Ludwig Wittgenstein

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Ludwig Wittgenstein, 1930

Ludwig Josef Johann Wittgenstein (born April 26, 1889 in Vienna , † April 29, 1951 in Cambridge ) was one of the most important philosophers of the 20th century.

He made important contributions to the philosophy of logic , language and consciousness . His two main works Logical-philosophical treatise ( Tractatus logico-philosophicus 1921) and Philosophical Investigations (1953, posthumous ) became central points of reference for two philosophical schools, Logical Positivism and Analytical Philosophy of Language . His philosophical legacy , comprising around 20,000 pages, was entered in the list of World Document Heritages at the end of October 2017 .

life and work

Ludwig Wittgenstein as a toddler, 1890
Ludwig Wittgenstein as a child, front right with the sisters Hermine, Helene, Margarete and brother Paul
Memorial plaque at the Bundesrealgymnasium in Linz
Ludwig Wittgenstein, 1910

Wittgenstein came from the Austrian , early assimilated Jewish industrialist family Wittgenstein , whose roots lie in the small German town of Bad Laasphe in the Wittgensteiner Land . He was the youngest of eight children of the industrialist Karl Wittgenstein and his wife Leopoldine (née Kalmus), who came from a Jewish family in Prague . Karl Wittgenstein was one of the most successful steel industrialists of the late Danube Monarchy , and the Wittgenstein couple became one of the richest families in Viennese society at the turn of the century. The father was a supporter of contemporary artists, the mother a gifted pianist . In Palais Wittgenstein musical greats such as wrong Clara Schumann , Gustav Mahler , Johannes Brahms and Richard Strauss .

Wittgenstein was raised Catholic . He himself and his siblings were distinguished by extraordinary musical and intellectual abilities. Ludwig Wittgenstein played the clarinet. His brother Paul lost his right arm in World War I and still made a career as a pianist. These talents faced a problematic psychological constitution : three of his seven siblings took their own lives (Hans, Rudolf, Kurt). Wittgenstein showed, especially after the experience of World War I , depressive traits. In contact with others, he is said to have appeared partly authoritarian and opinionated, partly over-sensitive and insecure.

A distant great cousin of Wittgenstein was the economist Friedrich August von Hayek .

Wittgenstein's intellectual upbringing began with private home tuition in Vienna. From 1903 to 1906 he attended the K. k. State secondary school in Linz . On October 28, 1906 , Wittgenstein enrolled at the Technical University of Charlottenburg . Originally he wanted to study with Ludwig Boltzmann in Vienna, but his secondary school certificate would only have allowed him to enroll after further studies. In Berlin , Wittgenstein - according to his sister Hermine in her family memories - “dealt a lot with technical questions and experiments. [And further:] At this time or a little later he suddenly got hold of philosophy, i. H. thinking about philosophical problems so strongly and so completely against his will that he suffered badly from the double and conflicting inner calling and felt as if he were divided. "

After graduating in engineering in 1908, Wittgenstein went to Manchester , UK , where he tried to build an aircraft engine at the university's engineering department . However, he soon abandoned this plan. He then worked on "Suggestions for Improving Aircraft Propellers, " a project for which he received a patent on August 17, 1911 .

Ultimately, philosophy dominated: not least at the suggestion of Gottlob Frege , whom he visited in Jena in 1911 , Wittgenstein began studying in Cambridge at Trinity College , where he worked intensively on the writings of Bertrand Russell - especially the Principia Mathematica . As with Gottlob Frege, his goal was to derive the mathematical axioms from logical principles. After the first encounter, Russell was unimpressed by Wittgenstein: “After the lecture, a heated German came to argue with me [...]. Actually speaking to him is a waste of time. ”( November 16, 1911 ) But after less than two weeks Russell's opinion should change:“ I'm starting to like him; he knows his way around literature, is very musical, pleasant to deal with (an Austrian), and I think, really intelligent. ”Russell soon thought his student was extremely talented and was ultimately convinced that Wittgenstein was more suitable than him, to continue his logical-philosophical work. Russell judged him:

" [Wittgenstein was] ... one of the most exciting intellectual adventures [of my life]. ... [He had] fire and penetration and intellectual purity to a quite extraordinary degree. ... [He] soon knew all that I had to teach.
His disposition is that of an artist, intuitive and moody. He says [,] every morning he begins his work with hope, and every evening he ends in despair.

“[Wittgenstein was]… one of the most exciting intellectual adventures [of my life]. ... [He had] fire and urgency and an intellectual purity on an extraordinary level. ... After a short time [he] had learned everything that I had to offer as a teacher.
His constitution is that of an artist, intuitive and capricious. He says that he starts his work hopefully every morning and ends in desperation every evening. "

- Bertrand Russell

With Russell's support, among others, Wittgenstein was elected to the elite Cambridge Apostles secret society in November 1911 . There he found his first lover in David Pinsent .

In Skjolden in Norway he had a wooden house he had designed himself erected on a remote rock, which he lived in with Pinsent and where he worked several times for a few months from 1913 on a system of logic (the house, which was demolished in 1958, became the original again in 2019 Location). That Wittgenstein was homosexual was first made public by his biographer William Warren Bartley in 1973 on the basis of statements by anonymous friends of Wittgenstein and two diaries written in secret .

In 1912 Wittgenstein began to work on his first philosophical work, the Logical-Philosophical Treatise, which he kept as notes in a diary until 1917. Even during his time as an Austrian volunteer in World War I, he continued to work on it until he finally completed the work in the summer of 1918. However, it was not until 1921 that it appeared in an incorrect version in the journal Annalen der Naturphilosophie. In 1922 a bilingual edition was finally published under the now known title of the English translation: Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus . Apart from two smaller philosophical essays and a dictionary for elementary schools , the logical-philosophical treatise remained the only work Wittgenstein published during his lifetime.

As part of his contacts with the cultural magazine Der Brenner, published by Ludwig von Ficker , and the Innsbruck “Brenner District”, Wittgenstein got to know the works of the poet Georg Trakl . In July 1914, Wittgenstein decided to use part of his considerable inheritance for charitable purposes and gave Ficker 100,000 crowns with the request that the money be distributed to needy Austrian artists as he saw fit. Among other things, Trakl was funded with a one-off sum of 20,000 crowns. Wittgenstein was also indirectly involved in the events surrounding the death of Georg Trakl. At the request of Trakl, who was in a Krakow garrison hospital after attempting suicide, Wittgenstein traveled to Krakow on November 5, 1914 to visit Trakl. However, Trakl had died two days before Wittgenstein's arrival in Krakow.

During the First World War, Wittgenstein fought as an Austrian soldier on the Eastern Front in Galicia. Thanks to the good family contacts in England - especially with Bertrand Russell - Wittgenstein was able to keep in touch with friends on the "other side" through the Vatican, Friends in neutral Norway and Switzerland. At the end of the war he was captured by the Italians near Asiago and taken to the officers' prison in Monte Cassino. His English friend John Maynard Keynes was able to campaign for his release as a member of the peace conference in Paris. He also stayed in touch with his cousin, the later Nobel Prize winner Friedrich August von Hayek, with whom he was in contact in Austria and England. After reading the Brief Explanation of the Gospel by Leo Tolstoy , he expressed his wish to his friend Franz Parak to teach the gospel to children in the future. The horrors of war turned him from a logician into a mystic in the sense of " negative theology ". So the plan matured in him to become a primary school teacher.

Early work

With the logical-philosophical treatise (Tractatus) Wittgenstein completed the linguistic turn (critical language turn) in philosophy. In Wittgenstein's variant, this means, among other things, that philosophical problems can only be understood or resolved by someone who understands the misuse of language that creates them in the first place. The aim of philosophical analyzes is to distinguish between meaningful and nonsensical sentences by clarifying the functionality of language: "All philosophy is 'language criticism'." The main ideas of the Tractatus grew out of the discussion - and in mutual fertilization - with Bertrand Russell and are mostly philosophy the logical atomism attributed.

The core of Wittgenstein's early philosophy is the image theory of language. After that, reality breaks down into “things” (things that relate to each other). Every “thing” has a “name” in language. These names only get meaning when they stand together in a sentence. Sentences disintegrate - like reality into things - in their names. If the arrangement of names in the sign of a sentence has the same structure as the arrangement of the objects represented by the names in reality, that is to say represents the same “state of affairs”, then a sentence becomes true. If things actually form a different state of affairs than their names in the punctuation mark, a sentence becomes wrong.

On the other hand, sentences that are true or false regardless of the facts, such as tautologies and contradictions, are “meaningless” . On the other hand, sentences are called "nonsensical", the signs of which do not represent any thing connections in reality, such as: "The sentence that I am uttering is wrong". This sentence does not refer to a possible connection of things or reality, but to itself, which according to Wittgenstein results in "nonsense". This also applies to sentences that pretend to say something that goes beyond the mere arrangement of things in the world, for example by asking for something or calling what they represent “good” or “bad”; for such value, which the reality presented in the punctuation mark is supposed to have, is never evident only from its structure and consequently cannot be anything that appears in a constellation of names. According to Wittgenstein (Tractatus 7), a value can therefore not be expressed, at most "kept silent" (could therefore perhaps appear in reactions or deeds informed by certain attitudes, but never in sentences describing it).

The logical-philosophical treatise describes itself towards the end: "My sentences are explained by the fact that those who understand me will end up recognizing them as nonsensical if they have risen above them through them - on them." His foreword (Vienna, 1918) concludes with the words: “On the other hand, the truth of the thoughts communicated here seems inviolable and definitive to me. So I am of the opinion that the problems have essentially been finally resolved. Second, if I am not mistaken, the value of this work is that it shows how little is done in solving the problems. "

Wittgenstein's philosophy denies itself a meaning because it does not outline any “thing” context, nothing “real”; rather, the entire structure of the logical-philosophical treatise contains the “logical space” as such - as a “nonsensical” form or possibility of any reality or any conceivable sense. Wittgenstein suggests that what makes sense cannot itself be meaningful. Wittgenstein later illustrates this with the picture of the original meter , which itself has no length compared to objects that reached length by being as long "as" the original meter.

As a successor to Gottlob Frege and presumably independently of Charles S. Peirce, Wittgenstein developed the so-called truth tables in the Tractatus logico-philosophicus , which are now mentioned in most textbooks of logic. "It is actually about the representation of a system". According to Wittgenstein, the logic of all individual knowledge forms the basis - and at the same time marks its limit: "The limits of my language mean the limits of my world". In this sense, Wittgenstein states in the foreword to the logical-philosophical treatise : “One could say the whole meaning of the book in the following words: What can be said at all can be said clearly; and what you can't talk about, you have to be silent about it. "

Transition period

Wittgenstein House , Vienna. It originally served as a residential palace for Wittgenstein's sister Margarethe Stonborough-Wittgenstein . Wittgenstein himself designed it in collaboration with the architect Paul Engelmann , a student of Adolf Loos .

With the publication of the Logical-Philosophical Treatise , Wittgenstein believed he had made his contribution to philosophy and turned to other activities. While still a prisoner of war in Italy, he decided, probably under the impression of reading Leo Tolstoy , to become a teacher. He shared his enormous inheritance among his siblings, and over the years he donated some of it to young artists, including Adolf Loos , Georg Trakl and Rainer Maria Rilke .

Wittgenstein first attended the teacher training college in Vienna in 1919/1920 . Afterwards he became an elementary school teacher for a few years "in one of the smallest villages, it is called Trattenbach and is about an hour south of Vienna in the mountains", but he was dissatisfied in educational terms. After two years he moved to the village of Puchberg am Schneeberg , where, as before in Trattenbach, tensions arose again and again between Wittgenstein and the parents of his students. Within two years Wittgenstein changed positions again and became a teacher in Otterthal , where he also wrote and edited a dictionary for elementary schools , which was progressive for the time . After he hit an eleven-year-old student on the head in April 1926 and he passed out, Wittgenstein submitted a request for dismissal to the district school inspector before official steps could be taken. Wittgenstein then worked for a few months as a gardener's assistant in a monastery in Hütteldorf near Vienna, where he lived in a tool shed in the garden, and also considered - not for the first time - to join the monastic order as a monk, which an abbot of the monastery advised against.

Klimt : Portrait of Margarethe Stonborough-Wittgenstein, 1905

From 1926 to 1928, together with the architect Paul Engelmann , a student of Adolf Loos, he built a representative city palace in Vienna ( Wittgenstein House ) for his sister Margarethe Stonborough-Wittgenstein . The palace, built in the style of modernism , soon became a focal point of cultural life in Vienna and a meeting place for the Vienna Circle , a group of philosophers and scientific theorists with whom he was in contact.

Wittgenstein was mainly responsible for the interior design of the house. He created his own designs for furnishings, such as a door handle , which, along with a design by Walter Gropius, is one of the classics of door handles. The Wittgenstein door handle is extremely simple, it is nothing more than a piece of round steel bent at right angles.

He was also active as a sculptor and created a bust in the style of the Viennese artist Michael Drobil . Wittgenstein's self-centered way of working was also evident in these practical activities. The aim of his work was not general social benefit, but he strived for intellectual and psychological purity and clarity. Wittgenstein later wrote in retrospect: “Working on philosophy is - as is often the case in architecture  - actually more of working on oneself. On one's own perception. How you see things (and what you ask of them). "

At the end of the 1920s, Wittgenstein began to deal intensively with philosophical questions again. He was in contact with some members of the Vienna Circle, whose discussions he had a decisive influence (albeit in a way that Wittgenstein did not approve of, since he was of the opinion that he had not been properly understood). After a lecture by the intuitionist mathematician LEJ Brouwer - at least according to a report by Herbert Feigl  - he was finally shaken up and turned back to philosophy. During this “transition phase” Wittgenstein briefly took a position that can be described as a form of verificationism : knowledge of the meaning of sentences goes hand in hand with knowledge of the relevant verification or evidence procedures.

Late work

In 1929 Wittgenstein returned to Cambridge as a philosopher, where he first received his doctorate from Bertrand Russell and George Edward Moore in an oral examination on his Tractatus. After the oral doctoral examination, Wittgenstein is said to have patted his examiners on the shoulder with the words: Don't worry, I know you'll never understand it. ("Don't take it so hard. I know you will probably never understand"). Moore wrote in his review 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. ("Personally, I consider this work to be that of a genius; even if I am completely wrong, it is still well above the requirements for a doctorate.") Since Wittgenstein had distributed his inheritance to his siblings during the First World War, it was his financial situation was bad at first, so that he was dependent on scholarships. In the early 1930s he was given a teaching position. From 1936 Wittgenstein made several trips to Norway, Vienna and Russia with his partner Francis Skinner.

Wittgenstein's tombstone in Cambridge

In 1939 Wittgenstein was appointed professor of philosophy in Cambridge, succeeding Moore; he held the professorship until 1947. Shortly after his appointment, he acquired British citizenship. This was due in particular to the fact that after Austria was annexed to Nazi Germany on March 12, 1938, Wittgenstein was now a German citizen and was considered a Jew under the Nuremberg Laws .

Wittgenstein gave numerous courses and lectures during the 1930s. Again and again he tried to summarize his novel ideas, which he developed, among other things, in dealing with his first work, in a book and created numerous manuscripts and typescripts . Important steps were The Blue Book (typescript of a dictation of his lecture on the philosophy of mathematics), The Big Typescript (the quickly discarded concept of a book) and The Brown Book (typescript of an elaboration on the subject of language games with a large number of examples). Other manuscripts were the Philosophical Notes and the Philosophical Grammar. Despite his intense efforts, Wittgenstein did not succeed in finishing his book project. From around 1936 Wittgenstein began the Philosophical Investigations , which lasted until around 1948. He largely completed this second major work himself, but it did not appear until posthumously in 1953. This quickly made him world famous. Because this work influenced the history of philosophy even more than the logical-philosophical treatise (Tractatus). It is considered to be one of the main works of the philosophy of language analysis. The manuscript Philosophical Comments on the Fundamentals of Mathematics was also created in the 1940s .

During the Second World War , Wittgenstein was again practically active. He volunteered as a nurse in a London hospital, in 1943 he joined a medical research group as a laboratory assistant studying hemorrhagic shock and designed experiments and laboratory equipment. He developed apparatus for the continuous measurement of pulse, blood pressure, respiratory rate and respiratory volume, in doing so he also made use of the experiences he had made during the development of his aircraft engine.

In 1944 he resumed lecturing at Cambridge. After the Second World War, Wittgenstein continued his philosophical investigations and worked, among other things, on the philosophy of perception and on the topics of certainty and doubt . But Wittgenstein also made contributions to many cultural and epistemological topics. In 1939 he wrote: “People today believe that the scientists are there to teach them, the poets and musicians etc. to please them. It does not occur to them that they have something to teach them. "

In October 1947, Wittgenstein left the university to devote himself entirely to his philosophy. From then on he lived in seclusion and spent some time in Ireland. The focus of his work was on the "Philosophy of Psychology", which was the subject of Part II of the "Philosophical Investigations". It is controversial whether the inclusion of these thoughts in the Philosophical Investigations corresponds to Wittgenstein's will. In 1949 he was able to complete his second major work.

Wittgenstein died of cancer in 1951. Since he refused to go to the hospital, he spent the last few weeks in the house of his doctor Edward Bevan , who had taken him in. When Wittgenstein's wife announced the day before his death that his English friends would visit him the next day, he is reported to have said: "Tell them I had a wonderful life." Wittgenstein's grave is on the Ascension Parish Burial Ground -Cemetery in Cambridge.

Work interpretations

Wittgenstein's philosophy was perceived and interpreted differently at different times. One reason for this, among others, is that he only published one work during his lifetime and that the editors of the Philosophical Investigations had made some dubious decisions regarding the second part. The aphoristic style, which is difficult to interpret, also means that Wittgenstein was able to be appropriated by sometimes very different schools of philosophy. It was read by the members of the Vienna Circle as if it were close to the ideas of logical positivism . In the 1960s there was a tendency to see Wittgenstein as a representative or at least a pioneer of the philosophy of normal language . The content-related discussion and technical interpretation are also subject to constant change. In the Tractatus interpretation the question of the nature of Wittgenstein's objects was in the foreground for a long time, in the interpretation of his late philosophy it was long about the concept of meaning, then about the concept of language games and way of life , then about the problem of private language and in In the 1980s, as far as the history of reception was concerned, based on Saul Kripke's Wittgenstein on rules and private language , it looked as if Wittgenstein's thoughts on the problem of following the rules were the key to understanding the entire work.

Since around the mid-1990s, the discussion of Wittgenstein's philosophy has been dominated by representatives of what is known as a resolute reading who oppose a standard interpretation . This consideration came up with Cora Diamond's work on the Tractatus. In the USA in particular, many philosophers followed Diamond and created a picture of Wittgenstein that deviated radically from the standard interpretation. The two main features of this direction, sometimes referred to as Neuer Wittgenstein , are the strict interpretation of the nonsense term, according to which the entire Tractatus (except for the so-called frame, foreword and concluding remarks) is literally nonsense, contrary to the usual reading , according to which the nonsensical metaphysical sentences of the Tractatus convey deep truths. Because of this strict interpretation, the proponents describe themselves as "resolute" readers. This direction was also called "therapeutic" because Wittgenstein's sentences had a therapeutic purpose. The second bracket that connects the resolute readers is the conviction of the fundamental continuity of Wittgenstein's thoughts. On the other hand, the advocates of the “standard interpretation” claim, more or less uniformly, a break in Wittgenstein's philosophical development.

The conflict between the two camps sometimes goes beyond the usual exchange of blows in philosophy. Peter Hacker , regarded by resolute readers as the figurehead of the standard interpretation, does not name it surprising that the new interpretation is finding supporters because of the postmodern predilection for the paradox that is widespread today. While James Ferguson Conant , a main proponent of the resolute reading, ironically speaks of a "schism" and accordingly calls the followers of the new doctrine "infidels", Rupert Read goes so far as to speak of "Tractatus Wars".

Interpretation of late philosophy - therapy vs. metaphysics

Even more diverse than the views on Wittgenstein's early work are those on his later work, which strongly contradict one another. This is also due to the fact that Wittgenstein hardly explained his work and struggled for formulations until his death:

“After several unsuccessful attempts to weld my results together into such a whole, I realized that I would never succeed. That the best I could write would always be philosophical remarks; that my thoughts soon paralyzed if I tried to force them on, against their natural direction, in 'one' direction. "

Wittgenstein's mostly short dialogues in his late work are considered stylistically brilliant. It is seen as problematic for understanding that its approach is traditional; The late Wittgenstein in particular had no forerunners in the history of philosophy and created a new, unprecedented way of thinking. Many therefore believe that this way of thinking must be learned like a foreign language.

Few philosophers judged philosophizing as sharply as Wittgenstein did in his later thinking. He considered the "great philosophical problems" to be "mental disorders" that arise, among other things, "by philosophizing". As a result, they would become fixed ideas that would never let you go - usually because we got lost in an unsuitable usage of language. "It is a major source of our misunderstanding that we do not overlook the use of our words," says the Philosophical Investigations, the chief source of his late philosophy.

The similarity of the sentences “I have a chair”, “I have an impression”, “I have a toothache” leads one to believe that one “has” impressions or sensations in the same way as “chairs” (objects that take up space and are owned by selling or lose cremation) - whereby the image imposes itself, words like “impression”, “sensation” or also “thought”, “number” like “chair” should somehow stand for something that occupies space - if the invisible, then the invisible: for example “Ideas” or that which one can “see in one's innermost being” by “looking up”. Wittgenstein aims to overcome such involuntary images (which here suggest an “inner space” with “invisible objects” ), for example by raising awareness of their creation. His philosophizing has, as he says, to do with “discovery” (and thereby defusing) “simple nonsense”, as a result of which the mind has “bumps” - “when running to the limits of language”.

Up to this point the interpreters agree, but then tend to interpret the conclusions that Wittgenstein draws differently. His “philosophy”, he says, “leave everything as it is” - just put “everything down” and do not follow. "Since everything is open", there is consequently "nothing to explain."

"If you wanted to set up theses in philosophy, they could never be discussed because everyone would agree with them." The interpreters form two schools about how this dictum is to be understood. One emphasizes that Wittgenstein is by no means interested in “explaining” to us previously hidden connections in the world; he only wants to resolve fixations or paradoxes of thinking that cause evil or dizziness . In the following, this reading is called the disenchanting or therapeutic view. Another school, on the other hand, finds that Wittgenstein did not observe anything that could explain the world, but that it did observe certain things with regard to the limits of meaning, for example. The decisive factor is its new type of explanation and justification: the “grammar” description. Whereby Wittgenstein understands under “grammar” something going beyond the norms of the use of words, which one can translate as “customs”, “way of life” (or “program”). He calls it “grammar” insofar as it is about something regulated, something that can be learned and that users can be “trained” to. According to Wittgenstein, this grammar cannot be traced back; she is absolute. This view, which in the late Wittgenstein mainly interpreted grammar descriptions (meaning limitations), is called metaphysical in the following, since it is about the "ultimate things": that which is to be accepted for no reason.

According to the solution-oriented therapeutic approach, one does not do justice to Wittgenstein's late work if one tries to read from it the direct description of something absolute. Wittgenstein, it is said here, described nothing of this kind, but - on the contrary - designed procedures (never prescribed, always only suggested) to resolve mentally paralyzing absolutes, the roots of which he saw in the unquestioned acceptance of certain images. By “image” he understood the consolidation of a certain conception into something self-evident, unquestionable, even “absolute”, ideas such as, for example, numbers stand for objects - or one must be able to measure time and space. According to Wittgenstein, the presence of emphasis or modal operators always points to a picture: something absolute.

Wittgenstein's solution process is now developing, for example, comparison objects in order to break the spell of an "image". A philosophical problem as a result of such an image that paralyzes the mind is the measurement of time . In his opinion, the problematic image here is that of the yardstick, which already takes up what it is missing: space . But how is it possible to measure time? With which “yardstick”, the time - past as well as future - would already take? So time cannot be measured! But then what is an hour? Wittgenstein resolves the feeling of insecurity by introducing another "object of comparison": One should not compare time measurement with space measurement using a yardstick , but pacing. Wittgenstein does not say, emphasizes the supporters of the so-called therapeutic reading, that the measurement of time is a stepping out of space; He merely presented another object of comparison as an example: Time measurement can also be seen analogously to space measurement by pacing - instead of using a yardstick. This is how the cramp is released. “The real discovery is the one that enables me to break off philosophizing when I want ... A method is now shown by means of examples, and the series of these examples can be broken off. - Problems are solved (difficulties eliminated), not a problem ”.

For the supporters of the “metaphysical” reading, Wittgenstein's approach is an extension of skills that must first be acquired - above all the method of accepting illustration of language games , their “grammar” (e.g. that of “using the yardstick”). On the one hand, Wittgenstein preferred to show the context in which some central terms were used and thus, for example, shed light on the meaning of " meaning " or " rule " for his approach, while on the other hand he z. For example, with “language game” or “family resemblance”, specific terms of his method were established and sufficiently determined, using partly for their illustration of invented language games. According to Wittgenstein, the essence of all terms can be explained consistently by the presentation of their context of use or language game, which also includes considerations according to the philological or historical-critical method, or interpretations, comparisons of stages of development and criticism.

The “metaphysicians” are accordingly of the opinion that “language game” is a central concept of Wittgenstein's late philosophy; According to Wittgenstein, reality of life disintegrates inevitably into writable "control loops". Philosophy is about presenting its “grammar” - paradigmatically or in the interplay of heterogeneous examples. This then happens with sometimes amazing results. For example, the clarified context of use of “dream” shows that it cannot mean anything private, but only a certain interpersonal process. And it turns out that utterances of the first person singular have no truth value.

The metaphysicians are also concerned with the clarification of the conceptual worldview of every form of life, according to their Wittgenstein understanding. “One could imagine,” they quote Wittgenstein's Über Gewißheit, “that certain sentences would be frozen in the form of empirical sentences and function as guides for the non-frozen, fluid empirical sentences; and that this relationship changed over time, in that liquid sentences solidify and solid ones become liquid. ”The metaphysical attitude looks at the sentences that have just frozen in order to distinguish them from acute nonsense based on their acute meaning: to establish the obvious such as that“ stones don't think can ”- but also less obvious things, such as the extent to which one can meaningfully speak of“ artificial intelligence ”. Wittgenstein's late work fascinates and occupies not only language philosophers, but also psychiatrists and psychologists. In the opinion of some, Wittgenstein's ideas call for them to be used in psychotherapeutic procedures.

From a strictly “therapeutic” point of view, the “metaphysicians” shorten Wittgenstein's late philosophy. From this point of view, he is not concerned with separating right from wrong, allowed from illegal use of language, meaning from nonsense by demonstrating what is “right”, “allowed” or “meaningful”. According to the therapeutic view, when Wittgenstein speaks about the meaning of words, the purpose of this is not to create a correct definition of terms, but to relieve an intellectual cramp, as expressed in the following statement: “What is it now? the essence of 'good'? There must be a defining characteristic, otherwise everything is relative! "

The discussion of the term "language game" is closely related to that of the term "meaning": In the Philosophical Investigations it says in § 43: "The meaning of a word is its use in language." "One can explain this word as follows for a large class of cases in which the word meaning is used - even if not for all cases of its use: the meaning of a word is its use in language". The different reading of the above text passage shows the different approaches of "therapists" and "metaphysicians".

The “metaphysical” view: Wittgenstein determines “meaning” (the essence of the term identified with this chain of letters). Accordingly, the task now is to extract a consistent position from Wittgenstein's works. Even if Wittgenstein's definitions are almost never "classic" by specifying defining features, but rather, by him - often in rows - illustrative is presented, in whose similarity or harmony the specific term then "appears" ( family resemblance , an ultimately open procedure that does not provides for sharp boundaries), something is ultimately always determined with it - and, that is even Wittgenstein's punchline: also always sufficient. Section 43 of the Philosophical Investigations should therefore be understood as a definition; the restrictive “not for all cases” should rather be read as an index to further determinations of “meaning” by the author, for example in Part II of the Philosophical Investigations, where Wittgenstein describes the “secondary meaning” as one in the approaches of a philosophy of psychology Postural form of experiencing the primary, which simply consists in the use of the word. Since there is no use of the term “meaning” in Wittgenstein's late works beyond “primary” and “secondary”, supporters of the metaphysical interpretation tend to believe that Wittgenstein does not provide for any further interpretation and that “meaning” has been defined exhaustively.

In contrast, supporters of the “therapeutic” approach are of the opinion that Wittgenstein was not concerned in § 43 with determining the essence and essence of “meaning”. The restriction “not for all cases” is not a reference to other text passages in the author's late work, but rather emphasizes that the following provision does not sketch anything permanent, but rather a possible object that has the potential to be in a mental convulsive image by it will be compared with him to point out aspects of the solution. So it could e.g. B. have a liberating effect, not seeing the meaning of “imagination” or “toothache” like that of “chair” or “car” in something that takes up space, but instead trying to find parallels between what is meant by “imagination” or “toothache” and regulated forms ("playing": their moves ...) to see. According to the solution-oriented-therapeutic attitude, the decisive question is not how different definitions of the concept of meaning complement or add up, but whether the objects designed by "therapists" - by comparing what confuses one with them - are capable of providing solutions to show.

Relationship between early and late work

The conflict between the interpretations of late philosophy is also carried over to the assessment of the continuity in Wittgenstein's thinking in general. The "therapists" tend to assume the continuity between the unconditional position of the logical-philosophical treatise (Tractatus, TLP) and the relaxation procedures of the philosophical investigations (PU). For the “metaphysicians” there is a break between early and late philosophy.

Fly glasses

In Wittgenstein's late work, the world and the language that depicts it no longer disintegrate into indissoluble things and their logically possible connection into facts or sentences. The timeless combination specifications of logic no longer determine the structure of language. Rather, Wittgenstein now compares the language with an "old town": "A nook of alleys and squares, old and new houses with additions from different times: and this is surrounded by a lot of suburbs with straight and regular streets and monotonous houses." remained for him the language, its “grammar”, the space of thought and reality. “The meaning of a word is its use in language.” But use is the function of an ensemble of customs or a “way of life” that breaks down into “language games”. "The word 'language game' is intended to emphasize that speaking the language is part of an activity or a way of life." Medical professionals have different language games than craftsmen or merchants, agnostics different than believers. The task of philosophy therefore remains to deal with this or that usage of language. “Philosophy is a struggle against the bewitching of our intellect by the means of our language.” The subject of philosophy is everyday language . “We are bringing the words back from their metaphysical to their everyday use.” The purpose of philosophy is therapy. “The philosopher treats a question like a disease.” The person caught in a confused language is to be freed again. “What is your goal in philosophy? Showing the fly the way out of the fly glass. ”Wittgenstein's late philosophy replaced the term“ logic ”with“ grammar ”. The difference is that, in contrast to logic, “grammar” as an ensemble of customs of a way of life is “subject to change”. What they have in common is that neither logic nor “grammar” can be explained, but both simply show themselves in what they make up .

Ultimately, the “metaphysicians” in Wittgenstein's early and late work identify an anti-Cartesian rejection of the dualism of private “inner world” and public “outer world” as well as of subject-centered thinking in general, not least through the omission of any epistemology or transcendental philosophy .

Literary reception

In his play, Ritter, Dene, Voss (world premiere: August 18, 1986 in Salzburg), named after the two actresses and their colleagues at the premiere, Thomas Bernhard takes up the family situation of Ludwig Wittgenstein and connects them with his nephew Paul , who has been to the psychiatric clinic several times Was treated at the Steinhof near Vienna and to whom he dedicated his memories of Wittgenstein's nephew (1982). The author also puts his own criticism of 20th century Austrian society in the mouth of the protagonist. The drama takes place in the dining room of the grand villa of the Worringer industrial family. Ludwig, who lived in the Steinhof hospital after a stay in Scandinavia and philosophical studies at an English university because of his mental instability, returns for a short time to the house where his two sisters live. Interrupted by grotesque outbursts of anger, he settles accounts, in Bernhardian style, with his parents, the upper class and, in a roundabout way, with the medical, art and scientific business.

Wittgenstein's activity as a primary school teacher (1920–1926) is reflected in Libuše Moníková's autobiographical novel Treibeis . Jan Prantl, one of the two protagonists (Prantl and Karla, both Czech exiles), takes part in the second stage of the plot at an international educational congress on Semmering. Two scientists from Cambridge use their stay to buy Wittgenstein souvenirs such as certificates, exercise books and books from his former students in Trattenbach and other villages (Puchberg) (cp. 3) and to present their eyewitness interviews to the seminar about the philosopher's teaching activities (e Affective acts such as chastisement, on the other hand idealism: financial support and promotion of mathematically gifted students, development of a collection of basic vocabulary for spelling), which, parodistically told, are discussed by the participants under different aspects (cp. 5): biographical (family, autism, exclusion and mockery by classmates in Linz, war injury), historical-sociological (poor mountain villages in Lower Austria: Trattenbach, Puchberg and Otterthal), reform-pedagogical (although the students participated in the creation of the dictionaries, but no content-related involvement, on the one hand alien mathematical text exercises ben, on the other hand carefully prepared excursions). The congress director sums up the result: “He may have been a committed, maybe even a good teacher. He wasn't an educator! "

Wittgenstein's philosophy had a considerable influence on the work of David Foster Wallace .

See also


The first two levels of the Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus work
  • Work edition in 8 volumes. Frankfurt am Main 1984 (inexpensive paperback edition, also available individually).
  • Lectures and discussions on aesthetics, psychology and religion. Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, Göttingen 1966 (reproduction of his lectures on aesthetics in the summer of 1938 and conversations between Rush Rees and Ludwig Wittgenstein 1942–1946; recorded by Wittgenstein's listeners; from English).
  • Joachim Schulte (Ed.): Lecture on ethics. Suhrkamp, ​​Frankfurt am Main 1989.
  • Lectures on the philosophy of psychology 1946/47. Frankfurt am Main 1991 (complete reproduction of his last lectures, recorded by three of Wittgenstein's listeners; they convey a very vivid picture of the unusual teaching style; from English).
  • Logical-philosophical treatise . (Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus), 1921.
  • Philosophical Investigations . 1953.
  • About certainty . 1969.
  • The Big Typescript .
  • Philosophical Investigations. Critical Genetic Edition. Suhrkamp, ​​Frankfurt am Main 2001.
  • Michael Nedo (Ed.): Vienna Edition. 15 volumes (including 5 study volumes as well as 1 introductory, concordance and register volume each). Springer, Vienna 1993–2000. Michael Nedo has been continuing the Vienna edition at Vittorio Klostermann in Frankfurt since 2019 .
  • Wittgenstein's estate. The Bergen Electronic Edition. 6 CD-ROMs, 1998. Facsimile edition of the estate. Two transcribed versions of the text. Approx. 20,000 pages.
  • Wilhelm Baum (Ed.): Geheime Tagebücher 1914–1916. 2nd edition, Turia + Kant, Vienna 1992.
  • Ilse Somavilla (Ed.): Thought movements. Diaries 1930–1932 / 1936–1937. (Part 1: Normalized Version; Part 2: Diplomatic Version), Haymon, Innsbruck 1997.
  • Ilse Somavilla (ed.): Light and shadow. A nocturnal (dream) experience and a letter fragment. Haymon, Innsbruck 2004.
  • Annette Steinsiek, Anton Unterkircher (ed.): Ludwig (von) Ficker - Ludwig Wittgenstein. Correspondence 1914–1920. iup, Innsbruck 2014. ISBN 978-3-902936-41-7 .


Biographies (chronological)

  • Stephen Toulmin , Allan Janik : Wittgenstein's Vienna. 1972.
  • Wilhelm Baum : Ludwig Wittgenstein. In: Heads of the 20th Century. 103, Colloquium-Verlag, Berlin 1985, ISBN 3-7678-0645-2 .
  • Ray Monk: Ludwig Wittgenstein: The Duty of Genius. Vintage, London 1991. German: The craft of genius. Klett-Cotta, Stuttgart 2004, ISBN 3-608-94280-7 (with many quotes from letters and diaries).
  • Brian McGuinness : Wittgenstein's Early Years. Suhrkamp, ​​Frankfurt am Main 1992, ISBN 3-518-28614-5 (very detailed).
  • Kurt Wuchterl, Adolf Huebner: Wittgenstein. With self-testimonials and picture documents. Rowohlt, Reinbek 1998, ISBN 3-499-50275-5 (short, many photos).
  • David J. Edmonds, John A. Eidinow: How Ludwig Wittgenstein threatened Karl Popper with the poker . An investigation. DVA, Munich 2002, ISBN 3-421-05356-1 (corr. Edition: Fischer TB ISBN 3-596-15402-2 ) about a meeting in Cambridge in 1946, a presentation of their philosophy and biographies.
  • Paul Wijdeveld: Ludwig Wittgenstein, architect. Wiese Verlag, Basel 2000, ISBN 3-909164-03-X .
  • Joachim Schulte : Ludwig Wittgenstein. Life. Plant. Effect. (Paperback) Suhrkamp, ​​Frankfurt am Main 2005, ISBN 978-3-518-18209-3 .
  • Wilhelm Pellert : Wittgenstein. Play. World premiere: Vienna, Free Stage Wieden 2011.
  • Nicole L. Immler: The family memory of the Wittgensteins. To seductive readings of (auto) biographical texts. Transcript, Bielefeld 2011, ISBN 978-3-8376-1813-6 .
  • Michael Nedo (Ed.): Ludwig Wittgenstein. A biographical album. Beck, Munich 2012, ISBN 978-3-406-63987-6 .
  • Wilhelm Baum: Wittgenstein in the First World War. The “Secret Diaries” and the experiences at the front (1914–1919). Kitab, Klagenfurt 2014, ISBN 978-3-902878-43-4 .
  • Ilse Somavilla (Ed.): Hermine Wittgenstein. Family memories. Haymon, Innsbruck / Vienna 2015. ISBN 9783709972007 .
  • Manfred Geier : Wittgenstein and Heidegger. The last philosophers. Rowohlt, 2017. ISBN 3498025287 .
  • Brian McGuinness, Radmila Schweitzer (eds.): Wittgenstein. A family in letters. Haymon, Innsbruck / Vienna 2018, ISBN 978-3-7099-3445-6 .


  • Elizabeth Anscombe : An Introduction to Wittgenstein's "Tractatus". Topics in Wittgenstein's philosophy. Translated from the English by Jürgen Koller. Turia + Kant, Vienna / Berlin 2016, ISBN 978-3-85132-833-2 .
  • Chris Bezzel : Wittgenstein for an introduction. Junius, Hamburg 2000, ISBN 3-88506-330-1 .
  • Kai Buchholz : Ludwig Wittgenstein. Campus, Frankfurt am Main and others 2006, ISBN 3-593-37858-2 .
  • Hans-Johann Glock : Wittgenstein Lexicon. Scientific Book Society , Darmstadt 2000.
  • AC Grayling : Wittgenstein. Herder, Freiburg im Breisgau 1999, ISBN 3-451-04739-X .
  • Hans Jürgen Heringer : “I wish 2 × 2 were 5!” Ludwig Wittgenstein. An introduction. Königshausen & Neumann, Würzburg 2019, ISBN 978-3-8260-6658-0 .
  • Anthony Kenny: Wittgenstein. (Paperback), Suhrkamp, ​​Frankfurt am Main 1987, ISBN 3-518-27669-7 .
  • Ernst M. Lange: Ludwig Wittgenstein: "Logical-philosophical treatise". Schöningh, Paderborn 1996 (introduction to main theses).
  • Ernst M. Lange: Ludwig Wittgenstein. Philosophical Investigations, an Annotated Introduction. Schöningh, Paderborn 1998, ISBN 3-8252-2055-9 (also covers part II).
  • Howard O. Mounce: Wittgenstein's "Tractatus". An introduction. Translated from the English by Jürgen Koller. Turia + Kant, Vienna / Berlin 2016, ISBN 978-3-85132-832-5 .
  • George Pitcher: Wittgenstein's Philosophy. A critical introduction to the Tractatus and the late writings. Alber, Freiburg im Breisgau / Munich 1967, ISBN 3-495-47159-6 .
  • Richard Raatzsch: Ludwig Wittgenstein for an introduction. Junius, Hamburg 2008, ISBN 978-3-88506-643-9 .
  • Georg Römpp : Ludwig Wittgenstein. A philosophical introduction. UTB 3384, Böhlau, Cologne 2010, ISBN 978-3-8252-3384-6 .
  • Severin Schroeder: Read Wittgenstein. A commentary on selected passages of the "Philosophical Investigations". Frommann-Holzboog, Stuttgart-Bad Cannstatt 2009 (legenda 5), ISBN 978-3-7728-2242-1 .
  • Joachim Schulte: Wittgenstein. An introduction. Reclam, Stuttgart 2001, ISBN 3-15-008564-0 .
  • Wilhelm Vossenkuhl : Ludwig Wittgenstein. C. H. Beck, Munich 1995, ISBN 3-406-38931-7 ("Thinker" series).
  • Thomas Wachtendorf: Ethics as Mythology. Language and ethics with Ludwig Wittgenstein (= Wittgensteiniana, Volume 3). Parerga, Berlin 2008, ISBN 978-3-937262-77-2 (Dissertation University of Oldenbourg 2007, 296 pages).

Commentaries, monographs, edited volumes

  • Erich Ammereller, Eugen Fischer (eds.): Wittgenstein at work. Method in the philosophical investigation. Routledge, London 2004, ISBN 0-415-31605-7 (anthology on Wittgenstein's method).
  • Ulrich Arnswald (Ed.): In Search of Meaning. Ludwig Wittgenstein on Ethics, Mysticism and Religion. Universitätsverlag, Karlsruhe 2009, (EUKLID studies; Vol. 1), ISBN 978-3-86644-218-4 .
  • Ulrich Arnswald (Ed.): Section “The Authentic in Wittgenstein's Philosophy / The Authentic in Wittgenstein's Philosophy”. In: Wittgenstein Yearbook 2003/2006, Yearbook of the German Ludwig Wittgenstein Society. Lang, Frankfurt am Main 2007, 113–198, ISBN 978-3-631-56104-1 .
  • Ulrich Arnswald, Jens Kertscher, Matthias Kroß (eds.): Wittgenstein and the metaphor. Parerga, Berlin 2004, ISBN 3-937262-14-8 .
  • Ulrich Arnswald, Anja Weiberg (ed.): The thinker as a tightrope walker. Ludwig Wittgenstein on religion, mysticism and ethics. Parerga, Düsseldorf 2001, ISBN 3-930450-67-4 .
  • Gordon P. Baker, Peter M. Hacker: Analytical Commentary on the "Philosophical Investigations". Blackwell, Oxford 1985. (Several volumes, probably the most thorough and comprehensive commentary on the Philosophical Investigations, but without the treatment of Part II. The authors are the Wittgenstein "Popes" and, over their main work, fell into the above "therapeutic" / "Metaphysically" marked camp.)
  • Gordon P. Baker: Wittgenstein's method. Neglected aspects, essays on Wittgenstein. Blackwell, Oxford 2004, ISBN 1-4051-1757-5 (Collection of essays, initially mostly published in French, on the position identified above as “therapeutic”, which seeks to resolve mental cramps not through analysis but by reinterpreting the images that cause them.)
  • Alain Badiou : Wittgenstein's anti-philosophy. Diaphanes, Zurich 2008.
  • Reinier F. Beerling : Language games and world views. Reflections on Wittgenstein. Alber, Freiburg 1980, ISBN 3-495-47380-7 .
  • Gerd Brand : The basic texts of Ludwig Wittgenstein. Suhrkamp, ​​Frankfurt am Main 1975, ISBN 3-518-07438-5 .
  • Wittgenstein and the characters. Semiotic reports with: Linguistics Interdisciplinary. Vol. 16/1992, issue 1/2. (Vienna, Austrian Society for Semiotics): Bezzel, Chris. Perception game and language game. A sketch for Wittgenstein; Conte, Amedeo G. Wittgenstein's deontic place; Leinfellner-Rupertsberger, Elisabeth. The pragmatic foundation of linguistics and artistic intelligence through Wittgenstein's late philosophy: the story of a failure; Neumer, Katalin. The wonder of nature. The ideas of the late Wittgenstein on aesthetics and art. Rossi-Landi, Ferruccio. Wittgenstein from an old and a new point of view. Koschitz, Norbert. The egg in the cuckoo's nest. Editing notes on Wittgenstein's posterity; Conte, AG Wittgenstein's non-posthumous writings. Report.
  • Stanley Cavell: The Claim of Reason. Suhrkamp, ​​Frankfurt am Main 2006 (his interpretation of Wittgenstein's “Criteria” is particularly recommended, and he has also written other important articles on Wittgenstein that are available in collections of essays in German).
  • Jan Drehel, Kristina Jaspers (ed.): Wittgenstein lectures. Approaches from art and science. Junius, Hamburg 2011; ISBN 978-3-88506-491-6 .
  • Jan Drehel, Kristina Jaspers (eds.): Ludwig Wittgenstein. Locations of a genius. Junius, Hamburg 2011, ISBN 978-3-88506-475-6 .
  • Françoise Fonteneau: L'éthique du silence. Wittgenstein and Lacan. Seuil, Paris 1999, ISBN 2-02-034545-5 .
  • Mirko Gemmel: The Critical Viennese Modernism. Ethics and aesthetics. Karl Kraus, Adolf Loos, Ludwig Wittgenstein. Parerga, Berlin 2005, ISBN 3-937262-20-2 (on the importance of ethics in the Tractatus ).
  • Gunter Gebauer, Fabian Goppelsröder, Jörg Volbers (eds.): Wittgenstein - Philosophy as "work on oneself". Fink, Munich 2009.
  • John Gibson, Wolfgang Huemer (Ed.): Wittgenstein and the literature. Translated by Martin Suhr. Suhrkamp, ​​Frankfurt am Main 2006.
  • Fabian Goppelsröder: Between saying and showing. Wittgenstein's path from literary to poetic philosophy. transcript, Bielefeld 2007.
  • Peter M. Hacker: Wittgenstein in the context of analytical philosophy. Suhrkamp, ​​Frankfurt am Main 1997, ISBN 3-518-58242-9 (well-founded overview of the “metaphysical” position, which sees Wittgenstein as an heir to the Anglo-Saxon-analytical philosophy tradition).
  • Peter M. Hacker: Insight and Deception. Suhrkamp, ​​Frankfurt am Main 1978 (one of the best overall presentations of Wittgenstein's philosophy).
  • Fernando Gil: La Reception de Wittgenstein. Collège international de philosophie, Paris 1988, ISBN 2-905670-27-4 .
  • James Griffin: Wittgenstein's Logical Atomism. Translated from the English by Jürgen Koller. Turia + Kant, Vienna / Berlin 2016, ISBN 978-3-85132-831-8 .
  • Merrill B. Hintikka, Jaakko Hintikka: Investigations on Wittgenstein. Suhrkamp-Taschenbuch Wissenschaft, 1224.Suhrkamp, ​​Frankfurt am Main 1996, ISBN 3-518-28824-5 .
  • Mathias Iven : Ludwig says ... Hermine Wittgenstein's notes. Parerga, Berlin 2006.
  • Wulf Kellerwessel: Wittgenstein's philosophy of language in the philosophical investigations. An introductory commentary. Ontos, Heusenstamm 2009 (Publications of the Austrian Ludwig Wittgenstein-Society, New Series, Vol. 9), ISBN 978-3-86838-032-3 .
  • Wolfgang Kienzler: Wittgenstein's turning point to his late philosophy 1930 to 1932. A historical and systematic presentation. Suhrkamp, ​​Frankfurt am Main 2001, ISBN 978-3-518-58250-3 .
  • Wolfgang Kienzler: Ludwig Wittgenstein's "Philosophical Investigations". Scientific Book Society, Darmstadt 2007, ISBN 978-3-534-19823-8 .
  • Saul Aaron Kripke : Wittgenstein on rules and private language. An elementary representation. Suhrkamp, ​​Frankfurt am Main 2006, ISBN 3-518-29383-4 (English original published 1982). Controversial but extremely influential interpretation, ironically called "Kripkenstein" because of its creative handling of Wittgenstein's argumentation.
  • EM Lange: Wittgenstein's Revolution. (PDF; 483 kB) The problem of philosophy and its solution. 2009, archived from the original on January 31, 2012 ; Retrieved on November 30, 2010 (author of the UTB comments on Tractatus and Philosophical Investigations works out in an online publication how Wittgenstein's overthrow of disciplinary relationships within philosophy from epistemology to semantics with the solution of the pseudo-problem of an alternative existing between realism and idealism related).
  • Sandra Markewitz (Ed.): Grammatical Subjectivity. Wittgenstein and modern culture. transcript Verlag, Bielefeld 2019.
  • Alexander Maslow: An investigation into Wittgenstein's "Tractatus". Translated from the English by Jürgen Koller. Turia + Kant, Vienna / Berlin 2016, ISBN 978-3-85132-83-01 .
  • Ludwig Nagl , Chantal Mouffe (Ed.): The Legacy of Wittgenstein: Pragmatism or Deconstruction. Peter Lang: Frankfurt am Main 2001, ISBN 3-631-36775-9 (this volume contains articles by Hilary Putnam , Henry Staten, Allan Janik, Stephen Mulhall, James Conant and Linda Zerilli, among others).
  • Duncan Richter: Wittgenstein at His Word. Continuum, London 2004, ISBN 0-8264-7473-X (another alternative interpretation of Wittgenstein's late philosophy).
  • Nicolas Reitbauer: Wittgenstein - Understanding - Micrological Investigations at the Beginning of the Big Typescript. 2006.
  • Alois Rust: Wittgenstein's Philosophy of Psychology. Klostermann, Frankfurt am Main 1996, ISBN 978-3-465-02848-2 .
  • Eike von Savigny: Wittgenstein's "Philosophical Investigations". A comment for readers. Klostermann, Frankfurt am Main 1988 f., ISBN 978-3-465-03547-3 .
  • Walter Schulz : Wittgenstein. The negation of philosophy. Neske, Pfullingen 1967 etc.
  • Ilse Somavilla, James M. Thompson (Ed.): Wittgenstein and the Antike / Wittgenstein and Ancient Thought. Wittgensteiniana, Volume 8, Parerga Verlag, Berlin 2012.
  • Friedrich Stadler : Wittgenstein and the Vienna Circle - Thinking Style and Thinking Collective. In: Ders .: Studies on the Vienna Circle. Suhrkamp, ​​Frankfurt am Main 1997, 467-488.
  • Michel Ter Hark: Beyond The Inner And The Outer. Wittgenstein's Philosophy of Psychology. Kluwer, Dordrecht 1990, ISBN 0-7923-0850-6 .
  • J.-M. Terricabras: Ludwig Wittgenstein. Commentary and Interpretation. Alber, Freiburg 1978, ISBN 3-495-47393-9 .
  • Holm Tetens : Wittgenstein's "Tractatus". A comment. Reclam, Stuttgart 2009, ISBN 978-3-15-018624-4 .
  • Jörg Volbers: Self-knowledge and way of life. Critical subjectivity according to Wittgenstein and Foucault. transcript, Bielefeld 2009.
  • Radmila Schweitzer: Ludwig Wittgenstein: the Tractatus Odyssey. Publication accompanying the exhibition , Wittgenstein Initiative Vienna 2018.


  • Philip Kerr : The Wittgenstein Program. Rowohlt TB, Reinbek 1996, ISBN 3-499-43229-3 (detective novel).
  • Bruce Duffy: The World As I Found It. London 1987.


Web links

Commons : Ludwig Wittgenstein  - Album with pictures, videos and audio files

Individual evidence

  1. UNESCO World Document Heritage - Two new entries. Press release of the Austrian UNESCO Commission of October 31, 2017, accessed on November 2, 2017.
  2. Bertrand Russell on November 29, 1911 to Ottoline Morrell
  3. ^ DF Pears: Wittgenstein. London 1971.
  4. a b Axel Schock, Karen-Susan Fessel: OUT! - 800 famous lesbian, gay and bisexuals. Querverlag, Berlin 2004, ISBN 3-89656-111-1 .
  5. ^ Wilhelm M. Donko: For reflection in quiet seriousness. In: Oberösterreichische Nachrichten, July 27, 2019, accessed on July 31, 2020 .
  6. ^ WW Bartley: Wittgenstein. Lippincott, Philadelphia 1973, pp. 160 and others.
  7. The private notes in the “Secret Diaries” accompany the creation of the Tractatus, cf. Kurt Oesterle : Die Editions-Operetta. Die Zeit , January 8, 1993.
  8. ^ Ludwig (von) Ficker - Ludwig Wittgenstein. Correspondence 1914–1920. Edited by Annette Steinsiek and Anton Unterkircher, iup, Innsbruck 2014, p. 15.
  9. Page no longer available , search in web archives: The poet and the philosopher. Süddeutsche Zeitung, accessed on November 3, 2014.@1@ 2Template: Toter Link /
  10. Tractatus 4.0031
  11. ^ Saul Aaron Kripke : Wittgenstein on rules and private language. An elementary representation. Suhrkamp, ​​Frankfurt am Main 2006, ISBN 3-518-29383-4 .
  12. Tractatus 3.3
  13. 5.141 “If p follows from q and q from p, then they are one and the same sentence.” 5.142 “The tautology follows from all sentences: it says nothing”.
  14. Tractatus 6.54
  15. From a letter from Wittgenstein to Ludwig von Ficker , the editor of the magazine Der Brenner
  16. Tractatus 5.6
  17. ^ Letter to Russell
  18. ^ A b Ray Monk: Wittgenstein. The craft of genius. Klett-Cotta, Stuttgart 2004, p. 252 f.
  19. A. C. Grayling: Wittgenstein. Freiburg im Breisgau, p. 18 f.
  20. Otl Aicher and Robert Kuhn: Greifen und Griffe , Verlag der Buchhandlung Walther König, Cologne, 1987
  21. Lorenz Schröter: Tractatus Achitectonicus
  22. FITTINGS ETC: pair of original Wittgenstein handles
  23. ^ Ray Monk: Ludwig Wittgenstein: The Duty of Genius. Free Press, 1990, p. 271.
  24. ^ RB Braithwaite: George Edward Moore, 1873-1958. In: Alice Ambrose, Morris Lazerowitz: GE Moore: Essays in Retrospect. Allen & Unwin, 1970.
  25. The little ladder is supposed to be an allusion to the penultimate sentence (6.54) in the Tractatus : “My sentences are explained by the fact that those who understand me will end up recognizing them as nonsensical when they have stepped over them - on them is. He has to throw away the ladder, so to speak, after he has climbed it. "
  26. The German translation, which Wittgenstein himself started for the Brown Book , can be found in the work edition, Volume 5. The Brown Book is there, however, A Philosophical Comment.
  27. ^ History of Churches & Burial Grounds.
  28. On the problem of the publication of Wittgenstein's works, see: Joachim Schulte: Wittgenstein. Stuttgart, 1989, p. 45 f.
  29. ^ Cora Diamond: The Realistic Spirit. MIT Press, Cambridge, Massachusetts 1991.
  30. Alice Crary, Rupert Read (Ed.): The New Wittgenstein. Routledge, 2000.
  31. ^ J. Conant, C. Diamond: On reading the Tractatus resolutely: reply to Meredith Williams and Peter Sullivan. In: M. Kölbel, B. Weiss (Eds.) The Lasting Significance of Wittgenstein's Philosophy. Routledge, 2004.
  32. Peter Hacker: Was he trying to whistle it? In: Wittgenstein: Connections and Controversies. Oxford 2001.
  33. James Conant: Mild Mono Wittgenteinianism. In: Alice Crary (Ed.): Wittgenstein and the Moral Life - Essays in Honor of Cora Diamond. MIT Press, Cambridge, Massachusetts 2007; Routledge, 2000.
  34. ^ Rupert Read, Matthew Lavery (Ed.): Beyond the Tractatus Wars. Routledge, 2011.
  35. Ludwig Wittgenstein: Philosophical investigations , from the foreword. Quoted from the work edition , Vol. 1, Verlag Suhrkamp, ​​Frankfurt am Main 1984, p. 231.
  36. Main representative Gordon P. Baker in Wittgenstein's method. Neglected aspects, essays on Wittgenstein, Blackwell, Oxford 2004.
  37. Main representative Peter M. Hacker in Wittgenstein in the context of analytic philosophy. Suhrkamp, ​​Frankfurt am Main 1997.
  38. Ludwig Wittgenstein: Philosophical Investigations § 133. Quoted from the work edition , Vol. 1, Verlag Suhrkamp, ​​Frankfurt am Main 1984, p. 305.
  39. PU, § 18
  40. PU, § 43
  41. ^ PU, § 23
  42. ^ PU, § 109
  43. PU, § 84
  44. ^ PU, § 255
  45. ^ PU, § 309
  46. In: Thomas Bernhard: Pieces Vol. 4. Suhrkamp, ​​Frankfurt am Main 1988.
  47. Libuše Moníková: drift. Hanser, Munich / Vienna 1992.
  48. Moniková, 1992, p. 123.
  49. James Ryerson: Philosophical Sweep . In: Slate . December 21, 2010, ISSN  1091-2339 ( [accessed September 5, 2016]).
  50. Wittgenstein whistles. In: FAZ . February 10, 2012, page 30.
This version was added to the list of articles worth reading on December 13, 2005 .