Friedrich Waismann

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Friedrich Waismann (born March 21, 1896 in Vienna , † November 4, 1959 in Oxford ) was an Austrian mathematician , physicist and philosopher . He was a member of the Vienna Circle and a representative of logical positivism .

After studying mathematics and physics at the University of Vienna, he began studying philosophy under Moritz Schlick , the founder of the Vienna Circle, and was its assistant from 1929 to 1936. He was visiting professor at Cambridge (England) from 1937 to 1939. In 1939 he finally emigrated to Great Britain, where he was first a lecturer for philosophy of science and then until his death reader for philosophy of mathematics at Oxford University . In 1955 he was made a Fellow of the British Academy .

From 1927 to 1936 Waismann had several conversations with Ludwig Wittgenstein about the philosophy of language and mathematics. These conversations were recorded by Waismann and published posthumously by BF McGuinness in the work Ludwig Wittgenstein and the Wiener Kreis (1967 English, 1984 German) .

In his book Introduction to Mathematical Thought: The Concepts of Modern Mathematics (1936) Waismann argues that mathematical truths are true by convention and not eo ipso . His collected lectures The Principles of Linguistic Philosophy (1965) and other collected articles are posthumously edited in How I see Philosophy (1968).


  • Friedrich Waismann: Introduction to Mathematical Thinking . Vienna: Gerold & Co. 1936, 3rd edition reviewed by Friedrich Kur.Munich: dtv 1970
  • Friedrich Waismann: What is logical analysis? Ed. K. Buchholz. European Publishing House, Hamburg 2008.
  • Friedrich Waismann: Will and Motive. Two treatises on ethics and action theory , Ed. Joachim Schulte. Ph. Reclam jun. Stuttgart 1983.

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