time, was an event of first-rate importance in my life, and affected everything I have done since. I saw that he was right, and I saw that I could not hope ever again to do fundamental work in philosophy."[61]

Moral Sciences Club and Apostles

In 1912 Wittgenstein joined the Cambridge Moral Sciences Club, an influential discussion group for philosophy dons and students, delivering his first paper there on 29 November that year, a four-minute talk defining philosophy as "all those primitive propositions which are assumed as true without proof by the various sciences."[62] From that point on he dominated the society, to the point where special starred meetings had to be organized which dons were not to attend, though everyone knew the arrangement was directed only at Wittgenstein. He had to stop attending entirely in the 1930s after complaints that he gave no one else a chance to speak.[63]

The club became legendary within philosophy because of a meeting on 25 October 1946 at Richard Braithwaite's rooms in King's, where Karl Popper, another Viennese philosopher, had been invited as the guest speaker. Popper's paper was "Are there philosophical problems?", in which he struck up a position against Wittgenstein's, contending that problems in philosophy are real, not just linguistic puzzles as Wittgenstein argued. Accounts vary as to what happened next, but Wittgenstein was apparently infuriated and started waving a hot poker at Popper, demanding that Popper give him an example of a moral rule. Popper offered one—"Not to threaten visiting speakers with pokers"—at which point Russell had to tell Wittgenstein to put the poker down and Wittgenstein stormed out. It was the only time the philosophers, three of the most eminent in the world, were ever in the same room together.[64] The minutes record that the meeting was "charged to an unusual degree with a spirit of controversy".[65]

John Maynard Keynes also invited him to join the Cambridge Apostles, an elite secret society formed in 1820, which both Russell and G.E. Moore had joined as students, but Wittgenstein did not enjoy it and attended infrequently. Russell had been worried that Wittgenstein, with his literal-mindedness, would not appreciate the group's humour or the fact that the members were in love with one another.[66] Lytton Strachey wrote to Keynes on 17 May 1912 about an Apostles meeting where Wittgenstein was present, calling him Herr Sinckel-Winckel: "Oliver and Herr Sinckel-Winckel hard at it on universals and particulars. The latter oh! so bright—but quelle souffrance! Oh God! God! "If A loves B"—"There may be a common quality"—"Not analysable that way at all, but the complexes have certain qualities." How shall I manage to slink off to bed?"[67]

Relationship with David Pinsent

It was Russell who introduced Wittgenstein to David Hume Pinsent (1891–1918) in the summer of 1912. A mathematics undergraduate and descendant of David Hume, Pinsent became what Wittgenstein called his first and only friend,[68] and is widely regarded as the first of three or four men Wittgenstein fell in love with—followed by Francis Skinner in 1930, Ben Richards in the late 1940s, and to a lesser extent Keith Kirk in 1940—though Pinsent and Kirk did not respond in kind.[69]

The men worked together on experiments in the psychology laboratory about the role of rhythm in the appreciation of music, and Wittgenstein delivered a paper about it to the British Psychological Association in Cambridge in 1912. They also travelled together, including to Iceland in September 1912—the expenses paid by Wittgenstein's father, including first class travel, and new clothes and spending money for Pinsent—and later to Norway. Pinsent's diaries have provided researchers with a wealth of material about Wittgenstein's personality, and what comes across strongly is how sensitive and nervous he was, attuned to the tiniest slight or change in mood from Pinsent, with Pinsent regularly writing that Wittgenstein was in a huff about something.[70] He wrote about shopping for furniture with Wittgenstein in Cambridge when the latter was given rooms in Trinity; most of what they found in the stores was not frugal enough for Wittgenstein's taste: "I went and helped him interview a lot of furniture at various shops ... It was rather amusing: he is terribly fastidious and we led the shopman a frightful dance, Vittgenstein [sic] ejaculating "No—Beastly!" to 90 percent of what he shewed us!"[67]

He wrote in May 1912 that Wittgenstein had just begun to study philosophy: "[h]e expresses the most naive surprise that all the philosophers he once worshipped in ignorance are after all stupid and dishonest and make disgusting mistakes!"[67] The last time they saw each other was at Birmingham train station on 8 October 1913, when they said goodbye before Wittgenstein left to live in Norway. Despite the physical distance that had grown between them because of the war—Pinsent's last letter to Wittgenstein was dated 14 September 1916—when Pinsent died in a plane crash in May 1918, Wittgenstein was distraught to the point of being suicidal, and three years later dedicated the Tractatus to him.[67]

1913–1920: World War I and the Tractatus

Work on Logik

The original manuscript of Wittgenstein's Notes on Logic (1914) in the Wren Library, Trinity College, Cambridge

Karl Wittgenstein died on 20 January 1913, and on receiving his inheritance Wittgenstein became one of the wealthiest men in Europe.[71] He donated some of it, initially anonymously, to Austrian artists and writers, including Rainer Maria Rilke and Georg Trakl. Wittgenstein came to feel that he could not get to the heart of his most fundamental questions while surrounded by other academics, and so in 1913 he retreated to the village of Skjolden in Norway, where he rented the second floor of a house for the winter. He later saw this as one of the most productive periods of his life, writing Logik (Notes on Logic), the predecessor of much of the Tractatus.[58]

At Wittgenstein's insistence, Moore, who was now a Cambridge don, visited him in Norway in 1914, reluctantly because Wittgenstein exhausted him. David Edmonds and John Eidinow write that Wittgenstein regarded Moore—an internationally known philosopher—as an example of how far someone could get in life with "absolutely no intelligence whatsoever". In Norway it was clear that Moore was expected to act as Wittgenstein's secretary, taking down his notes, with Wittgenstein falling into a rage when Moore got something wrong.[72] When he returned to Cambridge, Moore asked the university to consider accepting Logik as sufficient for a bachelor's degree, but they refused, saying it wasn't formatted properly: no footnotes, no preface. Wittgenstein was furious, writing to Moore in May 1914: "If I am not worth your making an exception for me even in some STUPID details then I may as well go to Hell directly; and if I am worth it and you don't do it then—by God—you might go there." Moore was apparently distraught; he wrote in his diary that he felt sick and could not get the letter out of his head.[73] The two did not speak again until 1929.[72]

Military service

The outbreak of World War I the next year left Wittgenstein in deep shock. He volunteered for the Austro-Hungarian army, first serving on a ship and then in an artillery workshop. In March 1916, he was posted to a fighting unit on the front line of the Russian front, as part of the Austrian 7th Army, where his unit was involved in some of the heaviest fighting, defending against the Brusilov Offensive.[74] In action against British troops, he was decorated with the Military Merit with Swords on the Ribbon, and was commended by the army for "courageous behaviour, calmness, sang-froid, and heroism".[75] In January 1917, he was sent as a member of a howitzer regiment to the Russian front, where he won several medals for bravery including the Silver Medal for Valour.[74] In 1918 he was promoted to reserve officer (lieutenant) and sent to northern Italy as part of an artillery regiment. For his part in the Austrian offensive of June 1918, he was recommended for the Gold Medal for Valour, the highest honour in the Austrian army, but was instead awarded the Band of the Military Service Medal with Swords.[76]

Throughout the war, he kept notebooks in which he frequently wrote philosophical reflections alongside personal remarks, and in them he records his contempt for the baseness of soldiers in wartime. He discovered Leo Tolstoy's The Gospel in Brief at a bookshop in Galicia, and carried it everywhere, recommending it to anyone in distress, to the point where he became known to his fellow soldiers as "the man with the gospels".[77] Russell said he returned from the war a changed man, one with both a more mystical and more ascetic bent.[78]

Completion of the Tractatus

In the summer of 1918 Wittgenstein took military leave and went to stay in his family's summer home, Neuwaldegg, in Vienna. It was there in August 1918 that he completed the Tractatus, which he submitted with the title Der Satz (The Proposition) to the publishers Johada and Siegel.[79]

A series of events around this time left him deeply upset. On 13 August, his uncle Paul died. On 25 October he learned that Johada and Siegel had decided not to publish the Tractatus, and on 27 October his brother Kurt killed himself, the third of his brothers to commit suicide. It was around this time he received a letter from David Pinsent's mother to say that Pinsent had been killed in a plane crash on 8 May.[80] Wittgenstein was distraught to the point of being suicidal. He was sent back to the Italian front after his leave and was captured on 3 November in Trent, spending nine months in prison. He returned to his family in Vienna on 25 August 1919, by all accounts physically and mentally spent. He apparently talked incessantly about suicide, terrifying his sisters and Paul. He decided to do two things: to enroll in teacher training college as an elementary school teacher, and to get rid of his fortune. In 1914 it had been providing him with an income of 300,000 Kronen a year, but by 1919 was worth a great deal more because it had been invested in the United States and Holland. He divided it among his siblings, except for Margarete who was already wealthy in her own right, insisting that it not be held in trust for him. His family saw him as ill, and acquiesced.[79]

1920–1928: Teaching, the Tractatus, Haus Wittgenstein

Teacher training in Vienna, the Prater

In September 1919 he enrolled in the Lehrerbildungsanstalt (teacher training college) in the Kundmanngasse in Vienna. His sister Hermine said that Wittgenstein working as an elementary teacher was like using a precision instrument to open crates, but the family decided not to interfere.[81] Thomas Bernhard, more critically, wrote of this period in Wittgenstein's life: "the multi-millionaire as a village schoolmaster is surely a piece of perversity."[82]

He moved out of the family home and into lodgings in Untere Viaduktgasse in Vienna's third district, and it was during this period that, according to William Warren Bartley, a professor of philosophy at Stanford, Wittgenstein engaged in a series of casual homosexual encounters in an area of the city called the Prater, within walking distance of his lodgings. It is a controversial claim, one that Bartley first made in 1973 in his biography Wittgenstein, and denied at the time by Wittgenstein's executors and friends in England.[83] Bartley writes that he obtained the information from Wittgenstein's friends, and it was this activity, he argues, that Wittgenstein was referring to when he wrote to the architect Paul Engelmann in May 1920: "Things have gone utterly miserably for me lately. Of course only because of my own baseness and rottenness. I have continually thought about taking my own life, and now too this thought still haunts me. 'I have sunk to the bottom'. May you never be in that position!"[84] The literary executors threatened legal action to suppress publication of Bartley's book, according to an afterword he included in a 1985 edition. Bartley writes that a whispering campaign began against him, with one British literary critic writing, "The general line here is that you are to be drummed out of the trade and that no academic invitation of any kind will be extended to you from the United Kingdom henceforth ..."[85]

Teaching posts in Austria

In 1920 Wittgenstein was given his first job as a primary school teacher in Trattenbach, a village of just a few hundred. His first letters describe it as beautiful, but in October 1921, he wrote to Russell: "I am still at Trattenbach, surrounded, as ever, by odiousness and baseness. I know that human beings on the average are not worth much anywhere, but here they are much more good-for-nothing and irresponsible than elsewhere."[86] He was soon the object of gossip among the villagers, who found him eccentric at best. He did not get on well with the other teachers; when he found his lodgings too noisy, he made a bed for himself in the school kitchen. He was an enthusiastic teacher, offering late-night extra tuition to several of the boys, something that did not endear him to the parents, though some of the boys came to adore him; his sister Hermine occasionally watched him teach and said the students "literally crawled over each other in their desire to be chosen for answers or demonstrations".[87]

To the less abled, it seems that he became something of a tyrant. The first two hours of each day were devoted to mathematics, hours that Monk writes some of the pupils recalled years later with horror. They reported that he caned the boys and boxed their ears, and also that he pulled the girls' hair;[88] this was not unusual at the time for boys, but for the villagers he went too far in doing it to the girls too; girls were not expected to understand algebra, much less have their ears boxed over it. The physicality apart, Monk writes that he quickly became a village legend, shouting "Krautsalat!" when the headmaster played the piano, and "Nonsense!" when a priest was answering children's questions.[89]

Publication of the Tractatus

"The main point is the theory of what can be expressed (gesagt) by prop[osition]s—i.e. by language—(and, which comes to the same thing, what can be thought) and what can not be expressed by pro[position]s, but only shown (gezeigt); which, I believe, is the cardinal problem of philosophy."
— Wittgenstein, letter to Russell, 19 August 1919.[90]

While Wittgenstein was living in isolation in rural Austria, the Tractatus was published to considerable interest, first in German in 1921 as Logisch-Philosophische Abhandlung, part of Wilhelm Ostwald's journal Annalen der Naturphilosophie, though Wittgenstein was not happy with the result and called it a pirate edition. Russell had agreed to write an introduction to explain why it was important, because it was otherwise unlikely to have been published: it was difficult if not impossible to understand, and Wittgenstein was unknown in philosophy.[91] But Wittgenstein was not happy with Russell's help. He had lost faith in Russell, finding him glib and his philosophy mechanistic, and felt he had fundamentally misunderstood the Tractatus.[92]

An English translation was prepared in Cambridge by Frank Ramsey, a mathematics undergraduate at King's commissioned by C. K. Ogden. It was G.E. Moore who suggested Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus for the title, an allusion to Baruch Spinoza's Tractatus Theologico-Politicus. Initially there were difficulties in finding a publisher for the English edition too, because Wittgenstein was insisting it appear without Russell's introduction; Cambridge University Press turned it down for that reason. Finally in 1922 an agreement was reached with Wittgenstein that Kegan Paul would print a bilingual edition with Russell's introduction and the Ramsey-Ogden translation.[93] This is the translation that was approved by Wittgenstein, but it is problematic in a number of ways. Wittgenstein's English was poor at the time, and Ramsey was a teenager who had only recently learned German, so philosophers often prefer to use a 1961 translation by David Pears and Brian McGuinness.[94]

The aim of the Tractatus is to reveal the relationship between language and the world: what can be said about it, and what can only be shown. Wittgenstein argues that language has an underlying logical structure, a structure that provides the limits of what can be said meaningfully, and therefore the limits of what can be thought. The limits of language, for Wittgenstein, are the limits of thought. Much of philosophy involves attempts to say the unsayable, and by implication the unthinkable: "what can we say at all can be said clearly", he argues. Anything beyond that—religion, ethics, aesthetics, the mystical—cannot be discussed. They are not in themselves nonsensical, but any statement about them must be.[95] He wrote in the preface: "The book will, therefore, draw a limit to thinking, or rather—not to thinking, but to the expression of thoughts; for, in order to draw a limit to thinking we should have to be able to think both sides of this limit (we should therefore have to be able to think what cannot be thought)."[96]

The book is devoted to explaining what a meaningful proposition is (what is asserted when a sentence is used meaningfully). It is 75 pages long—"As to the shortness of the book, I am awfully sorry for it ... If you were to squeeze me like a lemon you would get nothing more out of me", he told Ogden—and presents seven numbered propositions (1–7), with various sub-levels (1, 1.1, 1.11):[97]

  1. Die Welt ist alles, was der Fall ist.
    The world is all that is the case.[98]
  2. Was der Fall ist, die Tatsache, ist das Bestehen von Sachverhalten.
    What is the case—a fact—is the existence of states of affairs.
  3. Das logische Bild der Tatsachen ist der Gedanke.
    A logical picture of facts is a thought.
  4. Der Gedanke ist der sinnvolle Satz.
    A thought is a proposition with a sense.
  5. Der Satz ist eine Wahrheitsfunktion der Elementarsätze.
    A proposition is a truth-function of elementary propositions.
  6. Die allgemeine Form der Wahrheitsfunktion ist: [\bar p,\bar\xi, N(\bar\xi)]. Dies ist die allgemeine Form des Satzes.
    The general form of a truth-function is: [\bar p,\bar\xi, N(\bar\xi)]. This is the general form of a proposition.
  7. Wovon man nicht sprechen kann, darüber muß man schweigen.
    What we cannot speak about we must pass over in silence.

Visit from Frank Ramsey, Puchberg

Frank Ramsey visited Wittgenstein in Puchberg am Schneeberg in September 1923.

In September 1922 he moved to a secondary school in a nearby village, Hassbach, but the people there were just as bad—"These people are not human at all but loathsome worms", he wrote to a friend—and he left after a month. In November he began work at another primary school, this time in Puchberg in the Schneeberg mountains. There, he told Russell, the villagers were one-quarter animal and three-quarters human. He was miserable. He had no one he could discuss philosophy with, which was particularly frustrating given that the Tractatus was now the subject of much debate in Cambridge and among the Vienna Circle.[99]

Frank Ramsey arrived to visit him on 17 September 1923 to discuss the Tractatus; he had agreed to write a review of it for Mind.[99] He reported in a letter home that Wittgenstein was living frugally in one tiny whitewashed room that only had space for a bed, washstand, a small table, and one small hard chair. Ramsey shared an evening meal with him of coarse bread, butter, and cocoa. Wittgenstein's school hours were eight to twelve or one, and he had afternoons free.[100] After Ramsey returned to Cambridge a long campaign began among Wittgenstein's friends to persuade him to return to Cambridge and away from what they saw as a hostile environment for him. He was accepting no help even from his family.[99] Ramsey wrote to John Maynard Keynes: "[Wittgenstein's family] are very rich and extremely anxious to give him money or do anything for him in any way, and he rejects all their advances; even Christmas presents or presents of invalid's food, when he is ill, he sends back. And this is not because they aren't on good terms but because he won't have any money he hasn't earned ... It is an awful pity."[99]

Haidbauer incident, Otterthal

He moved schools again in September 1924, this time to Otterthal, near Trattenbach; the socialist headmaster, Josef Putre, was someone Wittgenstein had become friends with while at Trattenbach. While he was there, he wrote a 42-page pronunciation and spelling dictionary for the children, Wörterbuch für Volksschulen, published in Vienna in 1926 by Hölder-Pichler-Tempsky, the only book of his apart from the Tractatus that was published in his lifetime.[93] A first edition sold in 2005 for £75,000.[101]

He continued to be the object of gossip and mistrust, in part because he was very demanding of the children. The dénouement came in April 1926 during what became known as Der Vorfall Haidbauer (the Haidbauer incident). Josef Haidbauer was an 11-year-old pupil whose father had died and whose mother worked as a local maid. He was a slow learner, and one day Wittgenstein hit him two or three times on the head, causing him to collapse. Wittgenstein carried him to the headmaster's office, then quickly left the school, bumping into a parent, Herr Piribauer, on the way out. Piribauer had been sent for by the children when they saw Haidbauer collapse; Wittgenstein had previously pulled Piribauer's daughter, Hermine, so hard by the ears that her ears had bled.[102] Piribauer said that when he met Wittgenstein in the hall that day: "I called him all the names under the sun. I told him he wasn't a teacher, he was an animal-trainer! And that I was going to fetch the police right away!"[102]

Piribauer tried to have Wittgenstein arrested, but the village's police station was empty, and when he tried again the next day he was told Wittgenstein had disappeared. On 28 April 1926, Wittgenstein handed in his resignation to Wilhelm Kundt, a local school inspector, who tried to persuade him to stay, but Wittgenstein was adamant that his days as a schoolteacher were over.[102] Proceedings were initiated in May, and the judge ordered a psychiatric report; in August 1926 a letter to Wittgenstein from a friend, Ludwig Hänsel, indicates that hearings were ongoing, but nothing is known about the case after that. Alexander Waugh writes that Wittgenstein's family and their money may have had a hand in covering things up. Waugh writes that Haidbauer died shortly afterwards of haemophilia; Monk says he died when he was 14 of leukaemia.[103] Ten years later, Wittgenstein appeared without warning at the homes of the families whose children he had hurt saying he wanted to apologize personally. He visited at least four of the children, including Hermine Piribauer, who apparently replied only with a "Ja, ja", though some of the other children were more forgiving.[104]

Haus Wittgenstein

A plaque on the house, now the cultural department of the Bulgarian Embassy
Wittgenstein worked on Haus Wittgenstein between 1926 and 1929.

In part to distract him from the Haidbauer incident Wittgenstein's sister Margaret invited him to help with the design of her new townhouse in Vienna's Kundmanngasse. The architect was Paul Engelmann, someone Wittgenstein had come to know during the war when they'd been in the trenches together. Engelmann designed a spare modernist house after the style of Adolf Loos: three rectangular blocks. Wittgenstein poured himself into the project for over two years. He focused on the windows, doors, and radiators, demanding that every detail be exactly as he specified, to the point where, as Waugh writes, everyone involved in the project was exhausted. One of the architects, Jacques Groag, wrote in a letter: "I come home very depressed with a headache after a day of the worst quarrels, disputes, vexations, and this happens often. Mostly between me and Wittgenstein."[105] When the house was nearly finished he had a ceiling raised 30mm so that the room had the exact proportions he wanted.[106]

Waugh writes that Margaret eventually refused to pay for the changes Wittgenstein kept demanding, so he bought himself a lottery ticket in the hope of paying for things that way.[105] It took him a year to design the door handles, and another to design the radiators. Each window was covered by a metal screen that weighed 150 kg, moved by a pulley Wittgenstein designed. Bernhard Leitner, author of The Architecture of Ludwig Wittgenstein, said of it that there is barely anything comparable in the history of interior design: "It is as ingenious as it is expensive. A metal curtain that could be lowered into the floor."[106]

The house was finished by December 1928, and the family gathered there that Christmas to celebrate its completion, but it was not greatly admired. Wittgenstein's sister Hermine wrote: "It seemed indeed to be much more a dwelling for the gods." Paul disliked it, and when Margaret's nephew came to sell it, he reportedly did so on the grounds that she had never liked it either.[105] Wittgenstein himself found the house too austere, saying it had good manners, but no primordial life or health.[107] He nevertheless seemed committed to the idea of becoming an architect: the Vienna City Directory listed him as "Dr Ludwig Wittgenstein, occupation: architect" between 1933 and 1938.[108] After World War II, the house became a barracks and stables for Russian soldiers, and in the 1950s it was sold to a developer. The Vienna Landmark Commission saved it and made it a national monument in 1971, and since 1975 it has housed the cultural department of the Bulgarian Embassy.[106]

1929–1941: Fellowship at Cambridge

PhD and fellowship

At the urging of Ramsey and others, Wittgenstein returned to Cambridge in 1929. Keynes wrote in a letter to his wife: "Well, God has arrived. I met him on the 5.15 train." Despite this fame, he could not initially work at Cambridge as he did not have a degree, so he applied as an advanced undergraduate. Russell noted that his previous residency was sufficient for a PhD, and urged him to offer the Tractatus as his thesis. It was examined in 1929 by Russell and Moore; at the end of the thesis defence, Wittgenstein clapped the two examiners on the shoulder and said, "Don't worry, I know you'll never understand it."[109] Moore wrote in the examiner's report: "I myself consider that this is a work of genius; but, even if I am completely mistaken and it is nothing of the sort, it is well above the standard required for the Ph.D. degree."[110] Wittgenstein was appointed as a lecturer and was made a fellow of Trinity College.


From 1936 to 1937, Wittgenstein lived again in Norway,[111] where he worked on the Philosophical Investigations. In the winter of 1936/37, he delivered a series of "confessions" to close friends, most of them about minor infractions like white lies, in an effort to cleanse himself. In 1938, he travelled to Ireland to visit Maurice O'Connor Drury, a friend who became a psychiatrist, and considered such training himself, with the intention of abandoning philosophy for it. The visit to Ireland was at the same time a response to the invitation of the then Irish Taoiseach, Éamon de Valera, himself a mathematics teacher. De Valera hoped that Wittgenstein's presence would contribute to an academy for advanced mathematics.

While he was in Ireland in March 1938, Germany annexed Austria in the Anschluss; the Viennese Wittgenstein was now a citizen of the enlarged Germany and a Jew under the 1935 Nuremberg racial laws, because three of his grandparents had been born as Jews. The Nuremberg Laws classified people as Jews (Volljuden) if they had three or four Jewish grandparents, and as mixed blood (Mischling) if they had one or two. It meant inter alia that the Wittgensteins were restricted in who they could marry or have sex with, and where they could work.[112]

After Anschluss, Paul left almost immediately for England, and later the United States. The Nazis discovered his relationship with Hilde Schania, a brewer’s daughter he had had two children with but had never married, though he did later. Because she was not a Jew, he was served with a summons for Rassenschande (racial defilement). He told no one he was leaving the country, except for Hilde who agreed to follow him. He left so suddenly and quietly that for a time people believed he was the fourth Wittgenstein brother to have committed suicide.[113]

Wittgenstein began to investigate acquiring British or Irish citizenship with the help of Keynes, and apparently had to confess to his friends in England that he had earlier misrepresented himself to them as having just one Jewish grandparent, when in fact he had three.[114]

A few days before the invasion of Poland, Hitler granted Mischling status to the Wittgenstein siblings. In 1939 there were 2,100 applications for this, and Hitler granted only 12.[115] Anthony Gottlieb writes that the pretext was that their paternal grandfather had been the bastard son of a German prince, which allowed the Reichsbank to claim the gold, foreign currency, and stocks held in Switzerland by a Wittgenstein trust. Gretl, an American citizen by marriage, was the one who started the negotiations over the racial status of their grandfather, and the family's foreign currency was used as a bargaining tool. Paul had escaped to Switzerland and then the United States in July 1938, and disagreed with the negotiations, leading to a permanent split between the siblings. After the war, when Paul was performing in Vienna, he did not visit Hermine who was dying there, and he had no further contact with Ludwig or Gretl.[27]

Professor of philosophy

After G. E. Moore resigned the chair in philosophy in 1939, Wittgenstein was elected, and acquired British citizenship soon afterwards. In July 1939 he travelled to Vienna to assist Gretl and his other sisters, visiting Berlin for one day to meet an official of the Reichsbank. After this, he travelled to New York to persuade Paul, whose agreement was required, to back the scheme. The required Befreiung was granted in August 1939. The unknown amount signed over to the Nazis by the Wittgenstein family, a week or so before the outbreak of war, included amongst many other assets 1.7 tonnes of gold.[116] At 2009 prices, this amount of gold alone would be worth in excess of US$60 million. There is also a report that Wittgenstein went on to visit Moscow a second time in 1939, travelling from Berlin, and again met the philosopher Sophia Janowskaya.[117]

After work, Wittgenstein would often relax by watching Westerns, where he preferred to sit at the very front of the cinema, or reading detective stories.[118] Norman Malcolm wrote that he would rush to the cinema when class ended. "As the members of the class began to move their chairs out of the room he might look imploringly at a friend and say in a low tone, ‘Could you go to a flick?’ On the way to the cinema Wittgenstein would buy a bun or cold pork pie and munch it while he watched the film."[119]

By this time, Wittgenstein's view on the foundations of mathematics had changed considerably. Earlier he had thought that logic could provide a solid foundation, and he had even considered updating Russell and Whitehead's Principia Mathematica. Now he denied that there were any mathematical facts to be discovered and he denied that mathematical statements were true in any real sense. He gave a series of lectures on mathematics, discussing this and other topics, documented in a book, with lectures by Wittgenstein and discussions between him and several students, including the young Alan Turing.[120]

World War II and Guy's Hospital

Monk writes that Wittgenstein found it intolerable that a war was going on and he was teaching philosophy. He grew angry when any of his students wanted to pursue philosophy[121], and was famously overjoyed when the wife of philosopher G.E. Moore told him she was working in a jam factory—doing something useful, in Wittgenstein's eyes. In September 1941 he asked John Ryle, the brother of the philosopher Gilbert Ryle, if he could get a manual job at Guy's Hospital in London. John Ryle was professor of medicine at Cambridge and had been involved in helping Guy's prepare for the Blitz. Wittgenstein told Ryle he would die slowly if left at Cambridge, and he would rather die quickly. He started working at Guy's shortly afterwards as a dispensary porter, meaning that he delivered drugs from the pharmacy to the wards—where he apparently advised the patients not to take them.[122]

The hospital staff were not told that he was one of the world's most famous philosophers, though some of the medical staff did recognize him—at least one had attended Moral Sciences Club meetings—but they were discreet. "Good God, don't tell anybody who I am!" Wittgenstein begged one of them. Some of them nevertheless called him Professor Wittgenstein, and he was allowed to dine with the doctors. He was lonely. He wrote on 1 April 1942: "I no longer feel any hope for the future of my life. It is as though I had before me nothing more than a long stretch of living death. I cannot imagine any future for me other than a ghastly one. Friendless and joyless."[122]

He had developed a friendship with Keith Kirk, a working-class teenage friend of Francis Skinner, the mathematics undergraduate he had had a relationship with until Skinner's death in 1941 from polio. Skinner had given up academia, thanks at least in part to Wittgenstein's influence, and had been working as a mechanic in 1939, with Kirk as his apprentice. Kirk and Wittgenstein struck up a friendship, with Wittgenstein giving him lessons in physics to help him pass a City and Guilds exam, but Wittgenstein seems to have fallen in love with him. During his period of loneliness at Guy's he wrote in his diary: "For ten days I've heard nothing more from K, even though I pressed him a week ago for news. I think that he has perhaps broken with me. A tragic thought." Kirk had in fact got married, and they never saw one another again.[123]

While Wittgenstein was at Guy’s he met Basil Reeve, a young doctor with an interest in philosophy, who, with Dr R T Grant, was studying the effect of shock on air-raid casualties. When the blitz ended there were fewer casualties to study and in November 1942 Grant and Reeve moved to the Royal Victoria Infirmary, Newcastle upon Tyne, in order to study road traffic and industrial casualties. Grant offered Wittgenstein a position as a laboratory assistant at a wage of £4 per week, and he lived in Newcastle (in Brandling Park, Jesmond) from 29th April 1943 until February 1944.[124]

1947–1951: Final years

"Death is not an event in life: we do not live to experience death. If we take eternity to mean not infinite temporal duration but timelessness, then eternal life belongs to those who live in the present. Our life has no end in the way in which our visual field has no limits."
— Wittgenstein, Tractatus, 6.431

He resigned the professorship at Cambridge in 1947 to concentrate on his writing, and travelled to Ireland in 1947 and 1948, staying in Ross's Hotel in Dublin and a farmhouse in Red Cross, in County Wicklow, where he began the manuscript volume MS 137, Band R. Seeking solitude he moved to Rosro, a holiday cottage in Connemara owned by Maurice O'Connor-Drury. Drury told his servant, Tommy Mulkerrins, that Wittgenstein had had a nervous breakdown and needed looking after.[125]

He also accepted an invitation from Norman Malcolm, a former student, to stay with him at Ithaca, New York. He made the trip in April 1949, but told Malcolm he was unwell: "I haven't done any work since the beginning of March & I haven't had the strength of even trying to do any." A doctor in Dublin had diagnosed anaemia and prescribed iron and liver pills, but he fell ill again in America, and told Malcolm he was afraid of dying there. "I don't want to die in America. I am a European. I want to die there. What a fool I was to come!"[126]

A plaque at "Storey's End", 76 Storey's Way, Cambridge, where Wittgenstein died.

He returned to London, where he was diagnosed with an inoperable cancer of the prostate, spread to his bone marrow. He was prescribed oestrogen, which gave him diarrhea, hot flushes, impotence, and swelling of the breasts. He spent the next two months in Vienna, where his sister Hermine died on 11 February 1950; he went to see her every day, but she was hardly able to speak or recognize him. "Great loss for me and all of us", he wrote. "Greater than I would have thought." He moved around a lot after Hermine's death: to Cambridge in April 1950, where he stayed with G. H. von Wright; to London to stay with Rush Rhees; then to Oxford to see Elizabeth Anscombe, writing to Norman Malcolm that he was hardly doing any philosophy. He went to Norway in August with Ben Richards, then returned to Cambridge, where on 27 November he moved into "Storey's End", at 76 Storey's Way, the home of his doctor, Edward Bevan, and his wife Joan; he had told them he was scared of dying in hospital, so they said he could spend his last days in their home instead. Joan was at first afraid of him, but they became very close.[125]

By the beginning of 1951 it was clear that he had little time left. He wrote a new will in Oxford on 29 January, naming Rhees as his executor, and Anscombe and von Wright his literary administrators, and wrote to Normal Malcolm that month to say, "My mind's completely dead. This isn't a complaint, for I don't really suffer from it. I know that life must have an end once & and that mental life can cease before the rest does."[127] In February he returned to the Bevans' home to work on MS 175 and MS 176. These and other manuscripts were later published as Remarks on Colour and On Certainty.[125] He wrote to Malcolm on 16 April, 13 days before his death: "An extraordinary thing happened to me. About a month ago I suddenly found myself in the right frame of mind for doing philosophy. I had been absolutely certain that I'd never again be able to do it. It's the first time after more than 2 years that the curtain in my brain has gone up.—Of course, so far I've only worked for about 5 weeks & it may be all over by tomorrow; but it bucks me up a lot now."[128]

He began work on his final manuscript, MS 177, on 25 April 1951. It was his 62nd birthday on 26 April. He went for a walk the next afternoon, and wrote his last entry that day, 27 April:

Wittgenstein's grave at the Ascension Parish Burial Ground

If someone believes that he has flown from America to England in the last few days, then, I believe, he cannot be making a mistake.

And just the same if someone says that he is at this moment sitting at a table and writing.

But even if in such cases I can’t be mistaken, isn't it possible that I am drugged? If I am and if the drug has taken away my consciousness, then I am not now really talking and thinking. I cannot seriously suppose that I am at this moment dreaming. Someone who, dreaming, says "I am dreaming", even if he speaks audibly in doing so, is no more right than if he said in his dream "it is raining", while it was in fact raining. Even if his dream were actually connected with the noise of the rain.[125]

That evening, he became very ill; when his doctor told him he might live only a few days, he reportedly replied, "Good!". Joan stayed with him throughout that night, and just before losing consciousness for the last time on 28 April, he told her: "Tell them I've had a wonderful life." Norman Malcolm writes that this was a strangely moving utterance, given how unhappy his life seems to have been.[128] Four of his former students arrived at his bedside—Ben Richards, Elizabeth Anscombe, Yorick Smythies, and Maurice O'Connor Drury. Anscombe and Smythies were Catholics, and at the latter's request, a Dominican friar, Father Conrad Pepler, also attended. They were at first unsure what Wittgenstein would have wanted, but then remembered he had said he hoped his Catholic friends would pray for him, so they did, and he was pronounced dead shortly afterwards. He was given a Catholic burial at St. Giles's Church, Cambridge. Drury later said he had been troubled ever since about whether that was the right thing to do.[129]

1953: Publication of the Philosophical Investigations

Illustration of a "duckrabbit", discussed in the Philosophical Investigations, section XI, part II

The Blue Book, a set of notes dictated to his class at Cambridge in 1933–1934, contains seeds of Wittgenstein's later thoughts on language, and is widely read as a turning-point in his philosophy of language.

The Philosophical Investigations was published in two parts in 1953. Most of the 693 numbered paragraphs in Part I were ready for printing in 1946, but Wittgenstein withdrew the manuscript. The shorter Part II was added by his editors, Elizabeth Anscombe and Rush Rhees. Wittgenstein asks the reader to think of language as a multiplicity of language-games within which parts of language develop and function. He argues that philosophical problems are bewitchments that arise from philosophers' misguided attempts to consider the meaning of words independently of their context, usage, and grammar, what he called "language gone on holiday".[130]

Philosophical problems arise when language is forced from its proper home into a metaphysical environment, where all the familiar and necessary landmarks and contextual clues are removed. Wittgenstein describes this metaphysical environment as like being on frictionless ice: where the conditions are apparently perfect for a philosophically and logically perfect language—the language of the Tractatus—where all philosophical problems can be solved without the muddying effects of everyday contexts; but where, precisely because of the lack of friction, language can in fact do no work at all.[131] Wittgenstein argues that philosophers must leave the frictionless ice and return to the "rough ground" of ordinary language in use. Much of the Investigations consists of examples of how the first false steps can be avoided, so that philosophical problems are dissolved, rather than solved: "the clarity we are aiming at is indeed complete clarity. But this simply means that the philosophical problems should completely disappear."[132]

In popular culture

In 1993 Wittgenstein was the subject of the film Wittgenstein by the English director Derek Jarman. The film is loosely based on his life story as well as his philosophical thinking. The adult Wittgenstein is played by the Welsh actor Karl Johnson. Terry Eagleton called him the philosopher of poets and composers, playwrights and novelists.[133]

  • For Wittgenstein's philosophy as therapy, see Peterman, James F. Philosophy as Therapy. SUNY Press, 1992, p. 13ff.
  • For the poetic and literary quality of his work, see Perloff, Marjorie. Wittgenstein's Ladder: Poetic Language and the Strangeness of the Ordinary. University of Chicago Press, 1999; and Gibson, John and Wolfgang Huemer (eds.). The Literary Wittgenstein. Psychology Press, 2004, p 2.
  • For Eagleton, see Eagleton, Terry. "My Wittgenstein" in Stephen Regan (ed.). The Eagleton Reader. Wiley-Blackwell, 1997, pp. 337–


A collection of Ludwig Wittgenstein's manuscripts is held by Trinity College, Cambridge.

  • Logisch-Philosophische Abhandlung, Annalen der Naturphilosophie, 14 (1921)
  • Philosophische Untersuchungen (1953)
  • Bemerkungen über die Grundlagen der Mathematik, ed. by G.H. von Wright, R. Rhees, and G.E.M. Anscombe (1956), a selection of his work on the philosophy of logic and mathematics between 1937 and 1944.
    • Remarks on the Foundations of Mathematics, translated by G.E.M. Anscombe, rev. ed. (1978)
  • Bemerkungen über die Philosophie der Psychologie, ed. G.E.M. Anscombe and G.H. von Wright (1980)
    • Remarks on the Philosophy of Psychology, Vols. 1 and 2, translated by G.E.M. Anscombe, ed. G.E.M. Anscombe and G.H. von Wright (1980), a selection of which makes up Zettel.
  • The Blue and Brown Books (1958), notes dictated in English to Cambridge students in 1933–1935.
  • Philosophische Bemerkungen, ed. by Rush Rhees (1964)
    • Philosophical Remarks (1975)
    • Philosophical Grammar (1978)
  • Bemerkungen über die Farben, ed. by G.E.M. Anscombe (1977)
    • Remarks on Colour (1991), remarks on Goethe's Theory of Colours.
  • On Certainty, collection of aphorisms discussing the relation between knowledge and certainty, extremely influential in the philosophy of action.
  • Culture and Value, collection of personal remarks about various cultural issues, such as religion and music, as well as critique of Søren Kierkegaard's philosophy.
  • Zettel, collection of Wittgenstein's thoughts in fragmentary/"diary entry" format as with On Certainty and Culture and Value.
Works online


  1. ^ a b "Time 100: Scientists and Thinkers". Time Magazine Online. Retrieved 29 April 2006. 
  2. ^ For his publications during his lifetime, see Monk, Ray. How to read Wittgenstein. W.W. Norton & Company. 2005, p. 5.
  3. ^ Lackey, Douglas. "What Are the Modern Classics? The Baruch Poll of Great Philosophy in the Twentieth Century", Philosophical Forum. 30 (4), December 1999, pp. 329–346. *For a summary of the poll, see here, accessed 3 September 2010.
  4. ^ For the Russell quote, see McGuinness, Brian. Wittgenstein: A Life : Young Ludwig 1889–1921. University of California Press, 1988, p. 118.
  5. ^ Duffy, Bruce. "The do-it-yourself life of Ludwig Wittgenstein", The New York Times, 13 November 1988, p. 4/10.
  6. ^ For the brothers' suicides, see Waugh, Alexander. "The Wittgensteins: Viennese whirl", The Daily Telegraph, 30 August 2008.
  7. ^ Monk, Ray. Ludwig Wittgenstein: The Duty of Genius. Free Press, 1990, pp. 232–233, 431.
    • For his commendation, see Waugh, Alexander. The House of Wittgenstein: a Family at War. Random House of Canada, 2008, p. 114.
  8. ^ Malcolm, Norman. Ludwig Wittgenstein: A Memoir. Oxford University Press, 1958, page 6
  9. ^ a b Bramann, Jorn K. and Moran, John. "Karl Wittgenstein, Business Tycoon and Art Patron", Frostburg State University, accessed 2 September 2010.
  10. ^ See Schloss Wittgenstein. Various sources spell Meier's name Maier and Meyer.
  11. ^ Bartley, pp. 199–200.
  12. ^ Monk, pp. 4–5.
  13. ^ Monk, p .5.
  14. ^ Edmonds, Eidinow, "Wittgenstein's Poker", page 63
  15. ^ Edmonds, Eidinow, "Wittgenstein's Poker", page 63
  16. ^ Monk, p. 7.
  17. ^ Edmonds, Eidinow, "Wittgenstein's Poker", page 102
  18. ^ For his mother's Roman Catholic background, see "Ludwig Wittgenstein: Background", Wittgenstein archive, University of Cambridge, accessed 2 September 2010.
    • For his time and place of birth, see Edmonds, David and Eidinow, John. Wittgenstein's Poker. Faber and Faber, 2001, p. 57.
  19. ^ Bartley, William Warren. Wittgenstein. Open Court, 1994, p. 16, first published 1973.
  20. ^ Monk, p. 8.
  21. ^ Theodore Redpath, Ludwig Wittgenstein: A Student’s Memoir, London: Duckworth, 1990, p. 112
  22. ^ Edmonds, Eidinow, "Wittgenstein's Poker"
  23. ^ a b Monk, p. 11ff.
  24. ^ Kenny, Anthony. "Give Him Genius or Give Him Death", The New York Times, 30 December 1990.
  25. ^ a b Fitzgerald, Michael. "Did Ludwig Wittgenstein have Asperger's syndrome?", European Child & Adolescent Psychiatry, volume 9, number 1, pp. 61–65. DOI: 10.1007/s007870050117
    • Also see Fitzgerald, Michael. Autism and Creativity: Is There a Link Between Autism in Men and Exceptional Ability?. Routledge, 2004; see the chapter "Ludwig Wittgenstein", p. 57ff.
  26. ^ Edmonds, Eidinow, "Wittgenstein's Poker", page 63
  27. ^ a b c Gottlieb, Anthony. "A Nervous Splendor", The New Yorker, 9 April 2009.
  28. ^ Waugh, pp. 24–26.
    • Also see Monk, p. 11ff.
  29. ^ Waugh, pp. 21–22.
    • For the primary source, see Hirschfield, Magnus. Jahrbuch für sexuelle Zwischenstufen, Vol VI, 1904, p. 724, citing an unnamed Berlin newspaper, cited in turn by Bartley, p. 36.
    • More details in Waugh, Alexander. "The Wittgensteins: Viennese whirl", The Daily Telegraph, 30 August 2008.
    • Also see Gottlieb, Anthony. "A Nervous Splendor", The New Yorker, 9 April 2009.
    • For the Koschat song, see "Verlassen bin ich" by Thomas Koschat, courtesy of YouTube, accessed 11 September 2010.
  30. ^ Monk, p. 41.
    • McGuinness, Brian. Wittgenstein: A Life: Young Ludwig 1889-1921. University of California Press, 1988, p. 184.
  31. ^ Waugh, p. 33.
    • McGuinness, Brian. Wittgenstein: a life : young Ludwig 1889-1921. University of California Press, 1988, p. 51ff.
    • K.u.k. stood for "Kaiserlich und königlich.
  32. ^ a b c McGuinness, p. 51.
  33. ^ Hamann, Brigitte and Thornton, Thomas. Hitler's Vienna: A Dictator's Apprenticeship. Oxford University Press, 2000 (first published 1996 in German) pp. 15–16, 79.
  34. ^ a b Monk, pp.14–15.
  35. ^ a b For the view that Wittgenstein saw himself as completely German, not Jewish, see McGuinness, Brian. "Wittgenstein and the Idea of Jewishness", and for an opposing view, see Stern, David. "Was Wittgenstein Jewish?", both in James Carl Klagge. Wittgenstein: Biography and Philosophy. Cambridge University Press, 2001, pp. 231ff and p 237ff respectively.
  36. ^ Goldstein, Lawrence. Clear and Queer Thinking: Wittgenstein's Development and his Relevance to Modern Thought. Duckworth, 1999, p. 167ff. Also see "Clear and Queering Thinking", review in Mind, Oxford University Press, 2001.
  37. ^ McGinn, Marie. "Hi Ludwig", Times Literary Supplement, 26 May 2000.
  38. ^ Stern, David. "The Significance of Jewishness for Wittgenstein's Philosophy", Inquiry, Volume 43, Issue 4, December 2000.
    • Wittgenstein's remark appears in the posthumously published Culture and Value (1977), pp. 20–21.
  39. ^ Hitler started at the school on 17 September 1900, repeated the first year in 1901, and left in the autumn of 1905; see Kersaw, Ian. Hitler, 1889-1936. W. W. Norton & Company, 2000, p. 16ff.
    • McGuinness, Brian. Wittgenstein: a life : young Ludwig 1889-1921. University of California Press, 1988, p. 51ff.
  40. ^ Monk, p. 15.
    • Brigitte Hamann argues in Hitler's Vienna (1996) that Hitler was bound to have laid eyes on Wittgenstein, because the latter was so conspicuous, though she told Focus magazine they were in different classes, and she agrees with Monk that they would have had nothing to do with one another. See Hamann, Brigitte and Thornton, Thomas. Hitler's Vienna: A Dictator's Apprenticeship. Oxford University Press, 2000, pp. 15–16, 79, and Thiede, Roger. "Phantom Wittgenstein", Focus magazine, 16 March 1998.
  41. ^ Hitler, Adolf. Mein Kampf. Translated by James Murphy, CreateSpace, 2010, p. 38. The German reads: "In der Realschule lernte ich wohl einen jüdischen Knaben kennen, der von uns allen mit Vorsicht behandelt wurde, jedoch nur, weil wir ihm in bezug auf seine Schweigsam-keit, durch verschiedene Erfahrungen gewitzigt, nicht sonder-lich vertrauten; irgendein Gedanke kam mir dabei so wenig wie den anderen." See the original German edition, published by the Zentralverlag der NSDAP, August Pries GmbH, Leipzig, 1925–1926, p. 55.
  42. ^ For examples, see Cornish, Kimberley. The Jew of Linz. Arrow, 1999.
  43. ^ Thiede, Roger. "Phantom Wittgenstein", Focus magazine, 16 March 1998.
    • The German Federal Archives says the image was taken "circa 1901"; it identifies the class as 1B and the teacher as Oskar Langer. See the full image and description at the Bundesarchiv, accessed 6 September 2010. The archive gives the date as circa 1901, but wrongly calls it the Realschule in Leonding, near Linz. Hitler attended primary school in Leonding, but from September 1901 went to the Realschule in Linz itself. See Kershaw, Ian. Hitler, 1889-1936. W. W. Norton & Company, 2000, p. 16ff.
    • Christoph Haidacher and Richard Schober write that Langer taught at the school from 1884 until 1901; see Haidacher, Christoph and Schober, Richard. Von Stadtstaaten und Imperien, Universitätsverlag Wagner, 2006, p. 140.
  44. ^ See e.g. (MS 154)
  45. ^ Culture and Value, Ludwig Wittgenstein, (Oxford 1998), page 16e (see also, pages 15e-19e)
  46. ^ M.O’C. Drury, “Conversations with Wittgenstein”, in Recollections of Wittgenstein, ed. R. Rhees, New York: Oxford University Press, revised edition, 1984,p. 161.
  47. ^ Hans D. Sluga, The Cambridge companion to Wittgenstein, (Cambridge, 1996) page 2
  48. ^ Malcolm, Norman. Ludwig Wittgenstein: A Memoir. Oxford University Press, 1958, page 6
  49. ^ Culture & Value, p.24, 1933-4
  50. ^ a b Monk, pp. 19–26.
  51. ^ p216, Philosophical Tales, Cohen, M., Blackwell 2008
  52. ^ Monk, p. 27.
  53. ^ a b Monk, p. 29.
    • Also see "The Grouse Inn",, accessed 12 September 2010.
  54. ^ a b Monk, pp. 30–35.
  55. ^ Beaney, Michael (ed.). The Frege Reader. Blackwell, 1997, pp. 194-223, 258–289.
  56. ^ a b c Monk, p. 36ff.
  57. ^ Kanterian, Edward. Ludwig Wittgenstein. Reaktion Books, 2007, p. 36.
  58. ^ a b O'Connor, J.J. and Robertson, E.F. "Ludwig Josef Johann Wittgenstein", St Andrews University, accessed 2 September 2010.
  59. ^ a b McGuinness, Brian. Wittgenstein: A Life : Young Ludwig 1889–1921. University of California Press, 1988, pp. 88–89.
  60. ^ Monk, p. 41.
  61. ^ Russell, Bertrand. Autobiography. Routledge, 1998, p. 281.
  62. ^ Pitt, Jack. "Russell and the Cambridge Moral Sciences Club", "Russell: the Journal of Bertrand Russell Studies: Vol. 1, issue 2, article 3, winter 1982.
    • Also see Klagge, James Carl and Nordmann, Alfred (eds.) Ludwig Wittgenstein: Public and Private Occasions. Rowman & Littlefield, 2003, p. 332, citing Michael Nedo and Michele Ranchetti (eds.). Ludwig Wittgenstein: sein Leben in Bildern und Texten. Suhrkamp, 1983, p. 89.
  63. ^ Edmonds, David and Eidinow, John. Wittgenstein's Poker. Faber and Faber, 2001, p. 22–28.
  64. ^ Eidinow, John and Edmonds, David. "When Ludwig met Karl...", The Guardian, 31 March 2001.
  65. ^ Minutes of the Wittgenstein's poker meeting, University of Cambridge, shown on Flickr, accessed 7 September 2010.
  66. ^ McGuinness, Brian. Wittgenstein: A Life: Young Ludwig 1889-1921. University of California Press, 1988, p. 118.
  67. ^ a b c d Kanterian, Edward. Ludwig Wittgenstein. Reaktion Books, 2007, p. 40.
  68. ^ Goldstein, Laurence. Clear and queer thinking: Wittgenstein's development and his relevance to modern thought. Rowman & Littlefield, 1999, p. 179.
  69. ^ Monk, pp. 583–586.
  70. ^ Monk, p. 58ff.
    • See Pinsent, David Hume and Von Wright, G.H. A Portrait of Wittgenstein as a Young Man: From the Diary of David Hume Pinsent 1912-1914. Blackwell, 1990.
  71. ^ Monk, p. 71.
  72. ^ a b Edmonds, David and Eidinow, John. Wittgenstein's Poker. Faber and Faber, 2001, p. 45–46.
  73. ^ McGuinness, Brian. Wittgenstein: A Life : Young Ludwig 1889-1921. University of California Press, 1988, p. 200.
  74. ^ a b Monk, pp.137–142.
  75. ^ Waugh, p. 114.
  76. ^ Monk, p. 154.
  77. ^ Monk, pp. 44, 116, 382–384.
  78. ^ Monk, p. 183.
  79. ^ a b Bartley, pp. 33–39, 45.
  80. ^ Bartley, pp. 33–34. For an original report, see "Death of D.H. Pinsent", Birmingham Daily Mail, 15 May 1918: "Recovery of the Body. The body of Mr. David Hugh Pinsent, a civilian observer, son of Mr and Mrs Hume Pinsent, of Foxcombe Hill, near Oxford and Birmingham, the second victim of last Wednesday's aeroplane accident in West Surrey, was last night found in the Basingstoke Canal, at Frimley." Courtesy of "Wittgenstein in Birmingham", mikeinmono, 3 August 2009, accessed 7 September 2010.
  81. ^ Monk, p. 169ff.
  82. ^ Edmonds, Eidinow, "Wittgenstein's Poker", page 68
  83. ^ See for example Hacking, Ian. "The Uncommercial Traveller", The Times Higher Educational Supplement, 8 April 1983, and Bartley's response in the same publication 29 April 1983, p. 35.
  84. ^ Bartley, pp. 40–44.
  85. ^ Bartley, p. 160ff.
  86. ^ Klagge, James Carl. Wittgenstein: Biography and Philosophy. Cambridge University Press, 2001, p. 185.
  87. ^ Malcolm, Norman. "Wittgenstein’s Confessions", London Review of Books, Vol. 3 No. 21, 19 November 1981.
  88. ^ Bartley, p. 107.
  89. ^ Monk, pp. 196, 198.
  90. ^ Russell, Nieli. Wittgenstein: From Mysticism to Ordinary Language. SUNY Press, 1987, p. 199.
  91. ^ For the introduction, see Russell, Bertrand. Introduction, Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus, May 1922.
  92. ^ Edmonds, David and Eidinow, John. Wittgenstein's Poker. Faber and Faber, 2001, p. 35ff.
  93. ^ a b "Ludwig Wittgenstein: Tractatus and Teaching", Cambridge Wittgenstein archive], accessed 4 September 2010.
  94. ^ For example, Ramsey translated "Sachverhalt" and "Sachlage" as "atomic fact" and "state of affairs" respectively. But Wittgenstein discusses non-existent "Sachverhalten", and there cannot be a non-existent fact. Pears and McGuinness made a number of changes, including translating "Sachverhalt" as "state of affairs" and "Sachlage" as "situation". The new translation is often preferred, but some philosophers use the original, in part because Wittgenstein approved it, and because it avoids the idiomatic English of Pears-McGuinness. See:
    • White, Roger. Wittgenstein's Tractatus logico-philosophicus. Continuum International Publishing Group, 2006, p. 145.
    • For a discussion about the relative merits of the translations, see Morris, Michael Rowland. "Introduction", Routledge philosophy guidebook to Wittgenstein and the Tractatus. Taylor & Francis, 2008; and Nelson, John O. "Is the Pears-McGuinness translation of the Tractatus really superior to Ogden's and Ramsey's?, Philosophical Investigations, 22:2, April 1999.
    • See the three versions (Wittgenstein's German, published 1921; Ramsey-Ogden's translation, published 1922; and the Pears-McGuinness translation, published 1961) side by side here, University of Massachusetts, accessed 4 September 2010.
  95. ^ Grayling, A.C. Wittgenstein: A Very Short Introduction. Oxford University Press, 2001, p. 16ff.
  96. ^ Tractatus (Ogden translation), preface.
  97. ^ For the comment to Ogden, see Monk, p. 207.
  98. ^ The English is from the 1961 Pears-McGuinness translation.
  99. ^ a b c d Monk, pp. 212, 214–216, 220–221.
  100. ^ Mellor, D.H. "Cambridge Philosophers I: F. P. Ramsey", Philosophy 70, 1995, pp. 243–262.
  101. ^ Ezard, John. "Philosopher's rare 'other book' goes on sale", The Guardian, 19 February 2005.
  102. ^ a b c Monk, pp. 224, 232–233.
  103. ^ Waugh, p. 162.
    • Monk, p. 232.
  104. ^ Monk, pp. 370–317.
  105. ^ a b c Waugh, p. 163 ff.
  106. ^ a b c Jeffries, Stuart. "A dwelling for the gods", The Guardian, 5 January 2002.
  107. ^ Hyde, Lewis. "Making It". The New York Times, 6 April 2008.
  108. ^ Bartley, W.W. Wittgenstein. Open Court, p. 21; first published 1972, this edition 1994.
  109. ^ Monk, p. 271.
  110. ^ R. B. Braithwaite George Edward Moore, 1873 - 1958, in Alice Ambrose and Morris Lazerowitz. G.E. Moore: Essays in Retrospect. Allen & Unwin, 1970.
  111. ^ Ludwig Wittgenstein: Return to Cambridge from the Cambridge Wittgenstein Archive
  112. ^ Waugh, pp. 137ff, 204–209.
  113. ^ Waugh, pp. 224–226.
  114. ^ McGuinness, Brian. "Wittgenstein and the Idea of Jewishness", in James Carl Klagge. Wittgenstein: Biography and Philosophy. Cambridge University Press, 2001, p. 231ff.
    • For the view that Wittgenstein saw himself as a Jew, see Stern, David. "Was Wittgenstein Jewish?", in James Carl Klagge. Wittgenstein: Biography and Philosophy. Cambridge University Press, 2001, p. 237ff.
  115. ^ Edmonds, David and Eidinow, John. Wittgenstein's Poker. Faber and Faber, 2001, pp. 98, 105.
  116. ^ Edmonds, David and Eidinow, John. "Wittgenstein’s Poker", Faber and Faber, London 2001, p. 98.
  117. ^ Moran, John. "Wittgenstein and Russia" New Left Review 73, May–June, 1972, pp. 83–96.
  118. ^ Hoffmann, Josef. "Hard-boiled Wit: Ludwig Wittgenstein and Norbert Davis", CADS, no. 44, October 2003.
  119. ^ Malcolm, Norman. Ludwig Wittgenstein: A Memoir. Oxford University Press, 1958, p. 26.
  120. ^ Diamond, Cora (ed.). Wittgenstein's Lectures on the Foundations of Mathematics. University Of Chicago Press, 1989.
  121. ^ For his desire that his students not pursue philosophy, see Malcolm, Norman. Ludwig Wittgenstein: A Memoir. Oxford University Press, 1958, p. 28
  122. ^ a b Monk, p. 431ff.
  123. ^ Monk, pp. 442–443.
  124. ^ Monk, p. 447ff.
  125. ^ a b c d "Ludwig Wittgenstein: Final Years", Cambridge Wittgenstein archive, accessed 8 September 2010.
    • Also see Malcolm, Norman. A Memoir. Oxford University Press, p. 79ff.
  126. ^ Waugh, pp. 273ff.
  127. ^ Malcolm, Norman. A Memoir. Oxford University Press, p. 79ff.
  128. ^ a b Malcolm, Norman. A Memoir. Oxford University Press, pp. 80–81.
  129. ^ Monk, pp. 576–580.
  130. ^ PI, §38.
  131. ^ PI, §107.
  132. ^ PI, §133.
  133. ^ For ethical and religious themes, see Barrett, Cyril. Wittgenstein on Ethics and Religious Belief. Blackwell, 1991, p. 138.


  • Bartley, William Warren. Wittgenstein. Open Court, 1994, first published 1973.
  • Barrett, Cyril. Wittgenstein on Ethics and Religious Belief. Blackwell, 1991.
  • Beaney, Michael (ed.). The Frege Reader. Blackwell, 1997.
  • Braithwaite, R.B. "George Edward Moore, 1873 - 1958", in Alice Ambrose and Morris Lazerowitz. (eds.). G.E. Moore: Essays in Retrospect. Allen & Unwin, 1970.
  • Diamond, Cora (ed.). Wittgenstein's Lectures on the Foundations of Mathematics. University Of Chicago Press, 1989.
  • Creegan, Charles. Wittgenstein and Kierkegaard: Religion, Individuality and Philosophical Method. Routledge, 1989.
  • Drury, Maurice O'Connor et al. The Danger of Words and Writings on Wittgenstein. Routledge and Kegan Paul, 1973.
  • Drury, Maurice O'Connor. "Conversations with Wittgenstein", in Rush Rhees (ed.). Recollections of Wittgenstein: Hermine Wittgenstein--Fania Pascal--F.R. Leavis--John King--M. O'C. Drury. Oxford University Press, 1984.
  • Edmonds, David and Eidinow, John. Wittgenstein's Poker. Ecco, 2001.
  • Edwards, James C. Ethics Without Philosophy: Wittgenstein and the Moral Life. University Presses of Florida, 1982.
  • Gellner, Ernest. Words and Things. Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1979, originally published 1959.
  • Goldstein, Laurence. Clear and Queer Thinking: Wittgenstein's Development and his Relevance to Modern Thought. Rowman & Littlefield, 1999.
  • Hamann, Brigitte and Thornton, Thomas. Hitler's Vienna: A Dictator's Apprenticeship. Oxford University Press, 2000.
  • Kanterian, Edward. Ludwig Wittgenstein. Reaktion Books, 2007.
  • Klagge, James Carl. Wittgenstein: Biography and Philosophy. Cambridge University Press, 2001.
  • Klagge, James Carl and Nordmann, Alfred (eds.). Ludwig Wittgenstein: Public and Private Occasions. Rowman & Littlefield, 2003.
  • Kripke, Saul. Wittgenstein on rules and private language: an elementary exposition. Harvard University Press, 1982.
  • Leitner, Bernhard. The Architecture of Ludwig Wittgenstein: A Documentation. Press of the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design, 1973.
  • Malcolm, Norman. Ludwig Wittgenstein: A Memoir. Oxford University Press, 1958.
  • McGuinness, Brian. Wittgenstein: A Life : Young Ludwig 1889-1921. University of California Press, 1988.
  • Monk, Ray. Ludwig Wittgenstein: The Duty of Genius. Free Press, 1990.
  • Nedo, Michael and Ranchetti, Michele (eds.). Ludwig Wittgenstein: sein Leben in Bildern und Texten. Suhrkamp, 1983.
  • Perloff, Marjorie. Wittgenstein's Ladder: Poetic Language and the Strangeness of the Ordinary. University of Chicago Press, 1996.
  • Peterman, James F. Philosophy as therapy. SUNY Press, 1992.
  • Russell, Bertrand. Autobiography. Routledge, 1998.
  • Russell, Bertrand. "Introduction", Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus, May 1922.
  • Shanker, S., & Shanker, V. A. (eds.). Ludwig Wittgenstein: Critical Assessments. Croom Helm, 1986.
  • Sluga, Hans D. (ed.). The Cambridge Companion to Wittgenstein. Cambridge University Press, 1996.
  • Waugh, Alexander. The House of Wittgenstein: A Family at War. Random House of Canada, 2008.
  • Whitehead, Alfred North and Russell, Bertrand. Principia Mathematica. Cambridge University Press, first published 1910.

Further reading

Bergen and Cambridge archives
Papers about his Nachlass
  • Baker, G.P. and Hacker, P.M.S. Wittgenstein: Understanding and Meaning. Blackwell, 1980.
  • Baker, G.P. and Hacker, P.M.S. Wittgenstein: Rules, Grammar, and Necessity. Blackwell, 1985.
  • Baker, G.P. and Hacker, P.M.S. Wittgenstein: Meaning and Mind. Blackwell, 1990.
  • Brockhaus, Richard R. Pulling Up the Ladder: The Metaphysical Roots of Wittgenstein's Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus. Open Court, 1990.
  • Engelmann, Paul. Letters from Ludwig Wittgenstein. Basil Blackwell, 1967
  • Fraser, Giles. "Investigating Wittgenstein, part 1: Falling in love", The Guardian, 25 January 2010.
  • Grayling, A.C. Wittgenstein: A Very Short Introduction. Oxford University Press, 2001.
  • Hacker, P.M.S.. Insight and Illusion: Themes in the Philosophy of Wittgenstein. Clarendon Press, 1986.
  • Hacker, P.M.S. "Wittgenstein, Ludwig Josef Johann", in Ted Honderich (ed.). The Oxford Companion to Philosophy. Oxford University Press, 1995.
  • Hacker, P.M.S. Wittgenstein's Place in Twentieth Century Analytic Philosophy. Blackwell, 1996.
  • Hacker, P.M.S. Wittgenstein: Mind and Will. Blackwell, 1996.
  • Jormakka, Kari. "The Fifth Wittgenstein", Datutop 24, 2004, a discussion of the connection between Wittgenstein's architecture and his philosophy.
  • Levy, Paul. Moore: G.E. Moore and the Cambridge Apostles. Weidenfeld & Nicholson, 1979.
  • McGuinness, Brian. Wittgenstein in Cambridge: Letters and Documents 1911-1951. Wiley-Blackwell, 2008.
  • Padilla Gálvez, J., Wittgenstein, from a New Point of View. Wittgenstein-Studien. Frankfurt a.M.: Lang, 2003. ISBN: 3-631-50623-6.
  • Padilla Gálvez, J., Philosophical Anthropology. Wittgenstein’s Perspectives. Frankfurt a. M.: Ontos Verlag, 2010. ISBN: 978-3-86838-0687-5.
  • Monk, Ray. How To Read Wittgenstein. Norton, 2005.
  • Pears, David F. "A Special Supplement: The Development of Wittgenstein’s Philosophy", The New York Review of Books, 10 July 1969.
  • Pears, David F. The False Prison, A Study of the Development of Wittgenstein's Philosophy, Volumes 1 and 2. Oxford University Press, 1987 and 1988.
  • Richter, Duncan J. "Ludwig Wittgenstein (1889—1951)", Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy, 30 August 2004, accessed 16 September 2010.
  • Scheman, Naomi and O'Connor, Peg (eds.). Feminist Interpretations of Ludwig Wittgenstein. Penn State Press, 2002.
Works referencing Wittgenstein

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Игры ⚽ Поможем написать реферат

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Ludwig Wittgenstein — Ludwig Wittgenstein, 1910 Ludwig Josef Johann Wittgenstein (* 26. April 1889 in Wien; † 29. April 1951 in Cambridge) war ein österreichisch britischer Philosoph. Er lieferte bedeutende Beiträge zur Philosophie der Logik, der Sprache und des …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Ludwig Wittgenstein — «Wittgenstein» redirige aquí. Para otras acepciones, véase Wittgenstein (desambiguación). Ludwig Wittgenstein Retrato de Wittgenstein dedicado a su amigo Eccl …   Wikipedia Español

  • Ludwig Wittgenstein — « Wittgenstein » redirige ici. Pour les autres significations, voir Wittgenstein (homonymie). Ludwig Wittgenstein Philosophe et logicien Époque contemporaine …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Ludwig Wittgenstein — noun British philosopher born in Austria; a major influence on logic and logical positivism (1889 1951) • Syn: ↑Wittgenstein, ↑Ludwig Josef Johan Wittgenstein • Instance Hypernyms: ↑philosopher * * * Ludwig Wittgenstein …   Useful english dictionary

  • Ludwig Wittgenstein — Ludwig Josef Johann Wittgenstein (*Viena, Austria, 26 de abril de 1889 †Cambridge, Gran Bretaña, 29 de abril de 1951) Filósofo austríaco que se interesó, fundamentalmente, por la estructura lógica del lenguaje. En vida publicó solamente un libro …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Ludwig Wittgenstein — ➡ Wittgenstein * * * …   Universalium

  • Ludwig-Wittgenstein-Preis — Der Ludwig Wittgenstein Preis ist ein Preis, der für die herausragende Leistung einer Person oder für ein Gemeinschaftswerk auf dem Gebiet der Wissenschaft und mit Bezug zu Österreich vergeben wird. Der Preis wird durch die Österreichische… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Ludwig Wittgenstein — Lenguaje Los límites de mi lenguaje son los límites de mi mundo. Mentira Nada es tan difícil como no engañarse. Necedad Nuestras mayores tonterías pueden ser muy sabias. Silencio De lo que no podemos hablar debemos guardar silencio …   Diccionario de citas

  • Ludwig Wittgenstein — n. (1889 1951) Austrian philosopher who studied and taught at Cambridge University, author of Philosophical Investigations …   English contemporary dictionary

  • Liste Des Œuvres De Ludwig Wittgenstein — Posthume à trois ouvrages près, l œuvre de Ludwig Wittgenstein est néanmoins philosophiquement l une des plus importante du XXe siècle. Après le Tractatus, les Quelques remarques sur la forme logique, et un Wörterbuch für Volkschulen[1],… …   Wikipédia en Français

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”