Ludwig Wittgenstein

Ludwig Wittgenstein

Overview
Ludwig Josef Johann Wittgenstein (26 April 1889 – 29 April 1951) was an Austrian
Austrian
Austrian can refer to:* Someone from Austria or of Austrian descent. See Austrians.* Someone who is considered an Austrian citizen. See Austrian nationality law.* Something associated with the country Austria...

 philosopher who worked primarily in logic
Logic
In philosophy, Logic is the formal systematic study of the principles of valid inference and correct reasoning. Logic is used in most intellectual activities, but is studied primarily in the disciplines of philosophy, mathematics, semantics, and computer science...

, the philosophy of mathematics
Philosophy of mathematics
The philosophy of mathematics is the branch of philosophy that studies the philosophical assumptions, foundations, and implications of mathematics. The aim of the philosophy of mathematics is to provide an account of the nature and methodology of mathematics and to understand the place of...

, the philosophy of mind
Philosophy of mind
Philosophy of mind is a branch of philosophy that studies the nature of the mind, mental events, mental functions, mental properties, consciousness and their relationship to the physical body, particularly the brain. The mind-body problem, i.e...

, and the philosophy of language
Philosophy of language
Philosophy of language is the reasoned inquiry into the nature, origins, and usage of language. As a topic, the philosophy of language for analytic philosophers is concerned with four central problems: the nature of meaning, language use, language cognition, and the relationship between language...

. He was professor in philosophy at the University of Cambridge
University of Cambridge
The University of Cambridge is a public research university located in Cambridge, United Kingdom. It is the second-oldest university in both the United Kingdom and the English-speaking world , and the seventh-oldest globally...

 from 1939 until 1947. In his lifetime he published just one book review, one article, a children's dictionary, and the 75-page Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus
Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus
The Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus is the only book-length philosophical work published by the Austrian philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein in his lifetime. It was an ambitious project: to identify the relationship between language and reality and to define the limits of science...

(1921). In 1999 his posthumously published Philosophical Investigations
Philosophical Investigations
Philosophical Investigations is, along with the Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus, one of the most influential works by the 20th-century philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein...

(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".
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Quotations

"It is necessary to be given the prop that all elementary props are given." This is not necessary because it is even impossible. There is no such prop! That all elementary props are given is SHOWN by there being none having an elementary sense which is not given.

Notes of 1919, as quoted in Ludwig Wittgenstein : The Duty of Genius (1990) by Ray Monk

A proposition is completely logically analyzed if its grammar is made completely clear: no matter what idiom it may be written or expressed in...

Philosophical Remarks (1930), Part I (1)

Tell them I've had a wonderful life.

Last words, to his doctor's wife. (28 April 1951), as quoted in Ludwig Wittgenstein : A Memoir (1966) by Norman Malcolm|Norman Malcolm, p. 100

What is troubling us is the tendency to believe that the mind is like a little man within.

Remarks to John Wisdom|John Wisdom, quoted in Zen and the Work of WIttgenstein by Paul Weinpaul in The Chicago Review Vol. 12, (1958), p. 70

Make sure that your religion is a matter between you and God only.

Comment to Maurice O'Connor Drury|Maurice O'Connor Drury, as quoted in Wittgenstein Reads Freud : The Myth of the Unconscious (1996) by Jacques Bouveresse, as translated by Carol Cosman, p. 14

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

As quoted in "A View from the Asylum" in Philosophical Investigations from the Sanctity of the Press (2004), by Henry Dribble, p. 87
Encyclopedia
Ludwig Josef Johann Wittgenstein (26 April 1889 – 29 April 1951) was an Austrian
Austrian
Austrian can refer to:* Someone from Austria or of Austrian descent. See Austrians.* Someone who is considered an Austrian citizen. See Austrian nationality law.* Something associated with the country Austria...

 philosopher who worked primarily in logic
Logic
In philosophy, Logic is the formal systematic study of the principles of valid inference and correct reasoning. Logic is used in most intellectual activities, but is studied primarily in the disciplines of philosophy, mathematics, semantics, and computer science...

, the philosophy of mathematics
Philosophy of mathematics
The philosophy of mathematics is the branch of philosophy that studies the philosophical assumptions, foundations, and implications of mathematics. The aim of the philosophy of mathematics is to provide an account of the nature and methodology of mathematics and to understand the place of...

, the philosophy of mind
Philosophy of mind
Philosophy of mind is a branch of philosophy that studies the nature of the mind, mental events, mental functions, mental properties, consciousness and their relationship to the physical body, particularly the brain. The mind-body problem, i.e...

, and the philosophy of language
Philosophy of language
Philosophy of language is the reasoned inquiry into the nature, origins, and usage of language. As a topic, the philosophy of language for analytic philosophers is concerned with four central problems: the nature of meaning, language use, language cognition, and the relationship between language...

. He was professor in philosophy at the University of Cambridge
University of Cambridge
The University of Cambridge is a public research university located in Cambridge, United Kingdom. It is the second-oldest university in both the United Kingdom and the English-speaking world , and the seventh-oldest globally...

 from 1939 until 1947. In his lifetime he published just one book review, one article, a children's dictionary, and the 75-page Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus
Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus
The Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus is the only book-length philosophical work published by the Austrian philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein in his lifetime. It was an ambitious project: to identify the relationship between language and reality and to define the limits of science...

(1921). In 1999 his posthumously published Philosophical Investigations
Philosophical Investigations
Philosophical Investigations is, along with the Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus, one of the most influential works by the 20th-century philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein...

(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". Bertrand Russell
Bertrand Russell
Bertrand Arthur William Russell, 3rd Earl Russell, OM, FRS was a British philosopher, logician, mathematician, historian, and social critic. At various points in his life he considered himself a liberal, a socialist, and a pacifist, but he also admitted that he had never been any of these things...

 described him as "the most perfect example I have ever known of genius as traditionally conceived, passionate, profound, intense, and dominating."

Born in Vienna
Vienna
Vienna is the capital and largest city of the Republic of Austria and one of the nine states of Austria. Vienna is Austria's primary city, with a population of about 1.723 million , and is by far the largest city in Austria, as well as its cultural, economic, and political centre...

 into one of Europe's wealthiest families, he gave away his entire inheritance. Three of his brothers committed suicide, with Ludwig contemplating it too. He tried to leave philosophy several times: serving as an officer on the front lines during the First World War, where he was decorated a number of times for his courage; teaching in schools in remote Austrian villages, where he got in trouble for hitting children when they made mathematical mistakes; and working during the Second World War as a hospital porter in London, where he told the patients not to take the drugs they were prescribed, and where no-one knew he was one of the world's most famous philosophers.

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 logical relationship between propositions and the world, and believed that by providing an account of the logic underlying 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
Language-game
A language-game is a philosophical concept developed by Ludwig Wittgenstein, referring to simple examples of language use and the actions into which the language is woven.- Description :...

. 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
Georg Henrik von Wright
Georg Henrik von Wright was a Finnish philosopher, who succeeded Ludwig Wittgenstein as professor at the University of Cambridge. He published in English, Finnish, German, and in Swedish. Belonging to the Swedish-speaking minority of Finland, von Wright also had Finnish and 17th-century Scottish...

:

The Wittgensteins


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
Siegen-Wittgenstein
Siegen-Wittgenstein is a Kreis in the southeast of North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. Neighboring districts are Olpe, Hochsauerlandkreis, Waldeck-Frankenberg, Marburg-Biedenkopf, Lahn-Dill, Westerwaldkreis, Altenkirchen.-History:...

, Westphalia. In July 1808, Napoleon issued a decree that everyone, including Jews, must adopt an inheritable family surname
Jewish surname
Jews have historically used Hebrew patronymic names. In the Jewish patronymic system the first name is followed by either ben- or bat- , and then the father's name....

, and so Meier's son, also Moses, took the name of his employers, the Sayn-Wittgenstein
Sayn-Wittgenstein
Sayn-Wittgenstein was a county of mediæval Germany, located in the Sauerland of eastern North Rhine-Westphalia. Sayn-Wittgenstein was created when Count Salentin of Sayn-Homburg married the heiress Countess Adelaide of Wittgenstein in 1345...

s, and became Moses Meier Wittgenstein. 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. Ludwig's grandmother, Fanny Figdor, was a first cousin of the famous violinist Joseph Joachim
Joseph Joachim
Joseph Joachim was a Hungarian violinist, conductor, composer and teacher. A close collaborator of Johannes Brahms, he is widely regarded as one of the most significant violinists of the 19th century.-Origins:...

. 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 Europe, with an effective monopoly on Austria's steel cartel. Thanks to Karl, the Wittgensteins became the second wealthiest family in the Habsburg Empire, behind only to the Rothschilds
Rothschild family
The Rothschild family , known as The House of Rothschild, or more simply as the Rothschilds, is a Jewish-German family that established European banking and finance houses starting in the late 18th century...

. 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
World War I
World War I , which was predominantly called the World War or the Great War from its occurrence until 1939, and the First World War or World War I thereafter, was a major war centred in Europe that began on 28 July 1914 and lasted until 11 November 1918...

. The family wealth was nonetheless diminished by the hyper-inflation (1922), and later on, by the Great Depression
Great Depression
The Great Depression was a severe worldwide economic depression in the decade preceding World War II. The timing of the Great Depression varied across nations, but in most countries it started in about 1929 and lasted until the late 1930s or early 1940s...

; 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.

Early life




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. Karl and Poldi, as she was known, had nine children in all. There were four girls: Hermine, Margaret
Margaret Stonborough-Wittgenstein
Margarethe "Gretl" Stonborough-Wittgenstein , of the prominent and wealthy Viennese Wittgenstein family, was a sister of the philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein and the pianist Paul Wittgenstein...

 (Gretl), Helene, and a fourth daughter who died as a baby; and five boys: Johannes (Hans), Kurt, Rudolf (Rudi), and Paul
Paul Wittgenstein
Paul Wittgenstein was an Austrian-born concert pianist, who became known for his ability to play with just his left hand, after he lost his right arm during the First World War. He devised novel techniques, including pedal and hand-movement combinations, that allowed him to play chords previously...

, 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
Maurice Ravel
Joseph-Maurice Ravel was a French composer known especially for his melodies, orchestral and instrumental textures and effects...

's Piano Concerto for the Left Hand
Piano Concerto for the Left Hand (Ravel)
The Piano Concerto for the Left Hand in D major was composed by Maurice Ravel between 1929 and 1930, concurrently with his Piano Concerto in G. It was commissioned by the Austrian pianist, Paul Wittgenstein, who lost his right arm during World War I....

). Ludwig was the youngest of the family.

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
Bruno Walter
Bruno Walter was a German-born conductor. He is considered one of the best known conductors of the 20th century. Walter was born in Berlin, but is known to have lived in several countries between 1933 and 1939, before finally settling in the United States in 1939...

 describing life at Palais Wittgenstein as an "all-pervading atmosphere of humanity and culture". Karl was a leading patron of the arts, commissioning works by Auguste Rodin
Auguste Rodin
François-Auguste-René Rodin , known as Auguste Rodin , was a French sculptor. Although Rodin is generally considered the progenitor of modern sculpture, he did not set out to rebel against the past...

 and financing the city's exhibition hall and art gallery, the Secession Building
Secession hall (Austria)
The Secession building is an exhibition hall built in 1897 by Joseph Maria Olbrich as an architectural manifesto for the Vienna Secession, located in Vienna, Austria...

. Gustav Klimt
Gustav Klimt
Gustav Klimt was an Austrian Symbolist painter and one of the most prominent members of the Vienna Secession movement. His major works include paintings, murals, sketches, and other art objects...

 painted Wittgenstein's sister for her wedding portrait, and Johannes Brahms
Johannes Brahms
Johannes Brahms was a German composer and pianist, and one of the leading musicians of the Romantic period. Born in Hamburg, Brahms spent much of his professional life in Vienna, Austria, where he was a leader of the musical scene...

 and Gustav Mahler
Gustav Mahler
Gustav Mahler was a late-Romantic Austrian composer and one of the leading conductors of his generation. He was born in the village of Kalischt, Bohemia, in what was then Austria-Hungary, now Kaliště in the Czech Republic...

 gave regular concerts in the family's numerous music rooms.

For Ludwig 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." Ludwig himself had absolute pitch
Absolute pitch
Absolute pitch , widely referred to as perfect pitch, is the ability of a person to identify or re-create a given musical note without the benefit of an external reference.-Definition:...

 perception, 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
Clarinet
The clarinet is a musical instrument of woodwind type. The name derives from adding the suffix -et to the Italian word clarino , as the first clarinets had a strident tone similar to that of a trumpet. The instrument has an approximately cylindrical bore, and uses a single reed...

 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



Ray Monk
Ray Monk
Ray Monk is a Professor of Philosophy at the University of Southampton, where he has taught since 1992.He won the Mail on Sunday/John Llewellyn Rhys Prize and the 1991 Duff Cooper Prize for Ludwig Wittgenstein: The Duty of Genius. His interests lie in the philosophy of mathematics, the history of...

 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 industrial empire. Anthony Kenny
Anthony Kenny
Sir Anthony John Patrick Kenny FBA is an English philosopher whose interests lie in the philosophy of mind, ancient and scholastic philosophy, the philosophy of Wittgenstein and the philosophy of religion...

 informs us that three of them committed suicide, Paul became a concert pianist, and Ludwig a philosopher. The Irish psychiatrist Michael Fitzgerald
Michael Fitzgerald (psychiatrist)
Michael Fitzgerald is an Irish psychiatrist and professor of child and adolescent psychiatry at Trinity College, Dublin. He was the first professor in his field in Ireland.-Views on autism:...

 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. Johannes Brahms said of the family, who he visited regularly: "They seemed to act towards one another as if they were at court". Whatever the reason for it, the family appeared to have a strong streak of depression running through it, or what Anthony Gottlieb
Anthony Gottlieb
Anthony Gottlieb is a British writer, former Executive Editor of The Economist, and historian of ideas who has taught at the CUNY Graduate Center and the New School in New York, where he has taught a course called "On Nothing" twice. He is a visiting scholar at New York University and a fellow of...

 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!"
The eldest brother, Hans, was hailed as a musical prodigy. At the age of four, Waugh writes, Hans could identify the Doppler effect
Doppler effect
The Doppler effect , named after Austrian physicist Christian Doppler who proposed it in 1842 in Prague, is the change in frequency of a wave for an observer moving relative to the source of the wave. It is commonly heard when a vehicle sounding a siren or horn approaches, passes, and recedes from...

 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. But he died in mysterious circumstances in May 1902, when he ran away to America then disappeared from a boat in Chesapeake Bay
Chesapeake Bay
The Chesapeake Bay is the largest estuary in the United States. It lies off the Atlantic Ocean, surrounded by Maryland and Virginia. The Chesapeake Bay's drainage basin covers in the District of Columbia and parts of six states: New York, Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, and West...

, most likely having committed suicide.

Exactly a year later, aged 22 and studying chemistry at the Berlin Academy, the third eldest brother, Rudi, walked into a bar on the Brandenburgstrasse, asked the pianist to play Thomas Koschat's "Verlassen, verlassen, verlassen bin ich ("Forsaken, forsaken, forsaken am I"), then mixed himself a drink of milk and potassium cyanide
Potassium cyanide
Potassium cyanide is an inorganic compound with the formula KCN. This colorless crystalline compound, similar in appearance to sugar, is highly soluble in water. Most KCN is used in gold mining, organic synthesis, and electroplating. Smaller applications include jewelry for chemical gilding and...

, dying in agony in the bar. 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
Scientific-Humanitarian Committee
The Scientific-Humanitarian Committee was founded in Berlin on the 14th or 15 May, 1897, to campaign for social recognition of homosexual, bisexual and transgender men and women, and against their legal persecution...

, an organization that was campaigning against Paragraph 175
Paragraph 175
Paragraph 175 was a provision of the German Criminal Code from 15 May 1871 to 10 March 1994. It made homosexual acts between males a crime, and in early revisions the provision also criminalized bestiality. All in all, around 140,000 men were convicted under the law.The statute was amended several...

 of the German Criminal Code, which from 1871 until 1969 forbade homosexual sex. His father forbade the family from ever mentioning his name again.
"It's impossible for me to say one word about all that music has meant to me in my life. How, then, can I hope to be understood?"
— Wittgenstein, 1949

The second eldest brother, Kurt, did become a company director, 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. 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. The latter told a friend, David Pinsent
David Pinsent
David Hume Pinsent was a friend and collaborator of the Austrian philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein. Wittgenstein described him as his first and only friend, and dedicated his Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus to Pinsent's memory....

, 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. Later Wittgenstein wrote: "I ought to have... become a star in the sky. Instead of which I have remained stuck on earth."

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
Gymnasium (school)
A gymnasium is a type of school providing secondary education in some parts of Europe, comparable to English grammar schools or sixth form colleges and U.S. college preparatory high schools. The word γυμνάσιον was used in Ancient Greece, meaning a locality for both physical and intellectual...

 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.
K.u.k.
The German phrase kaiserlich und königlich , typically abbreviated as k. u. k., k. und k. , or k. & k., refers to the Court of the Habsburgs in a broader historical perspective . Some modern authors restrict its use to the Dual Monarchy of Austria-Hungary from 1867 to 1918...

 Realschule
Realschule
The Realschule is a type of secondary school in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, and Liechtenstein. It has also existed in Croatia , Denmark , Sweden , Hungary and in the Russian Empire .-History:The Realschule was an outgrowth of the rationalism and empiricism of the seventeenth and...

 in Linz
Linz
Linz is the third-largest city of Austria and capital of the state of Upper Austria . It is located in the north centre of Austria, approximately south of the Czech border, on both sides of the river Danube. The population of the city is , and that of the Greater Linz conurbation is about...

, a small state school with 300 pupils. 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.

On starting at the Realschule, Wittgenstein had been moved forward a year. Historian Brigitte Hamann
Brigitte Hamann
Brigitte Hamann Ph.D., is a German-Austrian author and historian based in Vienna.Born Brigitte Deitert in Essen, Germany, she studied history in Münster and Vienna and for a time worked as a journalist in her native Essen...

 writes that he stood out from the other boys: he spoke an unusually pure form of High German with a stutter, dressed elegantly, and was sensitive and unsociable. 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." Monk writes that the other boys made fun of him, singing after him: "Wittgenstein wandelt wehmütig widriger Winde wegen Wienwärts" ("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)."

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
Adolf Hitler
Adolf Hitler was an Austrian-born German politician and the leader of the National Socialist German Workers Party , commonly referred to as the Nazi Party). He was Chancellor of Germany from 1933 to 1945, and head of state from 1934 to 1945...

 was at the same school for part of the same time. Laurence Goldstein
Laurence Goldstein
Laurence Goldstein is a poet, editor, and professor in the University of Michigan Department of English Language and Literature. Born in Los Angeles, California in 1943, he received a B.A. from UCLA in 1965 and a PhD from Brown University in 1970...

 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 ..." 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.

Although many of the wealthiest families in Vienna were Jewish, it was also 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
Samson Wertheimer
Samson Wertheimer was chief rabbi of Hungary and Moravia, and rabbi of Eisenstadt. He was also an Austrian financier, court Jew and Shtadlan to Austrian Emperor Leopold I.-Family:...

 (1678–1724), the banker Samuel Oppenheimer
Samuel Oppenheimer
Samuel Oppenheimer was a Jewish banker, imperial court diplomat, factor, and military supplier for the Holy Roman Emperor. He enjoyed special favor of Emperor Leopold I, to whom he advanced considerable sums of money for the Great Turkish War...

 (1678–1724), and the composers Giacomo Meyerbeer
Giacomo Meyerbeer
Giacomo Meyerbeer was a noted German opera composer, and the first great exponent of "grand opera." At his peak in the 1830s and 1840s, he was the most famous and successful composer of opera in Europe, yet he is rarely performed today.-Early years:He was born to a Jewish family in Tasdorf , near...

 (1791–1864) and Felix Mendelssohn
Felix Mendelssohn
Jakob Ludwig Felix Mendelssohn Barthóldy , use the form 'Mendelssohn' and not 'Mendelssohn Bartholdy'. The Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians gives ' Felix Mendelssohn' as the entry, with 'Mendelssohn' used in the body text...

 (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. 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—Ray Monk
Ray Monk
Ray Monk is a Professor of Philosophy at the University of Southampton, where he has taught since 1992.He won the Mail on Sunday/John Llewellyn Rhys Prize and the 1991 Duff Cooper Prize for Ludwig Wittgenstein: The Duty of Genius. His interests lie in the philosophy of mathematics, the history of...

 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.

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. 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. Hitler referred in Mein Kampf
Mein Kampf
Mein Kampf is a book written by Nazi leader Adolf Hitler. It combines elements of autobiography with an exposition of Hitler's political ideology. Volume 1 of Mein Kampf was published in 1925 and Volume 2 in 1926...

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." Several commentators have argued that a school photograph of Hitler may show Wittgenstein in the lower left corner, but Hamann says the photograph stems from 1900 or 1901, before Wittgenstein's time.

In his own writings 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)". While Wittgenstein would later claim that "[m]y thoughts are 100% Hebraic", as Hans Sluga
Hans Sluga
Hans D. Sluga is a German academic, who is a professor of philosophy at the University of California, Berkeley. He teaches and writes on, among other things, Gottlob Frege, Ludwig Wittgenstein, Martin Heidegger, Michel Foucault, and German philosophy in the Nazi period.He studied at the...

 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."

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
Arthur Schopenhauer
Arthur Schopenhauer was a German philosopher known for his pessimism and philosophical clarity. At age 25, he published his doctoral dissertation, On the Fourfold Root of the Principle of Sufficient Reason, which examined the four separate manifestations of reason in the phenomenal...

's The World as Will and Representation
The World as Will and Representation
The World as Will and Representation is the central work of the German philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer. The first edition was published in December 1818, and the second expanded edition in 1844. In 1948, an abridged version was edited by Thomas Mann....

. 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
Gottlob Frege
Friedrich Ludwig Gottlob Frege was a German mathematician, logician and philosopher. He is considered to be one of the founders of modern logic, and made major contributions to the foundations of mathematics. He is generally considered to be the father of analytic philosophy, for his writings on...

's conceptual realism. 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".

Influence of Otto Weininger



During Wittgenstein's first term at the Realschule, on 3 October 1903, the Viennese philosopher Otto Weininger
Otto Weininger
Otto Weininger was an Austrian philosopher. In 1903, he published the book Geschlecht und Charakter , which gained popularity after his suicide at the age of 23...

 rented the room in the house at Schwarzspanierstrasse 15, Vienna, in which Beethoven had died, 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
August Strindberg
Johan August Strindberg was a Swedish playwright, novelist, poet, essayist and painter. A prolific writer who often drew directly on his personal experience, Strindberg's career spanned four decades, during which time he wrote over 60 plays and more than 30 works of fiction, autobiography,...

; 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.

Weininger argued that the concepts male and female exist only as Platonic forms
Platonic realism
Platonic realism is a philosophical term usually used to refer to the idea of realism regarding the existence of universals or abstract objects after the Greek philosopher Plato , a student of Socrates. As universals were considered by Plato to be ideal forms, this stance is confusingly also called...

, 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. 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 which they were wrong that was interesting.

Engineering at Berlin and Manchester



He began his studies in mechanical engineering at the Technische Hochschule in Charlottenburg
Charlottenburg
Charlottenburg is a locality of Berlin within the borough of Charlottenburg-Wilmersdorf, named after Queen consort Sophia Charlotte...

, 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. He arrived at the Victoria University of Manchester
Victoria University of Manchester
The Victoria University of Manchester was a university in Manchester, England. On 1 October 2004 it merged with the University of Manchester Institute of Science and Technology to form a new entity, "The University of Manchester".-1851 - 1951:The University was founded in 1851 as Owens College,...

 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. 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.
It was around this time that he became interested in the foundations of mathematics
Foundations of mathematics
Foundations of mathematics is a term sometimes used for certain fields of mathematics, such as mathematical logic, axiomatic set theory, proof theory, model theory, type theory and recursion theory...

, particularly after reading Bertrand Russell's The Principles of Mathematics
The Principles of Mathematics
The Principles of Mathematics is a book written by Bertrand Russell in 1903. In it he presented his famous paradox and argued his thesis that mathematics and logic are identical....

(1903), and Gottlob Frege
Gottlob Frege
Friedrich Ludwig Gottlob Frege was a German mathematician, logician and philosopher. He is considered to be one of the founders of modern logic, and made major contributions to the foundations of mathematics. He is generally considered to be the father of analytic philosophy, for his writings on...

's Grundgesetze der Arithmetik, vol. 1 (1893) and vol. 2 (1903). 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". 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. 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."

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
Trinity College, Cambridge
Trinity College is a constituent college of the University of Cambridge. Trinity has more members than any other college in Cambridge or Oxford, with around 700 undergraduates, 430 graduates, and over 170 Fellows...

. 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." 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
Eric Harold Neville
Eric Harold Neville, known as E. H. Neville was an English mathematician. A heavily fictionalized portrayal of his life is rendered in the 2007 novel The Indian Clerk.-Early life and education:Eric Harold Neville was born in London on 1 January, 1889...

, and H.T.J. Norton, so he was quite pleased at first when Wittgenstein turned up, though less so as the weeks wore on. 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."

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." 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." 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."

Moral Sciences Club and Apostles



In 1912 Wittgenstein joined the Cambridge Moral Sciences Club
Cambridge University Moral Sciences Club
The Cambridge University Moral Sciences Club, founded in October 1878, is a philosophy discussion group that meets weekly at Cambridge during term time. Speakers are invited to give a 30-minute paper, after which discussion is thrown open for several hours....

, 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." 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.

The club became legendary within philosophy because of a meeting on 25 October 1946 at Richard Braithwaite
R. B. Braithwaite
Richard Bevan Braithwaite was an English philosopher who specialized in the philosophy of science, ethics, and the philosophy of religion. He was a lecturer in moral science at the University of Cambridge from 1934 to 1953, then Knightbridge Professor of Moral Philosophy there from 1953 to 1967...

's rooms in King's
King's College, Cambridge
King's College is a constituent college of the University of Cambridge, England. The college's full name is "The King's College of our Lady and Saint Nicholas in Cambridge", but it is usually referred to simply as "King's" within the University....

, where Karl Popper
Karl Popper
Sir Karl Raimund Popper, CH FRS FBA was an Austro-British philosopher and a professor at the London School of Economics...

, 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. The minutes record that the meeting was "charged to an unusual degree with a spirit of controversy".

John Maynard Keynes
John Maynard Keynes
John Maynard Keynes, Baron Keynes of Tilton, CB FBA , was a British economist whose ideas have profoundly affected the theory and practice of modern macroeconomics, as well as the economic policies of governments...

 also invited him to join the Cambridge Apostles
Cambridge Apostles
The Cambridge Apostles, also known as the Cambridge Conversazione Society, is an intellectual secret society at the University of Cambridge founded in 1820 by George Tomlinson, a Cambridge student who went on to become the first Bishop of Gibraltar....

, 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. Lytton Strachey
Lytton Strachey
Giles Lytton Strachey was a British writer and critic. He is best known for establishing a new form of biography in which psychological insight and sympathy are combined with irreverence and wit...

 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?"

Relationship with David Pinsent


It was Russell who introduced Wittgenstein to David Hume Pinsent
David Pinsent
David Hume Pinsent was a friend and collaborator of the Austrian philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein. Wittgenstein described him as his first and only friend, and dedicated his Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus to Pinsent's memory....

 (1891–1918) in the summer of 1912. A mathematics undergraduate and descendant of David Hume
David Hume
David Hume was a Scottish philosopher, historian, economist, and essayist, known especially for his philosophical empiricism and skepticism. He was one of the most important figures in the history of Western philosophy and the Scottish Enlightenment...

, Pinsent became what Wittgenstein called his first and only friend, and is widely regarded as the first of three or four men Wittgenstein fell in love with—followed by Francis Skinner
Francis Skinner
Francis Skinner was a friend, collaborator, and alleged lover of the Austrian philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein. He was born in 1912 in Letchworth, Hertfordshire, England. While studying mathematics at Cambridge in 1930, Skinner fell under Wittgenstein's influence and "became utterly, uncritically,...

 in 1930, Ben Richards in the late 1940s, and to a lesser extent Keith Kirk in 1940—though Kirk did not respond in kind.

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. 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 minimalist enough for Wittgenstein's aesthetics: "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!"

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!" 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.

Work on Logik



Karl Wittgenstein died on 20 January 1913, and on receiving his inheritance Wittgenstein became one of the wealthiest men in Europe. He donated some of it, initially anonymously, to Austrian artists and writers, including Rainer Maria Rilke
Rainer Maria Rilke
René Karl Wilhelm Johann Josef Maria Rilke , better known as Rainer Maria Rilke, was a Bohemian–Austrian poet. He is considered one of the most significant poets in the German language...

 and Georg Trakl
Georg Trakl
Georg Trakl was an Austrian poet. He is considered one of the most important Austrian Expressionists.- Life and work :Trakl was born and lived the first 18 years of his life in Salzburg, Austria...

. 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
Skjolden
Skjolden is a village in the municipality of Luster in Sogn og Fjordane county, Norway. It is located at the end of the Lustrafjord, a branch of the Sognefjord. Skjolden is the innermost point of the Sognefjord, and is the length of the Sognefjord is measured from Skjolden to Ytre Sula island...

 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.

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. 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. The two did not speak again until 1929.

Military service



The outbreak of World War I the next year left Wittgenstein in deep shock. He volunteered for the Austro-Hungarian army
Austro-Hungarian Army
The Austro-Hungarian Army was the ground force of the Austro-Hungarian Dual Monarchy from 1867 to 1918. It was composed of three parts: the joint army , the Austrian Landwehr , and the Hungarian Honvédség .In the wake of fighting between the...

, 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
Brusilov Offensive
The Brusilov Offensive , also known as the June Advance, was the Russian Empire's greatest feat of arms during World War I, and among the most lethal battles in world history. Prof. Graydon A. Tunstall of the University of South Florida called the Brusilov Offensive of 1916 the worst crisis of...

. In action against British troops, he was decorated with the Military Merit with Swords on the Ribbon, and was commended by the army for "His exceptionally courageous behaviour, calmness, sang-froid, and heroism", which "won the total admiration of the troops". In January 1917, he was sent as a member of a howitzer regiment to the Russian front, where he won several more medals for bravery including the Silver Medal for Valour, First Class. In 1918 he was promoted to lieutenant and sent to the Italian front
Italian Campaign (World War I)
The Italian campaign refers to a series of battles fought between the armies of Austria-Hungary and Italy, along with their allies, in northern Italy between 1915 and 1918. Italy hoped that by joining the countries of the Triple Entente against the Central Powers it would gain Cisalpine Tyrol , the...

 as part of an artillery regiment. For his part in the final 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 - it being decided that this particular action, although extraordinarily brave, had been insufficiently consequential to merit the highest honour.

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
Leo Tolstoy
Lev Nikolayevich Tolstoy was a Russian writer who primarily wrote novels and short stories. Later in life, he also wrote plays and essays. His two most famous works, the novels War and Peace and Anna Karenina, are acknowledged as two of the greatest novels of all time and a pinnacle of realist...

's The Gospel in Brief at a bookshop in Galicia
Kingdom of Galicia and Lodomeria
The Kingdom of Galicia and Lodomeria was a crownland of the Habsburg Monarchy, the Austrian Empire, and Austria–Hungary from 1772 to 1918 .This historical region in eastern Central Europe is currently divided between Poland and Ukraine...

, 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". Russell said he returned from the war a changed man, one with a deeply mystical and ascetic attitude.

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.

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. 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
Austro-Hungarian krone
The Krone or korona was the official currency of the Austro-Hungarian Empire from 1892 until the dissolution of the empire in 1918...

 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.

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. Thomas Bernhard
Thomas Bernhard
Thomas Bernhard was an Austrian novelist, playwright and poet. Bernhard, whose body of work has been called "the most significant literary achievement since World War II," is widely considered to be one of the most important German-speaking authors of the postwar era.- Life :Thomas Bernhard was...

, more critically, wrote of this period in Wittgenstein's life: "the multi-millionaire as a village schoolmaster is surely a piece of perversity."

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
William Warren Bartley
William Warren Bartley, III, was an American philosopher and Professor of Philosophy at Stanford University.-Life:...

, a professor of philosophy at Stanford, Wittgenstein engaged in a series of casual homosexual encounters in an area of the city called the Prater
Prater
The Wiener Prater is a large public park in Vienna's 2nd district . The amusement park, often simply called "Prater", stands in one corner of the Wiener Prater and includes the .-Name:...

, 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. 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
Paul Engelmann
Paul Engelmann was a Viennese architect who is now best known for his friendship with the philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein between 1916 and 1928, and for being Wittgenstein's partner in the design and building of the Stonborough House in Vienna.Engelmann was born in Olmütz in 1891, and studied with...

 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!" 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 ..."

Teaching posts in Austria


In 1920 Wittgenstein was given his first job as a primary school teacher in Trattenbach
Trattenbach
Trattenbach is a town in Austria, situated in Lower Austria. 81.31% of the municipality is forested. It is in the industrial part of Lower Austria.-History:In ancient times, the area was part of the Roman province of Noricum.-Other:...

, 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." 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".

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; 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.

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.

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
Wilhelm Ostwald
Friedrich Wilhelm Ostwald was a Baltic German chemist. He received the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1909 for his work on catalysis, chemical equilibria and reaction velocities...

'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. 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.

An English translation was prepared in Cambridge by Frank Ramsey
Frank P. Ramsey
Frank Plumpton Ramsey was a British mathematician who, in addition to mathematics, made significant and precocious contributions in philosophy and economics before his death at the age of 26...

, 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
Baruch Spinoza
Baruch de Spinoza and later Benedict de Spinoza was a Dutch Jewish philosopher. Revealing considerable scientific aptitude, the breadth and importance of Spinoza's work was not fully realized until years after his death...

'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. 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
David Pears
David Pears was a British philosopher renowned for his work on Wittgenstein.An Old Boy of Westminster School, he was in the Royal Artillery during World War II, and was seriously injured in a practice gas attack. After leaving the army he studied classics at Balliol College, Oxford, and was then...

 and Brian McGuinness.

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. 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)."

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):
  1. Die Welt ist alles, was der Fall ist.
    The world is all that is the case.
  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: . Dies ist die allgemeine Form des Satzes.
    The general form of a truth-function is: . 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



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
Puchberg am Schneeberg
Puchberg am Schneeberg is a town in the south-eastern part of Lower Austria with approx. 2650 inhabitants. It is situated about 80 Kilometres from Vienna. The highest point of Puchberg is the Schneeberg with 2076 m, the highest mountain of Lower Austria....

 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
Vienna Circle
The Vienna Circle was an association of philosophers gathered around the University of Vienna in 1922, chaired by Moritz Schlick, also known as the Ernst Mach Society in honour of Ernst Mach...

.

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. 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. 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. 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."

Haidbauer incident, Otterthal



He moved schools again in September 1924, this time to Otterthal
Otterthal
Otterthal is a town in Austria. Situated in Lower Austria, it is in the industrial part of Lower Austria. 61.72 percent of the municipality is forested....

, 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. A first edition sold in 2005 for £75,000.

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. 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!"

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. 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. 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.

Haus Wittgenstein


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
Paul Engelmann
Paul Engelmann was a Viennese architect who is now best known for his friendship with the philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein between 1916 and 1928, and for being Wittgenstein's partner in the design and building of the Stonborough House in Vienna.Engelmann was born in Olmütz in 1891, and studied with...

, 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
Adolf Loos
Adolf Franz Karl Viktor Maria Loos was a Moravian-born Austro-Hungarian architect. He was influential in European Modern architecture, and in his essay Ornament and Crime he repudiated the florid style of the Vienna Secession, the Austrian version of Art Nouveau...

: 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." When the house was nearly finished he had a ceiling raised 30mm so that the room had the exact proportions he wanted.

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

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. Wittgenstein himself found the house too austere, saying it had good manners, but no primordial life or health. 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. 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.

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." 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." Wittgenstein was appointed as a lecturer and was made a fellow of Trinity College.

Anschluss



From 1936 to 1937, Wittgenstein lived again in Norway, 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
Maurice O'Connor Drury
Maurice O'Connor Drury was an English psychiatrist born in Exeter, Devon, England, of Irish parents....

, 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
Taoiseach
The Taoiseach is the head of government or prime minister of Ireland. The Taoiseach is appointed by the President upon the nomination of Dáil Éireann, the lower house of the Oireachtas , and must, in order to remain in office, retain the support of a majority in the Dáil.The current Taoiseach is...

, Éamon de Valera
Éamon de Valera
Éamon de Valera was one of the dominant political figures in twentieth century Ireland, serving as head of government of the Irish Free State and head of government and head of state of Ireland...

, 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
Nuremberg Laws
The Nuremberg Laws of 1935 were antisemitic laws in Nazi Germany introduced at the annual Nuremberg Rally of the Nazi Party. After the takeover of power in 1933 by Hitler, Nazism became an official ideology incorporating scientific racism and antisemitism...

, 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
Mischling
Mischling was the German term used during the Third Reich to denote persons deemed to have only partial Aryan ancestry. The word has essentially the same origin as mestee in English, mestizo in Spanish and métis in French...

) 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.

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
Rassenschande
Rassenschande or Blutschande was the Nazi term for sexual relations between Aryans and non-Aryans, which was punishable by law...

(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.

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.

A few days before the invasion of Poland, Hitler personally granted Mischling status to the Wittgenstein siblings. In 1939 there were 2,100 applications for this, and Hitler granted only 12. 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 large foreign currency reserves were 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.

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. 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
Sofya Yanovskaya
Sofya Aleksandrovna Yanovskaya was a mathematician and historian, specializing in the history of mathematics, mathematical logic, and philosophy of mathematics...

.

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. 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."

By this time, Wittgenstein's view on the foundations of mathematics
Foundations of mathematics
Foundations of mathematics is a term sometimes used for certain fields of mathematics, such as mathematical logic, axiomatic set theory, proof theory, model theory, type theory and recursion theory...

 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
Alan Turing
Alan Mathison Turing, OBE, FRS , was an English mathematician, logician, cryptanalyst, and computer scientist. He was highly influential in the development of computer science, providing a formalisation of the concepts of "algorithm" and "computation" with the Turing machine, which played a...

.

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, 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
Gilbert Ryle
Gilbert Ryle , was a British philosopher, a representative of the generation of British ordinary language philosophers that shared Wittgenstein's approach to philosophical problems, and is principally known for his critique of Cartesian dualism, for which he coined the phrase "the ghost in the...

, 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
The Blitz
The Blitz was the sustained strategic bombing of Britain by Nazi Germany between 7 September 1940 and 10 May 1941, during the Second World War. The city of London was bombed by the Luftwaffe for 76 consecutive nights and many towns and cities across the country followed...

. 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.

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."

He had developed a friendship with Keith Kirk, a working-class teenage friend of Francis Skinner
Francis Skinner
Francis Skinner was a friend, collaborator, and alleged lover of the Austrian philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein. He was born in 1912 in Letchworth, Hertfordshire, England. While studying mathematics at Cambridge in 1930, Skinner fell under Wittgenstein's influence and "became utterly, uncritically,...

, 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.

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
Newcastle upon Tyne
Newcastle upon Tyne is a city and metropolitan borough of Tyne and Wear, in North East England. Historically a part of Northumberland, it is situated on the north bank of the River 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
Jesmond
Jesmond is a residential suburb and is split into two electoral wards just north of the centre of Newcastle upon Tyne, England. The population is about 12,000. It is adjacent to, and to the east of, the Town Moor, providing pedestrian and cycle paths to Spital Tongues and the city's two Universities...

) from 29th April 1943 until February 1944.

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.

He also accepted an invitation from Norman Malcolm
Norman Malcolm
Norman Malcolm was an American philosopher, born in Selden, Kansas. He studied philosophy with O.K. Bouwsma at the University of Nebraska, then enrolled as a graduate student at Harvard University in 1933....

, a former student, to stay with him for several month at Ithaca, New York
Ithaca, New York
The city of Ithaca, is a city in upstate New York and the county seat of Tompkins County, as well as the largest community in the Ithaca-Tompkins County metropolitan area...

. He made the trip in April 1949, although told Malcolm he was too unwell to do philosophical work: "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. The details of Wittgenstein's stay in America are recounted in Norman Malcolm's Ludwig Wittgenstein: A Memoir.

He returned to London, where he was diagnosed with an inoperable cancer of the prostate
Prostate cancer
Prostate cancer is a form of cancer that develops in the prostate, a gland in the male reproductive system. Most prostate cancers are slow growing; however, there are cases of aggressive prostate cancers. The cancer cells may metastasize from the prostate to other parts of the body, particularly...

, which had spread to his bone marrow. He was prescribed oestrogen, which led to 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
Georg Henrik von Wright
Georg Henrik von Wright was a Finnish philosopher, who succeeded Ludwig Wittgenstein as professor at the University of Cambridge. He published in English, Finnish, German, and in Swedish. Belonging to the Swedish-speaking minority of Finland, von Wright also had Finnish and 17th-century Scottish...

; to London to stay with Rush Rhees
Rush Rhees
Rush Rhees was a philosopher at Swansea University from 1940 to 1966Rhees is principally known as a student, friend, and literary executor of the philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein. With G. E. M. Anscombe, he edited Wittgenstein's posthumous Philosophical Investigations , a highly influential work...

; 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
Storey's Way
Storey's Way is a mainly residential road, approximately 650 metres to the west of the city centre in Cambridge, England. It falls within the Castle Electoral Ward of Cambridge City Council, and feeds on to the major arterial roads Huntingdon Road to the north and Madingley Road to the west.It is...

, the home of his doctor, Edward Bevan
Edward Vaughan Bevan
Edward Vaughan Bevan was a British doctor and rower who won a gold medal at the 1928 Summer Olympics in Amsterdam....

, 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.

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 Norman 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." 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
Remarks on Colour
Remarks on Colour is a collection of notes by Ludwig Wittgenstein on Goethe's Theory of Colours. The work consists of Wittgenstein's reactions to Goethe's thinking, and an attempt to clarify the use of language about color...

and On Certainty
On Certainty
On Certainty is a philosophical book composed from the notes written by Ludwig Wittgenstein just prior to his death. Some of the notes were left at the home of G. E. M...

. 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."

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:


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.



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. Four of his former students arrived at his bedside—Ben Richards, Elizabeth Anscombe, Yorick Smythies, and Maurice O'Connor Drury
Maurice O'Connor Drury
Maurice O'Connor Drury was an English psychiatrist born in Exeter, Devon, England, of Irish parents....

. Anscombe and Smythies were Catholics, and at the latter's request, a Dominican friar, Father Conrad Pepler
Conrad Pepler
Conrad Pepler O.P. was an English Dominican priest, writer, editor, and publisher. He founded Warden of the first Roman Catholic conference centre in the UK, at Spode House, Staffordshire.-Life:...

, 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
Ascension Parish Burial Ground, Cambridge
The Ascension Parish Burial Ground, formerly St Giles and St Peter's Parish, is a cemetery just off Huntingdon Road near the junction with Storey's Way in the northwest of Cambridge, England. It includes the graves of many Cambridge academics and non-conformists of the 19th and early 20th century...

, Cambridge. Drury later said he had been troubled ever since about whether that was the right thing to do.

1953: Publication of the Philosophical Investigations




The Blue Book
Blue and Brown Books
The Blue and Brown Books are two sets of notes taken during lectures conducted by Ludwig Wittgenstein between 1933 and 1935. They were mimeographed as two separated books and a few copies were circulated in a restricted circle during Wittgenstein's lifetime. The lecture notes from 1933-4 were...

, 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".

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. 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."

In popular culture


In 1993 Wittgenstein was the subject of the film Wittgenstein
Wittgenstein (film)
Wittgenstein is a 1993 film by the English director Derek Jarman. It is loosely based on the life story as well as the philosophical thinking of the philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein. The adult Wittgenstein is played by the Welsh actor Karl Johnson....

by the English director Derek Jarman
Derek Jarman
Michael Derek Elworthy Jarman was an English film director, stage designer, diarist, artist, gardener and author.-Life:...

. 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
Karl Johnson
Karl Johnson is a Welsh actor, notable for acting on stage, film and television. He is the recipient of an honorary doctorate from Birmingham City University. His most notable role to date was the title role in Derek Jarman's 1993 film Wittgenstein...

. Terry Eagleton
Terry Eagleton
Terence Francis Eagleton FBA is a British literary theorist and critic, who is regarded as one of Britain's most influential living literary critics...

 called him the philosopher of poets and composers, playwrights and novelists.
  • 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–

Works


A collection of Ludwig Wittgenstein's manuscripts is held by Trinity College, Cambridge.
  • Logisch-Philosophische Abhandlung, Annalen der Naturphilosophie, 14 (1921)
    • Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus
      Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus
      The Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus is the only book-length philosophical work published by the Austrian philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein in his lifetime. It was an ambitious project: to identify the relationship between language and reality and to define the limits of science...

      , translated by C.K. Ogden (1922)
  • Philosophische Untersuchungen (1953)
    • Philosophical Investigations
      Philosophical Investigations
      Philosophical Investigations is, along with the Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus, one of the most influential works by the 20th-century philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein...

      , translated by G.E.M. Anscombe (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
    On Certainty
    On Certainty is a philosophical book composed from the notes written by Ludwig Wittgenstein just prior to his death. Some of the notes were left at the home of G. E. M...

    , 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
    Søren Kierkegaard
    Søren Aabye Kierkegaard was a Danish Christian philosopher, theologian and religious author. He was a critic of idealist intellectuals and philosophers of his time, such as Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, Friedrich Wilhelm Joseph Schelling and Karl Wilhelm Friedrich Schlegel...

    's philosophy.
  • Zettel, collection of Wittgenstein's thoughts in fragmentary/"diary entry" format as with On Certainty and Culture and Value.


Works online

Further reading



Bergen and Cambridge archives

Papers about his Nachlass

Other
  • Baker, G.P. and Hacker, P.M.S.
    Peter Hacker
    Peter Michael Stephan Hacker is a British philosopher.His principal expertise is in the philosophy of mind andphilosophy of language...

     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.
    Peter Hacker
    Peter Michael Stephan Hacker is a British philosopher.His principal expertise is in the philosophy of mind andphilosophy of language...

    . 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
    Kari Jormakka
    Kari Jormakka is a Finnish architect, historian, critic and pedagogue. He studied architecture at Helsinki University of Technology and Tampere University of Technology, completing his PhD in 1992. He is currently Professor of Architecture Theory at Vienna University of Technology, Vienna, Austria...

    . "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.
    Jesús Padilla Gálvez
    Jesús Padilla Gálvez is a philosopher who worked primarily in philosophy of language, logic, and the history of sciences. Studied Philosophy, History and Mathematics at the University of Cologne and was awarded the M.A. in 1983 and a Dr. phil. in Philosophy in 1988...

    , 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
    Ray Monk
    Ray Monk is a Professor of Philosophy at the University of Southampton, where he has taught since 1992.He won the Mail on Sunday/John Llewellyn Rhys Prize and the 1991 Duff Cooper Prize for Ludwig Wittgenstein: The Duty of Genius. His interests lie in the philosophy of mathematics, the history of...

    . How To Read Wittgenstein. Norton, 2005.
  • Pears, David F.
    David Pears
    David Pears was a British philosopher renowned for his work on Wittgenstein.An Old Boy of Westminster School, he was in the Royal Artillery during World War II, and was seriously injured in a practice gas attack. After leaving the army he studied classics at Balliol College, Oxford, and was then...

     "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
  • Doctorow, E.L.  City of God. Plume, 2001, depicts an imaginary rivalry between Wittgenstein and Einstein.
  • Doxiadis, Apostolos
    Apostolos Doxiadis
    Apostolos Doxiadis is a Greek writer.Since his early years Doxiadis was drawn to mathematics and at the age of 15 he entered Columbia University in New York City to study maths...

     and Papadimitriou, Christos
    Christos Papadimitriou
    Christos Harilaos Papadimitriou is a Professor in the Computer Science Division at the University of California, Berkeley, United States...

    . Logicomix
    Logicomix
    Logicomix: An Epic Search for Truth is a graphic novel about the foundational quest in mathematics, written by Apostolos Doxiadis, author of Uncle Petros and Goldbach's Conjecture, and theoretical computer scientist Christos Papadimitriou of the University of California, Berkeley. Character design...

    . Bloomsbury, 2009.
  • Duffy, Bruce
    Bruce Duffy
    Bruce Michael Duffy is an American author. He is best known for his novel The World As I Found It , a fictionalized account of the life of Ludwig Wittgenstein, a prominent 20th century philosopher. In 1988, the book won a Whiting Writer's Award and Duffy received a Guggenheim Fellowship...

    . The World as I Found It. Ticknor & Fields, 1987, a recreation of Wittgenstein's life.
  • Jarman, Derek
    Derek Jarman
    Michael Derek Elworthy Jarman was an English film director, stage designer, diarist, artist, gardener and author.-Life:...

    . Wittgenstein
    Wittgenstein (film)
    Wittgenstein is a 1993 film by the English director Derek Jarman. It is loosely based on the life story as well as the philosophical thinking of the philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein. The adult Wittgenstein is played by the Welsh actor Karl Johnson....

    , a biopic of Wittgenstein with a script by Terry Eagleton
    Terry Eagleton
    Terence Francis Eagleton FBA is a British literary theorist and critic, who is regarded as one of Britain's most influential living literary critics...

    , British Film Institute, 1993.
  • Kerr, Philip
    Philip Kerr
    Philip Kerr is a British author of both adult fiction and non-fiction, most notably the Bernie Gunther series of thrillers, and of children's books, particularly the Children of the Lamp series....

    . A Philosophical Investigation
    A Philosophical Investigation
    A Philosophical Investigation is a 1992 techno-thriller by Philip Kerr.-Plot summary:In a near-future, a British neuroscientist named Professor Burgess Phelan has discovered a portion of the brain, the VMN, that is typically twice the size in men as it is in women...

    , Chatto & Windus, 1992, a dystopian thriller set in 2012.
  • Markson, David
    David Markson
    David Markson was an American novelist, born David Merrill Markson in Albany, New York. He is the author of several postmodern novels, including Springer's Progress, Wittgenstein's Mistress, and Reader's Block...

    . Wittgenstein's Mistress
    Wittgenstein's Mistress
    Wittgenstein's Mistress is a novel by David Markson. It is a highly stylized, experimental novel in the tradition of Beckett. The novel is mainly a series of statements made in the first person; the protagonist is a woman who believes herself to be the last human on earth...

    . Dalkey Archive Press
    Dalkey Archive Press
    Dalkey Archive Press is a publisher of fiction, poetry, and literary criticism in Illinois in the United States, specializing in the publication or republication of lesser known, often avant-garde works...

    , 1988, an experimental novel, a first-person account of what it would be like to live in the world of the Tractatus.
  • Wallace, David Foster
    David Foster Wallace
    David Foster Wallace was an American author of novels, essays, and short stories, and a professor at Pomona College in Claremont, California...

    . The Broom of the System
    The Broom of the System
    The Broom of the System is the first novel by the American writer David Foster Wallace, published in 1987.-Background:Wallace stated that the initial idea for the novel sprang from a remark made by an old girlfriend. According to Wallace, she said "she would rather be a character in a piece of...

    . Penguin Books, 1987, a novel.