Ludwig Wittgenstein

In the words of a friend and literary executor, Georg Henrik von Wright, he believed that —

For Wittgenstein, who highly valued precision and discipline, contemporary music was never considered acceptable at all. He said to his friend Drury in 1930,

The family appeared to have a strong streak of depression running through it. Anthony Gottlieb tells a story about Paul practicing on one of the pianos in the Wittgensteins' main family mansion, when he suddenly shouted at Ludwig in the next room:

Is what I am doing [my work in philosophy] really worth the effort? Yes, but only if a light shines on it from above.

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

I have to be frightfully careful and tolerant when he gets these sulky fits

I am afraid he is in an even more sensitive neurotic state just now than usual

Wittgenstein sitting with his friends and family in Vienna. Marguerite Respinger sits at the end of the left and the sculpture he made of her sits behind him on the mantel-place

He wrote in May 1912 that Wittgenstein had just begun to study the history of philosophy:

The last time they saw each other was on 8 October 1913 at Lordswood House in Birmingham, then residence of the Pinsent family:

It was during this time that Wittgenstein began addressing what he considered to be a central issue in Notes on Logic, a general decision procedure for determining the truth value of logical propositions which would stem from a single primitive proposition. He became convinced during this time that

Based on this, Wittgenstein argued that propositions of logic express their truth or falsehood in the sign itself, and one need not know anything about the constituent parts of the proposition to determine it true or false. Rather, one simply need identify the statement as a tautology (true), a contradiction (false), or neither. The problem lay in forming a primitive proposition which encompassed this and would act as the basis for all of logic. As he stated in correspondence with Russell in late 1913,

"the multi-millionaire as a village schoolmaster is surely a piece of perversity."

In the summer of 1920, Wittgenstein worked as a gardener for a monastery. At first he applied, under a false name, for a teaching post at Reichenau, was awarded the job, but he declined it when his identity was discovered. As a teacher, he wished to no longer be recognized as a member of the Wittgenstein family. In response, his brother Paul wrote:

The whole modern conception of the world is founded on the illusion that the so-called laws of nature are the explanations of natural phenomena. Thus people today stop at the laws of nature, treating them as something inviolable, just as God and Fate were treated in past ages. And in fact both were right and both wrong; though the view of the ancients is clearer insofar as they have an acknowledged terminus, while the modern system tries to make it look as if everything were explained.

to hurt his pride, as a form of punishment; it was to dismantle it – to remove a barrier, as it were, that stood in the way of honest and decent thought.

I am not interested in erecting a building, but in [...] presenting to myself the foundations of all possible buildings.

Wittgenstein: If a man says to me, looking at the sky, 'I think it will rain, therefore I exist', I do not understand him.

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.

I won't say 'See you tomorrow' because that would be like predicting the future, and I'm pretty sure I can't do that.

There are many diverging interpretations of Wittgenstein's thought. In the words of his friend and colleague Georg Henrik von Wright:

In October 1944, Wittgenstein returned to Cambridge around the same time as did Russell, who had been living in the United States for several years. Russell returned to Cambridge after a backlash in America to his writings on morals and religion. Wittgenstein said of Russell's works to Drury:

Russell made similar disparaging comments about Wittgenstein's later work:

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