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Wittgenstein, Ludwig (1889–1951)

Subject Philosophy

People Wittgenstein, Ludwig

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781405106795.2004.x


Austrian-British philosopher, born in Vienna, Professor of Philosophy at Cambridge. Wittgenstein's philosophical career was divided into two periods. The early period, culminating in the Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus (1922), was concerned with the logical structure of language and the relation between language and reality. Wittgenstein held that the world is a world of facts rather than things and that a perspicuous representation of facts required a language in which every genuine proposition is a truth-function of elementary propositions. Propositions can picture facts in virtue of facts and propositions having the same logical form. Logical form itself can not be said, but, like the propositions of metaphysics, ethics, and religion, can only be shown. Philosophy is an activity of clarifying thought and of distinguishing between what can be said and what can only be shown. The Tractatus ends with the injunction: “Whereof one cannot speak, thereof one must be silent.” Another work of his early period is Notebooks 1914–1916 (1961). Works of the transition between Wittgenstein's early and later philosophy include “Some Remarks on Logical Form” (1966), Wittgenstein's Lectures, Cambridge, 1930–1932 (1980), Ludwig Wittgenstein and the Vienna Circle: Conversations Recorded by Friedrich Waismann (1979), and Philosophical Remarks (1975). The main work of Wittgenstein's later ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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