Ludwig Wittgenstein  

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"What can be said at all can be said clearly; and what we cannot talk about we must pass over in silence"

"A serious and good philosophical work could be written consisting entirely of jokes"

"Suppose everyone had a box with something in it: we call it a "beetle". No one can look into anyone else's box, and everyone says he knows what a beetle is only by looking at his beetle. Here it would be quite possible for everyone to have something different in his box." --Philosophical Investigations

"What is our aim in philosophy? — To show the fly the way out of the fly-bottle" --Philosophical Investigations

"Wittgenstein, who resented Freud, nevertheless resembles Freud in his suspicious and defensive reaction to Shakespeare, who is an affront to the philosopher even as he is to the psychoanalyst." --The Western Canon (1994), Harold Bloom, p. 22

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Ludwig Josef Johann Wittgenstein (April 26, 1889 – April 29, 1951) was an Austrian philosopher who contributed several ground-breaking ideas to philosophy, primarily in the foundations of logic, the philosophy of mathematics, the philosophy of language, and the philosophy of mind.His influence has been wide-ranging, placing him among the most significant philosophers of the 20th century. He is best-know for his Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus (1921), his only book-length work published in his lifetime.


Vita sexualis

Most of what is known from Wittgenstein's vita sexualis comes from Wittgenstein (1973, Open Court) by William Warren Bartley:

"Throughout his life... Wittgenstein was tormented by intense guilt and suffering over his sexual desires and activities." (Pg. 26)

Though few, Wittgenstein had both heterosexual and homosexual affairs. His male lovers include David Hume Pinsent in 1912, Francis Skinner in 1930, and Ben Richards in the late 1940s. Additionally, in the 1920s Wittgenstein became infatuated with a young Swiss woman, Marguerite Respinger, modelling a sculpture of her and proposing marriage, albeit on condition that they did not have children.



Important publications

  • 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 from his writings 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 1933–35)
  • Philosophische Bemerkungen, ed. by Rush Rhees (1964)
    • Philosophical Remarks (1975)
    • Philosophical Grammar (1978)
  • Bemerkungen über die Farben, ed. by G.E.M. Anscombe (1977)

Later work

  • On Certainty — A collection of aphorisms discussing the relation between knowledge and certainty, extremely influential in the philosophy of action.
  • Remarks on Colour — Remarks on Goethe's Theory of Colours.
  • Culture and Value — A collection of personal remarks about various cultural issues, such as religion and music, as well as critique of Søren Kierkegaard's philosophy.
  • Zettel, another collection of Wittgenstein's thoughts in fragmentary/"diary entry" format as with On Certainty and Culture and Value.

Works about Wittgenstein

  • The Jew of Linz, by Kimberley Cornish, puts forward the controversial thesis that Hitler's antisemitism arose from his dislike of Wittgenstein, and that Wittgenstein was a Soviet agent who recruited the "Cambridge Five".
  • City of God depicts an imaginary rivalry between Wittgenstein and Einstein, with Wittgenstein assuming the role of the narrator. Authored by E. L. Doctorow.
  • Wittgenstein, a film by the avant-garde filmmaker Derek Jarman (1993). The script and the original treatment by Terry Eagleton have been published as a book by the British Film Institute.
  • Ludwig Wittgenstein, Architect, an extensive account of Wittgenstein's design of the house for his sister in Vienna. Written by Paul Wijdeveld, MIT Press, 1994.
  • The Fifth Wittgenstein, a discussion of the connection between Wittgenstein's architecture and his philosophy by Kari Jormakka, Datutop 24, 2004.
  • The World as I Found It by Bruce Duffy, a recreation of the life of Wittgenstein (1987).
  • Wittgenstein's Poker: The Story of a Ten-Minute Argument Between Two Great Philosophers, by David Edmonds and John Eidenow (2002), describes the famous 10 minute meeting between Wittgenstein and Karl Popper which occurred on October 25, 1946. ISBN 0-06-093664-9.
  • Feminist Interpretations of Ludwig Wittgenstein, edited by Naomi Scheman and Peg O'Connor, offers a look at Wittgenstein's philosophies through a feminist perspective. ISBN 0-271-02198-5.
  • Oppression and Responsibility by Peg O'Connor, a Wittgensteinian approach to social practice and moral theory.

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