Ludwig Wittgenstein, fully Ludwig Josef Johann Wittgenstein

Wittgenstein, fully Ludwig Josef Johann Wittgenstein

Austrian Jewish Philosopher who worked primarily in Logic and the Philosophy of Mathematics, Mind and Language

Author Quotes

We just do not see how very specialized the use of "I know" is.

What is thinkable is also possible.

Where does our investigation get its importance from, since it seems only to destroy everything interesting, that is, all that is great and important? (As it were all the buildings, leaving behind only bits of stone and rubble.) What we are destroying is nothing but houses of cards and we are clearing up the ground of language on which they stand.

You say : The point isn't the word, but its meaning, and you think of the meaning as a thing of the same kind as the word, though also different from the word. Here the word, there the meaning.

To believe in a God means to see that the facts of the world are not the end of the matter.

We may not advance any kind of theory. There must not be anything hypothetical in our considerations. All explanation must disappear, and description alone must take its place.

What is troubling us is the tendency to believe that the mind is like a little man within.

Where two principles really do meet which cannot be reconciled with one another, then each man declares the other a fool and a heretic

You sometimes see in a wind a piece of paper blowing about anyhow. Suppose the piece of paper could make the decision: ?Now I want to go this way.? I say: ?Queer, this paper always decides where it is to go, and all the time it is the wind that blows it. I know it is the wind that blows it.? That same force which moves it also in a different way moves its decisions.

To do a thing for a certain reason may mean several things. When a person gives as his reason for entering a room that there is a lecture, how does one know that is his reason? The reason may be nothing more than just the one he gives when asked. Again, a reason may be the way one arrives at a conclusion, e.g., when one multiplies 13 x 25. It is a calculation, and is the justification for the result 325. The reason for fixing a date might consist in a man's going through a game of checking his diary and finding a free time. The reason here might be said to be included in the act he performs. A cause could not be included in this sense.

We must not forget that the description of the world by mechanics is always quite general. There is, for example, never any mention of particular material points in it, but always only of some points or other.

What is your aim in philosophy? To show the fly the way out of the fly-bottle.

Whereof one cannot speak, thereof one must be silent.

You won?t ? I really believe ? get too much out of reading it. Because you won?t understand it; the content will seem strange to you. In reality, it isn?t strange to you, for the point is ethical. I once wanted to give a few words in the foreword which now actually are not in it, which, however, I?ll write to you now because they might be a key for you: I wanted to write that my work consists of two parts: of the one which is here, and of everything which I have not written. And precisely this second part is the important one.

To give a reason is to go through a process of calculation, and to ask for a reason is to ask how one arrived at the result. The chain of reasons comes to an end, that is, one cannot always give a reason for a reason. But this does not make the reasoning less valid. The answer to the question, Why are you frightened?, involves a hypothesis if a cause is given. But there is no hypothetical element in a calculation.

We must plow through the whole of language.

What kind of investigation are we carrying out? Am I investigating the probability of cases that I give as examples, or am I investigating their actuality? No, I?m just citing what is possible and am therefore giving grammatical examples.

White must be the lightest color in a picture.

Your questions refer to words; so I have to talk about words.

To imagine a language is to imagine a form of life.

We regard the photograph, the picture on our wall, as the object itself (the man, landscape, and so on) depicted there. This need not have been so. We could easily imagine people who did not have this relation to such pictures. Who, for example, would be repelled by photographs, because a face without color and even perhaps a face in reduced proportions struck them as inhuman.

What makes a subject difficult to understand ? if it is significant, important ? is not that some special instruction about abstruse things is necessary to understand it. Rather it is the contrast between the understanding of the subject and what most people want to see. Because of this the very things that are most obvious can become the most difficult to understand. What has to be overcome is not difficulty of the intellect but of the will.

Why in the world shouldn't they have regarded with awe and reverence that act by which the human race is perpetuated. Not every religion has to have St. Augustine's attitude to sex. Why even in our culture marriages are celebrated in a church, everyone present knows what is going to happen that night, but that doesn't prevent it being a religious ceremony.

To obey a rule, to make a report, to give an order, to play a game of chess, are customs (uses, institutions)

We see, not change of aspect, but change of interpretation.

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Wittgenstein, fully Ludwig Josef Johann Wittgenstein
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Austrian Jewish Philosopher who worked primarily in Logic and the Philosophy of Mathematics, Mind and Language