Talk:Ludwig Wittgenstein/Archive 3

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Archive 2 Archive 3 Archive 4

Death

Cause of death was in error. Wittgenstein died of prostate cancer.— Preceding unsigned comment added by 67.70.91.119 (talk) 09:39, 16 January 2006

Added

Added trivia - supposed Asperger diagnose.

Please sign your posts by adding -~~~~ at the end. I removed the trivia section (copied below). It is fine to include this sort of information, but not without sources. Who speculated this? In what book? What are the reasons for this speculation? Add that sort of information and then copy it back to the main page, if you want.
It has been speculated that Wittgenstein had Asperger syndrome.
-Seth Mahoney 17:35, 10 February 2006 (UTC)
OK ! I´ll try. --jmak 19:13, 11 February 2006 (UTC)

Schopenhauer

Several writers have written about Schopenhauer's influence on Wittgenstein. I could never make sense of the first line of the Tractatus until I realized that it is almost equivalent to the first line of Schopenhauer's main work in which he wrote: The world is my representation. In Professor David Pear's book Wittgenstein, Chapter 1, he wrote that Wittgenstein "...took much of the framework of the Tractatus from Kant through Schopenhauer...." This is due to the fact that Schopenhauer's criticism of the Kantian philosophy is a relatively short, very readable explanation of Kant's critiques. But, for me, the most important and deep influence can be seen in Wittgenstein's ascetic attempt to withdraw from the world, his voluntary poverty as a result of giving away his inheritance, as well as his serious reading of the New Testament. These would be puzzling to someone who has not read Schopenhauer's The World as Will and Representation, Volume I, §68.Lestrade 22:53, 10 May 2006 (UTC)Lestrade

stylistic infelicities

Could something be done about the following sentence in the section 'Work'?

"Although many of Wittgenstein's notebooks, papers, and lectures have been published since his death, he published only one philosophical book in his lifetime, which means he's not a very good writer"— Preceding unsigned comment added by 83.71.1.38 (talk) 12:23, 11 June 2006

FA without criticism

This is clearly a beatifully done hagiography, folks. But Wittgenstsin was anything but a saint: in philosophy and in life. Unfortunately, the only critical comments I have access to concern his personal life. Apart from that, there is (a sort of) brief rebutall of Wittgenstein's view that "philosophical problems do not exist" in Popper's Conjectures and Refutatation. I will get a link to the well-sourced Italian article by Piergiorgio Oddifreddi concerning the extremely wacky personality and behavior of Herr Witt, first of all. This stuff should not be whitwashed. It adds dimension and realism to the mix to show that Witt was a strange fellow indeed.--Lacatosias 09:22, 17 July 2006 (UTC)

Here's the link, but I will obviously have to translate the relevent sections. [1]

"Come persona, Wittgenstein fu piuttosto singolare: aveva terrore degli insetti, e preferiva asfissiare nell'antitarme di cui cospargeva la casa; lavava i piatti nella vasca da bagno, e puliva il pavimento cospargendolo di foglie di tè bagnate che poi scopava via; camminava in un modo tanto esagitato che in un soggiorno in Irlanda i vicini gli impedirono di attraversare i loro campi, perché spaventava le pecore; indossò l'uniforme dell'impero austro-ungarico (che ormai non esisteva più) per anni, dopo la fine della prima guerra mondiale; si fece operare di calcoli da sveglio perché non si fidava dei medici, e volle seguire l'operazione con un sistema di specchi; era contrario al voto alle donne perché quelle che aveva conosciuto erano tutte idiote (e quando incontro Elizabeth Anscombe, che non lo era, prese a chiamarla 'vecchio mio'); invitato al Circolo di Vienna per discutere di filosofia, vi leggeva invece poesie volgendo le spalle all'uditorio.

Come amico, era mortalmente esigente: di Russell perse la stima perché, scrivendo soltanto 'tascabili d'urto', non correva più il rischio di ammazzarsi facendo filosofia; con Moore si seccò molto quando questi, dopo un infarto, rifiutò di discutere troppo a lungo, perdendo così l'occasione di schiattare da filosofo, 'sul campo'. Naturalmente, finì col bisticciare con tutti (Russell, Moore, Ramsey, Keynes, Waismann, Carnap, Popper) prima o poi, e col troncare i rapporti per periodi più o meno lunghi. D'altra parte, la sua compagnia fu considerata pestilenziale, da doversi evitare per periodi troppo prolungati (soprattutto nella fase in cui pretese di confessare i suoi 'peccati'4 come espiazione: sua e, probabilmente, altrui).

In amore, non era comune. Non certo perché omosessuale,5 quanto perché amò amare all'insaputa dell'amato (ad esempio, David Pinsent, a cui dedicò il Tractatus), e disgiungere per quanto possibile il sentimento dal sesso (ad esempio, proponendo un matrimonio in bianco a Marguerite Respinger).6

Anche come insegnante, Wittgenstein non fu (fortunatamente) comune. Da maestro elementare distribuì botte (non simboliche) ai maschi e tirate di capelli alle femmine, arrivò a far perdere conoscenza ad un bimbo malato che morì tre anni dopo di leucemia, e finì sotto processo (dimettendosi subito dopo) per aver fatto sanguinare ripetutamente una bambina. Da professore universitario si vantava di non aver studiato le opere di altri filosofi (sostenendo che lo facevano soltanto gli accademici, cioè i filosofi fasulli), e si rifiutò di far lezione a troppi studenti (una trentina), preferendo dettare a pochi di essi degli appunti che gli altri potevano leggere a casa (e che divennero il Libro blu). Sconsigliò sempre sia la filosofia come professione che la carriera accademica, sostenendo (certo a ragione) che non è possibile essere allo stesso tempo persone serie ed oneste e professori universitari.7

La filosofia era per lui una sofferenza: credeva che non fosse possibile pensare decentemente se non si vuole farsi del male, e che pensare fosse come nuotare (nel senso che si ha tendenza a stare in superficie, mentre andare in profondità richiede uno sforzo). Si lamentava che il suo pensiero fosse sistematicamente frainteso (oltre che plagiato), senza abbandonare però la pretesa di esporlo soltanto in forma poetica (criterio in base al quale la sua opera andrebbe forse giudicata8)."

As a person, Wittgenstien was rather unusual: he was terrified of insects and preferred to asfixiate himself in the insecticide (?) with which he inundated his home; he washed his dishes in the bathtub, and cleaned the floors by covering them with tea leaves which he then broomed away; he walked in such an excited or agitated manner that during a vacation in Ireland his neighbors prevented him from passing across through their fields, because he frightened away the sheep; he continued to wear the Austro-Hungarian militray uniform (which no longer existed) for years after the end of WWI; he had himself operated on without anesthetic because of his fear of doctors and he insisted on following the entire procedure with a system of mirrors; he opposed the vote for women because all of those whom he had known were idiots (and when he met Elizabeth Anscomb, who was not, he took to calling her "my old chap"); when he was invited to participate in the mettings of the Vienna Circle in order to discuss philosophy, he would sit and read poetry instead, with his back turned to his audience.

As a friend, he was mortally demanding: he lost his esteem for Russell because, by writing popular paperbacks, he no longer ran the risk of killing himnself doing philosophy; he got extrenyl bored with Moore when the latter, after having a heart attack, refused to debate at length with him, losing in this way the opportunity to finish himnself off philosophizing "on the field". Naturally, he ended up fighting with everyone (Russell, Moore, Ramsey, Keynes, Waismann, Carnap, Popper) sooner or later, and struncating his relations for more or less lengthy periods of time. On the othet hand, his freindship was considered pestilential, to be avoided at all costs for long periods of time (above all, during the phase in which he claimed the need to confess his "sins" as expiation: his, and, probably, those of others).

(to be continued)....--Lacatosias 10:06, 17 July 2006 (UTC)

This looks like a collection of stories which are mainly also found in Monk or Edmonds and Eidinow, and sometimes confused - sweeping with tea leaves was not an uncommon cleaning method at the time (several references here, for example), Oddifreddi is confusing the reasons for falling out with Russell and Moore (and possibly also Sraffa), Wittgenstein never had any sort of friendship with Popper, and one of the remarkable things about his personality was that despite the fact that he was undoubtedly eccentric and hugely demanding, so many people valued his friendship and kept it up despite the demands. Wittgenstein tended to be the one to break relationships, often (as was the case with Sraffa) when people wanted to remain friends but not on his terms. WP:V is key here - if Oddifreddi has a source for any of this, that's fine, but what you've translated doesn't look to me to be very accurate. --ajn (talk) 10:57, 17 July 2006 (UTC)
I cannot further verify the claims, that's why I'm posting this here. Otherwise, I would have just edited the article directly. In any case, the sources cited by Oddifreddi as the basis for his biographical sketch are listed below. I don't have access to these books and I'm not in the best of health at the moment, so I'll leave it up to others to do the research if they would like. The article, however, strikes me as thoroughly hagiographical. Just because some of these charges may be off-base (though you actually haven't idenitifed one that is, but just said that they are corroborated in other biographical accounts, oddly enough), doesn't mean they all are. His opposition to the vote for women and his calling Anscombe "old chap", for example, are quite interesting and quite revealing if true.


- Bertrand Russell, Autobiografia, volume II, Longanesi, 1969.
- David Pinsent, Vacanze con Wittgenstein, Boringhieri, 1992.
- Paul Engelmann, Lettere di Ludwig Wittgenstein con ricordi, La Nuova Italia, 1970.
- Norman Malcolm, Ludwig Wittgenstein, Bompiani, 1964.
- Rush Rhees (curatore), Recollections of Wittgenstein, Oxford University Press, 1984.

A livello macroscopico, due biografie forniscono, rispettivamente, un'idea generale ed una visione dettagliata:

- Georg von Wright, Ludwig Wittgenstein. Schizzo biografico, nel libro di Malcolm citato.
- Ray Monk, Wittgenstein, Bompiani, 1991.

Ultimatalely, I'm much more interested that there be a criticism of ideas section, because NO philosopher should be treated as off-limits, not even Wittegentsein who was one of the greatest of the century (better, espesically not Wittgenstin who was one of the greatest of the last century).--Lacatosias 12:08, 17 July 2006 (UTC)

--Lacatosias 12:08, 17 July 2006 (UTC)

Well, I have access to several of these. You seem confused about the "charges" - are you saying the article needs to stress that Wittgenstein walked in a funny way and frightened sheep? Or that there needs to be some criticism of his philosophical ideas? If the latter, I'd agree (there also needs to be some more exposition of the different interpretations of his writings). But that's not what Oddifreddi provides as far as I can tell from the two paragraphs you've translated - he seems to have gathered up trivial information about personal eccentricities from a variety of mainly secondary sources. Wittgenstein produced strong reactions either way in people, and many of these stories of eccentricity (from admirers or enemies) need to be taken with a pinch of salt. The fact that the article isn't stuffed with trivial anecdotes about what a loony Wittgenstein was, doesn't make it a hagiography. I don't see anything in the article to suggest he was a saint. --ajn (talk) 14:53, 17 July 2006 (UTC)
No, of course I'm not interested in "stuffing" the article "trivialities" and I'm not confusing anything. Basically, 1)I would think that the biography could be extended and improved a bit with a few salient facts. Not to demonstrate how loony Wittgentsin was, but how human he was. It's rather boring. See, for example, the biography of John von Neumann. 2) A criticism section might perhaps be added along the lines of the article on Karl Popper, this one I wrote for Jerry Fodor or this one I wrote on Kuhn Structure of Scientific Revolutions. I just wanted to bring this to people's attention, not argue about it for several hours. Good day. --Lacatosias 16:54, 17 July 2006 (UTC)

Imho the first bombastic sentence should be toned down: Wittgenstein did not contribute anything to the philosophy of mathematics and very little to(the foundation of) logic. When his Remarks on the Foundations of Mathematics appeared posthumously, they were met critically, at most with condescence, by the professional community (see Benacerraf and Putnam). There is a consensus that somehow Wittgenstein had missed the point of Gödel's work. The other possible contribution to mathematical philosophy should be the Tractatus but it does not contain anything specific, apart some criticism of Russell's logicism. The use of 'truth tables' is credited also to Emile Post, so it is difficult to see what would amount to 'ground-breaking work' in logic or philosophy of mathematics. It could be asserted perhaps that Wittgenstein has contributed to these topics indirectly. It would be easy to edit: "...contributed ground-breaking work to contemporary philosophy, primarily on the philosophy of language and the philosophy of mind".85.187.217.182 13:35, 14 August 2006 (UTC)

Just as a note, since you mention Putnam, he did come to feel much more positively about Wittgenstein's understanding of Gödel's work than you might be aware; see, for example, [2]. I do think you are correct about the mainstream mathematics community's rejection of Wittgenstein's views on the philosophy of mathematics and foundations of logic, but this does not deny their influence, or their importance in Wittgenstein's thought. -Chinju 15:16, 14 August 2006 (UTC)
I had in mind the book Philosophy of Mathematics (selected readings) ed. Benacerraf and Putnam.

Anyaway, my point was that Lacatosias is not exaggerating when he talks about hagiography; the first sentence sets the tone. 85.187.217.182 22:33, 14 August 2006 (UTC)

Philosophical Investigations

I'm a little uncomfortable with the recent revision of this section. Using the very terms 'sense' and 'nonsense' to illustrate how Wittgenstein thinks about sensible and nonsensical philosophical utterances seems needlessly opaque. I wasn't really that happy with the 'time'/'what is time' example that I preserved in the revision of this section that I did awhile ago. However, I think it's closer to being a helpful example than sense/nonsense, which seems designed to confound the uninitiated (rather than time or sense, why don't we use Wittgenstein's own damn examples in PI, like rule following, or reading? and by the way, where's the mention of private language here?). Maybe it's just supposed to be cute, not pedantic. But either way.

And maybe I'm just touchy about the say/show distinction because I tried employing it to solve the cogito in an undergrad paper (sigh), but I think it's misleading here. (1) LW never mentions it as such in the Investigations. Obviously you could apply it all over the place, but in PI, those applications would, I think, be parasitic on the primary notion of the illicit hypostatization of words (e.g. "mind"), which receives more immediate attention. (2) Quoting the Tractatus here doesn't really do justice to the radical difference between that book and the book in question. While there are obvious continuities, don't you think that, at least in a Wikipedia entry, it'd be disingenuous to downplay those (famous) differences? It makes PI look like nothing more than the Tractatus' bloated toady.--Figureground 01:21, 28 June 2006 (UTC)

I would strongly support these comments. The saying/showing distinction is very much more a Tractatus thing than Philosophical Investigations - I do not think it is very helpful and it is certainly potentially misleading. The current text reads: "On Wittgenstein's account, language provides a way of coping with, what one might call, "everyday purposes," and it works well within that context. But when everyday language attempts to explain something beyond what it is able, problems arise." I think this is a poor interpretation. The point is not that language can cope with the mere everyday, but finds more sophisticated things difficult. Rather we use language well in certain situations and less well in others. The point of Wittgenstein's method is to help us become more sensitive to when our thinking becomes confused and our statements empty. We need to understand when the mechanism of language is doing something and when it is just spinning in the air without the connections that would give it meaning or import. I would be glad to see the text amended in this kind of direction but do not want to start an interpretation war. 4 July 2006 PGJ


I note these comments were made some time ago, but the section on the Investigations remains unchanged. I am willing to attempt a total rewrite of the section and will put the version here first for discussion. Davkal 12:42, 16 September 2006 (UTC)

I think the following better captures the nature of the Investigations. The first two pargarphs have not been changed but the final three are completely different. Comments please.

Although the Tractatus is a major work, Wittgenstein is mostly studied today for the Philosophical Investigations (Philosophische Untersuchungen). In 1953, two years after Wittgenstein's death, the long-awaited book was published in two parts. Most of the 693 numbered paragraphs in Part I were ready for printing in 1946, but Wittgenstein withdrew the manuscript from the publisher. The shorter Part II was added by the editors, G.E.M. Anscombe and Rush Rhees. (Had Wittgenstein lived to complete the book himself, some of the remarks in Part II would likely have been incorporated into Part I, and the book would no longer have this bifurcated structure.)

It is notoriously difficult to find consensus among interpreters of Wittgenstein's work, and this is particularly true of the Investigations. Very briefly, Wittgenstein asks the reader to think of language and its uses as sets of language-games within which the parts of language function and have meaning in order to resolve the problems of philosophy. This view of language represents what many consider a break from the Wittgenstein in the Tractatus and, hence, meaning as representation. In the carrying out of such an investigation, one of the most radical characteristics of the "later" Wittgenstein comes to light. The "conventional" view of philosophy's "task", perhaps coming to a head in Bertrand Russell, is that the philosopher's task is to solve the seemingly intractable problems of philosophy using logical analysis (for example, the problem of "free will", the relationship between "mind" and "matter", what is "the good" or "the beautiful" and so on). However, Wittgenstein argues that these "problems" are, in fact, "bewitchments" that arise from the philosophers' misuse of language.

On Wittgenstein's account, language is woven into the fabric of life, and as part of that fabric it works unproblematically. Philosophical problems arise, on this account, when language is forced from its proper home and into a metaphysical environment, where all the familiar and necessary landmarks have been deliberately removed. Removed for what appear to be sound philosophical reasons, but which are, for Wittgenstein, the very source of the problem. 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), and where all philosophical problems can be solved without the confusing and muddying effects of everyday contexts; but where, just because of the lack of friction, language can in fact do no actual work at all. There is much talk in the Investigations, then, of “idle wheels,” and language being “on holiday”, all of which are used to express this same idea of what is lacking in philosophical contexts. To resolve the problems encountered there, Wittgenstein argues, philosophers must “bring words back from their metaphysical to their everyday use.” That is, philosophers must leave the frictionless ice and return to the “rough ground” of ordinary language in use.

Returning to the rough ground is, however, easier said than done. Philosophical problems having the character of depth, and running as deep as the forms of language and thought that have become habitual for the philosopher. Wittgenstein therefore speaks of “illusions” and “conjuring tricks” performed on our thinking by our forms of language and tries to break their spell by attending to differences between the superficially similar forms of expression that can lead to this type of confusion. For much of the Investigations, then, Wittgenstein tries to show how philosophers are led away from the ordinary world of language in use by misleading aspects of language itself. He does this by looking in turn at the development of various philosophical problems, from the general problem of language itself, through the notions of rules and rule following, and then on to some more specific problems in epistemology and philosophy of mind. Throughout these investigations, the style of writing is conversational with Wittgenstein in turn taking the role of the puzzled philosopher (on either or both sides of traditional philosophical debates), and that of the guide attempting to show the puzzled philosopher the way back: the “way out of the fly bottle.”

Much of the Investigations, then, consists of examples of how philosophical confusion is generated and how, by a close examination of the actual workings of everyday language, the first false steps towards philosophical puzzlement can be avoided. By avoiding these first false steps, philosophical problems themselves simply no longer arise and have therefore been dissolved rather than solved. As Wittgenstein puts it; "the clarity we are aiming at is indeed complete clarity. But this simply means that the philosophical problems should completely disappear."

Davkal 14:43, 16 September 2006 (UTC)

I've amended the section in question with a few further alterations. I still think the section needs work and will continue to work on it myself. My main reasons for putting the section in now is that the original section was primarily concerned with: a) the "say/show" distinction, which I think plays little or no part in the Investigations; and b) a formal distinction between sense and nonsense which is much less explicit in the Investigations (if there at all) than it is in the Tractatus.Davkal 10:47, 18 September 2006 (UTC)

Culture and value?

I read Culture and Value recently (in part due to the description on this page) and it seemed certainly as though Wittgenstein was influenced by Kierkegaard, but he never goes so far as to "critique" his work. I mean, he only had a few lines in which he even referred to Kierkegaard, compared to 3+ times that amount discussing the work of Shakespeare.... Does anyone with knowledge in this area agree with this?— Preceding unsigned comment added by 129.237.169.7 (talk) 15:04, 28 August 2006

I agree. There is no evidence that Wittgenstein's engagement with Kierkegaard consisted of anything more than seeing in Kierkegaard's work Wittgenstein's own religio-philosophical views - and, for that reason, regarding Kierkegaard's work as 'profound'. Wittgenstein had a tendency to read other authors in this way. Kierkegaard's thought does not, I think, positively shape Wittgenstein's thought as does the work of Schopenhauer, Weininger, Spengler, Tolstoy or even Dostoevsky. Best, Maxim662 17:36, 17 September 2006 (UTC)
When I read Culture and Value, he does discuss many aspects of religion that Kierkegaard brings up, especially in K's later works. His discussions on the Gospels, Scriptures, and Christ's Resurrection are all highly reminscient of things K discusses in Christian Discourses and Without Authority. And I agree with Max to an extent, but there are other scholars that have made an interesting account of the K and W relationship: [3] Poor Yorick 04:25, 18 September 2006 (UTC)
as i recall, that book is a collection put together by an editor, not composed by W himself. As such, if you want to see if he deals with K, you should go look at the whole of the notebooks to see where those selections were pulled from, and perhaps you'll find more relevant material. --Buridan 23:10, 18 September 2006 (UTC)

Zettel

Is there any reason why Zettel has been excluded from the list of works by Wittgenstein. I know that the book consists of Wittgenstein's clippings from his own manuscripts, but they were compiled by serious Wittgensteinian scholars and are widely regarded as sheding light on LW's thought and even providing some important insights into his views on philosophy of action which are not really dealt with elsewhere.Davkal 20:36, 18 September 2006 (UTC)

Section about his death removed

Sorry! I managed to forget to add an edit history when I removed the following:

There is, however, an alternative version of Wittgenstein's demise. An increasing number of secondary sources  
highlight Wittgenstein's daily routine of visiting a tree at a nearby college, of which he was deeply fond. They then
go on to claim that Wittgenstein died the day after this particular tree was cut down. Although this is (if it is 
true) probably a coincidence, it adds an extra element of unique brilliance at the man's life. Regarding the truth of
the claim, the tree does indeed appear to have been chopped down on the correct day (one of the authors supporting  
this story claims to have actually met the man who did it). However, the jury is still indefinitely out.

I find it all a bit odd. First, it doesn't tell us which secondary sources - or where they draw their information from. Second, it's not clear precisely what the relationship is supposed to be between the tree getting chopped down and Wittgenstein's death: did it just make him want to give up? And how is this an extra element in his unique brilliance? Why is it especially brilliant to die the day after your favourite tree does? Maybe there's something I'm missing... garik 11:49, 20 October 2006 (UTC)

On reversions

Reversions ought not be made of correct edits back to previous versions that are demonstrably false. Since Austria did not exist as an independent state in July 1939, the 1.7 tonnes of Wittgenstein gold were NOT "2% of the Austrian gold reserves". They were, however, comparable in value/cost to that of the British Spitfire fleet in 1939, after four years of British rearmament. The original placed the 1.7 tonne transfer into historical context, whereas the reversion does not and simply perpetuates the falsehood. Following the declaration of war on September 3rd, this sort of transfer was a capital offence (Aiding and abetting the enemy.) Its historical significance ought not to be edited away without some sort of explanation for the reversion. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by 211.28.122.204 (talkcontribs) .

The rationale is that Wikipedia is not a place for original research (see WP:NOR), and Kimberley Cornish's nutty theories should not be given undue weight in the article (see WP:NPOV). The article is unbalanced as it is. --ajn (talk) 07:48, 11 October 2006 (UTC)
Surely the only thing that matters is if the edit is true or false. Austria had no gold reserves, contrary to what the uncorrected text asserted and this was duly corrected. After reversion, the unsuspecting reader seeking information from Wikipedia will learn falsely that the 1.7 tonnes of gold transferred to the Nazis was 2% of the Austrian gold reserves. Something wrong, here, surely. Nothing whatever to do with "Cornish's nutty theories" and no original research required; just plain vanilla knowledge of national political boundaries in 1939 Europe. I agree with you, however, that the article is unbalanced.— Preceding unsigned comment added by 211.28.122.204 (talk) 09:02, 11 October 2006
Addendum: Look, if you're not happy with the Spitfire comparison - which is actually correct, if you do the multiplication I provided, and which I think places what the Wittgensteins did in context - why don't we just agree to give the pounds sterling equivalent in 1939 of 1.7 tonnes of gold? (Or 2006, for that matter, or some other objective measure of its value - you choose whichever you think is reasonable.) I don't really care HOW it is corrected, so long as it IS corrected and we don't have a reference to a non-existent independent Austria. "Wittgenstein's Poker" was simply wrong on this, though I suspect the authors might have been thinking about pre-Anschluss Austria. However that might be, there is no excuse for perpetuating their error in Wikipedia.— Preceding unsigned comment added by 211.28.122.204 (talk) 11:34, 11 October 2006
After some weeks, I've corrected the sentence in question (the one that mentions the 1.7 tonnes of gold) and changed "Paul Wittgenstein" to "the Wittgenstein family", since Paul was not solely responsible for the transfer. Given the obvious reluctance of other editors to have the figure of US$50 million mentioned, I have not added it to the article. For all that, it remains true that the Wittgenstein assets donated to the Nazis a week or so before the British declaration of war, was about equivalent in value to the Spitfire fleet when Great Britain commenced hostilities.—Preceding unsigned comment added by Kimberley Cornish (talkcontribs) 00:37, 27 October 2006

Suggestions

(1) Might it be useful to "update" Wittgenstein's contributions to various academic and philosophical inquiries? It seems that Wittgenstein's use of language games and place of language in experience has experienced something of a revival among some postmodern academics.

In particular, his own transition from "representational" to "lived" semiotic is in itself interesting as a presage of the movement from a "representational" to a "community" derivation of language / meaning.

I'm no Wittgenstein expert (just stumbled upon this interesting, if frustrating, discussion) and any credentials I might have had to the "philosopher's club" have probably long expired, but a part of my doctoral work did float in and around meaning, words, classification and the uses we make of them--via semiotics. Thus I am eminently unqualified to write such a piece, though I can see a hole on the bookshelf where something like it might just fit.

That is, philosophy did not end with Adorno, or even with Habermas. Some young buck out there, can you tell whether this connection (Wittgenstein's work on language and postmodern approaches to community-as-language) has developed at all in contemporary (21st century) philosophical work?

Might be nice to see something pragmatic as well as historic. . .(of course they are not mutually exclusive. . .)

(2) On the issue of Wittgenstein's alleged personal quirks:

Given the absolute delight with which students of philosophy embrace all that is eccentric in the lives of the authors with whose works they are cursed to try and read (see Philosopher's Song. . .any campus)

and

the somewhat unsettling popular idea that the most brilliant men (almost always men) are proportionately looney (perhaps explaining the less-brilliant lives of mostly normal people?) as well as

the difficulty of actually nailing down with precise sources most of what happened in Europe during either of the "world wars," but in particular the second--there was an awful lot of bombing and burning by both sides

it might be difficult to come up with primary source material that would either confirm or deny even positions held forth in academic lectures but unpublished, let alone personal eccentricities (after all, if the people writing about these eccentricities were themselves brilliant, their own opinions of normalcy should be correspondingly suspect, see the "it takes one to know one" argument)

So

perhaps we should cobble together a "tribute" page to which all of the strange and probably unprovable and just as probably unimportant traits, stunts, personal traits, learned tricks and inept relationships of all such "brilliant but eccentric" wiki subjects can point?

Thus the eccentricities (which, if not so important, are entertaining enough that folks will be motivated to search dilligently for evidence enough to warrant a smirk) can be acknowledged with a neat and proper cite through a proper point to another wikipedia page

but

the "eccentricities" page itself would be self-evidently immune from the precision of source usually required of biographies of thought, (by the way, why is it we assume that someone's date and place of birth is important to the formation of their intellectual ideas?)

and would be a riotous read. (potentially Wiki's most commonly cited article)

This might satisfy both the "biography of ideas" and the "biography of real peoples behind the ideas" folks by allowing the hint or shadow of perhaps something utterly crazy to fall across the screen without an actual commission of the crime of citing one wack-o's account of another wack-o (non-traditional spelling intentional).

Paradoxically, this page might already exist, and merely lacks more "slept with sheep but only within a platonic framework" entries in order to accumulate enough word-weight to produce a big enough ripple when it is dropped into the swimming pool of ideas. After all, it wouldn't probably be listed where any boring (and thus non-brilliant) person might expect. . .

Roy 07:45, 31 October 2006 (UTC)

Religion

Why are Wittgenstein's religious views clustered together in the WWI section? They clearly progressed over time, so I think it would be sensible to have a solely religion section/subsection. The Walrus 18:15, 4 November 2006 (UTC)

Name pronunciation again

I corrected the IPA: <Ludwig> with a /t/ sound (cf. final devoicing) and <Wittgenstein> with a schwa. This is how it is usually pronounced in German (besides being German myself, I took courses on his philosophy, so I should know). However, he was Austrian, so I guess he himself might have pronounced his given name ['lu:tvi:k]. -- Anon.— Preceding unsigned comment added by 217.251.114.61, 11:08, 21 September 2005 (talk)

Perhaps the common mistakes made by English speakers when pronouncing "Wittgenstein" is to (1) pronounce the "W" as in "Wind" when it ought to be pronounced more like the "V" in "Vintage", and (2) pronounce the "s" in "stein" as the "s" in "sign" when it ought to be pronounced more like the "sh" in "shine". PJ 10:20, 8 February 2006 (UTC)
It does seem a little strange that Ludwig should be given as "'luːtvɪç", when Wittgenstein is described as an Austrian philosopher. "'luːtvɪç" sounds very German German. (Susume)
Wittgenstein generally presented himself as a German, not Austrian, thus it may be his own useage. I have no idea, as I've never seen his signature. Ernham 15:51, 18 December 2006 (UTC)
I can't see how his signature would be relevant, unless he signed his name in IPA characters. garik 15:59, 18 December 2006 (UTC)