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Ludwig Wittgenstein (1889 - 1951)

Related: philosophy - language - tautology - Austria

One of the more enlightening reflections on Wittgenstein's life and philosophy is to be found in Colin Wilson's The Misfits. He especially links Wittgenstein's homosexuality with his reluctance to speak about his own uncertainties and doubts.

Bartley's comment [on Wittgenstein's homosexuality] help us to understand Wittgenstein's attitude to philosophy. Wittgenstein possessed the disposition that is often found in saints and ascetics: a powerful craving for meaning and purpose, and immense self-disgust at his own failure to find them. [...] It was this sense of failure, of living on the brink of an abyss, that produced in Wittgenstein the craving for certainty that led him to create the philosophical system of the Tractatus. --Colin Wilson via The Misfits

[In the Tractatus], Wittgenstein was led to define truth as tautology - a mere repetition of the same meaning. [...] Wittgenstein agrees that there is such a thing as religious truth and ethical truth. But he insists that it cannot be put into words, and that any philosopher who thinks he is talking about these great universal truths is merely deceiving himself. --Colin Wilson via The Misfits


Ludwig Josef Johann Wittgenstein (April 26, 1889 – April 29, 1951) was an Austrian philosopher who contributed several groundbreaking works to modern philosophy, primarily on the foundations of logic and the philosophy of language. He is widely regarded as one of the most influential philosophers of the 20th century. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ludwig_Wittgenstein [May 2005]

Tractatus Logico Philosophicus (1921) - Ludwig Wittgenstein

    "What can be said at all can be said clearly; and what we cannot talk about we must pass over in silence." ["Was sich überhaupt sagen läßt, läßt sich klar sagen; und wovon man nicht reden kann, darüber muß man schweigen."] --Ludwig Wittgenstein, Tractatus Logico Philosophicus (1921) [Amazon.com]

Wittgenstein (1973) - William Warren Bartley

Wittgenstein (1973) - William Warren Bartley [Amazon.com] [FR] [DE] [UK]

Although Wittgenstein was involved in a relationship with Marguerite Respinger (a young Swiss woman whom he had met as a friend of the family), his plans to marry Marguerite were broken off in 1931, and Wittgenstein never married. Most of his romantic attachments were to young men. There is considerable debate over how active Wittgenstein's homosexual life was--inspired by W. W. Bartley's claim to have found evidence of not only active homosexuality but in particular several casual liasons with young men in the Wiener Prater park during his time in Vienna. Bartley published his claims in a biography of Wittgenstein in 1973, claiming to have his information from "confidential reports from... friends" of Wittgenstein (Bartley 160), whom he declined to name, and to have discovered two coded notebooks unknown to Wittgenstein's executors that detailed the visits to the Prater. Wittgenstein's estate and other biographers have disputed Bartley's claims and asked him to produce the sources that he claims. What has become clear, in any case, is that Wittgenstein had several long-term homoerotic attachments, including an infatuation with his friend David Pinsent and long-term relationships during his years in Cambridge with Francis Skinner and possibly Ben Richards. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ludwig_Wittgenstein [Apr 2006]

See also: Ludwig Wittgenstein - tautology - Colin Wilson - homosexuality

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