03
Oct
07

Ludwig Wittgenstein

wittgenstein2.jpg

A portrait of Ludwig Wittgenstein in Swansea, communicating the power of his gaze & intensity of his personality.

I know that this World exists.
That I am placed in it like my eye in it’s visual field
That something about it is problematic,
Which we call its meaning
That this meaning does not lie in it but outside it.
That life is the World.
That my will penetrate the world.
That my will is good or evil.
Therefore that good or evil are somehow connected with
the meaning of the World.

It is true: Man is the microcosm
I am my World

-Ludwig Wittgenstein

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1 Response to “Ludwig Wittgenstein”


  1. 1 Steve
    June 16, 2008 at 8:06 pm

    Wittgenstein’s writings on the ethical, mystical and spiritual dimensions of experience are remarkable & if time allowed, it would be valuable to explore them carefully.

    But to take one line 0f thought: Wittgenstein comments that ‘Feeling the world as limited whole – it is this that is mystical.’ (Tractatus 6.45) And this section of the Tractatus continues:

    6.5 When the answer cannot be put into words, neither can the question
    be put into words.
    The riddle does not exist.
    If a question can be framed at all, it is also possible to answer
    it.

    6.51 Scepticism is not irrefutable, but obviously nonsensical, when it
    tries to raise doubts where no questions can be asked.
    For doubt can exist only where a question exists, a question only
    where an answer exists, and an answer only where something can be
    said.

    6.52 We feel that even when all possible scientific questions have been
    answered, the problems of life remain completely untouched. Of
    course there are then no questions left, and this itself is the
    answer.

    6.521 The solution of the problem of life is seen in the vanishing of the
    problem.
    (Is not this the reason why those who have found after a long
    period of doubt that the sense of life becomes clear to them have
    been unable to say what constituted that sense?)

    6.522 There are, indeed, things that cannot be put into words. They make
    themselves manifest. They are what is mystical.

    These remarks suggest a religious concern and an ethical sense, but one that has an apophatic character of extreme proportions. In this context it is important to consider some comments of Wittgenstein’s in a letter to his friend Ludwig Ficker written at about the time of the Tractatus’ publication in which he gave an explanation of its purpose. Wittgenstein writes that ‘The book’s purpose is an ethical one. I once meant to include in the preface a sentence which is not in fact there now, but which I shall write out for you here, because it will perhaps be a key to the work for you. What I meant to write, then, was this: My work consists of two parts: the one presented here plus all that I have not written. And it is precisely this second part that is the important one.’ (L Wittgenstein, ‘Briefe an Ludwig Ficker’, in Brenner Studien, quoted in Wittgenstein’s Vienna, by A Janik and S Toulmin, p 173). This remark is typical of others Wittgenstein made to friends suggestive of a far from negative attitude to the ethical and religious dimensions of experience – but his point is really that the ethical is a condition of experience not something that exists as a part of the world of experience.


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