Virtual Exhibition: LUDWIG WITTGENSTEIN

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Virtual Exhibition: LUDWIG WITTGENSTEIN – The Tractatus Odyssey

  • 26 Apr 2021 — 31 May 2021
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TLP_Erstausgabe 1922_1 c. Austrian National Library

To commemorate the 100th anniversary of the publication of Ludwig Wittgenstein's Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus the Austrian Cultural Forum London, in collaboration with the Wittgenstein Initiative and the British Wittgenstein Society, are pleased to present a virtual exhibition on the famous Austrian philosopher and the brilliant, enigmatic book which was to make a major impact on twentieth century philosophy.

Curated by the Wittgenstein Initiative it gives an overview of Ludwig Wittgenstein's life and the path to the creation of the Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus, which can rightly be termed an odyssey. Both in the temporal and spatial sense, as well as Wittgenstein’s intellectual development in the course of writing it, the Tractatus contains all the associations of an exciting, improbable journey.

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Ludwig Wittgenstein 1919 © Ludwig Wittgenstein Initiative

Music salon at Palais Wittgenstein, © Fam. Stonborough

Music salon at Palais Wittgenstein, © Fam. Stonborough

Hochreit, the summer estate of the Wittgenstein family, © Fam. Stonborough

Hochreit, the summer estate of the Wittgenstein family, © Fam. Stonborough

Biography

26 April 1889
Born in Vienna, in the family villa in Neuwaldegg

1912
Cambridge Trinity College, as Undergraduate, meeting with Bertrand Russell / Visit to Frege in Jena

1914, August
Volunteers for service in the Austrian army
Arrival in Cracow, assigned to one of the Vistula ships "for the operation of a spotlight"

1915, August
Transfer to Sokal to artillery workshop train no. 1

1916, October
Officer training in Olomouc, meets Paul Engelmann

1917, January
Return to the front in Bukowina

1918, August
Completion of the Tractatus in Austria, during a home leave

1918, November
Taken Prisoner of War in Italy, Cassino

1919, August
Return to Vienna / Distributes his fortune to his siblings

1919, September
Starts training for an elementary school teacher

1920–1926
Elementary school teacher in Lower Austria

1921, November
Logical-Philosophical Treatise appears in the Annals of Natural Philosophy

1922, November
Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus is published in English-German version, with a preface by Bertrand Russel

Ludwig 1908 © Brenner Archiv

Ludwig 1908, © Fam. Sjögren, Forschungsinstitut Brenner Archiv

1908–1911, Manchester

Wittgenstein moved to Manchester in May 1908, after three semesters studying mechanical engineering at the Technical High School Charlottenburg (1906-1908).

As a rather informal research student at the university, he was involved in experiments and research on aeronautics until 1911.

1911 First Visit to Gottlob Frege in Jena


I wrote to Frege putting forward some objections to his theories, and waited anxiously for a reply. To my great pleasure, Frege wrote and asked me to come and see him. When I arrived I saw a row of boys’ school caps and heard a noise of boys playing in the garden. Frege, I learned later, had had a sad married life – his children had died young, and then his wife; he had an adopted son, to whom I believe he was a kind and good father. I was shown into Frege’s study. Frege was a small neat man with a pointed beard, who bounced around the room as he talked. He absolutely wiped the floor with me, and I felt very depressed; but at the end he said “You must come again”, so I cheered up. I had several discussions with him after that. Frege would never talk about anything but logic and mathematics; if I started on some other subject, he would say something polite and then plunge back into logic and mathematics. He once showed me an obituary of a colleague, who, it was said, never used a word without knowing what it meant; he expressed astonishment that a man should be praised for this! The last time I saw Frege, as we were waiting at the station for my train, I said to him “Don’t you ever find any difficulty in your theory that numbers are objects?! He replied “Sometimes I seem to see a difficulty – but then again I don’t see it.”’

Ludwig Wittgenstein in a personal communication to Peter Geach
Courtesy Brian McGuinness, Young Ludwig, 1988

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Gottlob Frege ca. 1905, © Wittgenstein Initiative

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Freges Haus in Jena, © Wittgenstein Initiative

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Trinity College Cambridge, 1911, © Wittgenstein Initiative

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Betrand Russell, © Wikimedia

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David Pinsent, © Fam. Stonborough



1911-1912 CAMBRIDGE

We expect the next big step in philosophy to be taken by your brother.

Bertrand Russell to Ludwig’s sister Hermine Wittgenstein



At the end of his first term at Cambridge he came to me and said: “Will you please tell me whether I am a complete idiot or not? ... Because, if I am a complete idiot, I shall become an aeronaut; but, if not, I shall become a philosopher.” I told him to write me something during the vacation on some philosophical subject ... . At the beginning of the following term he brought me the fulfillment of this suggestion. After reading only one sentence, I said to him: “No, you must not become an aeronaut.”

Bertrand Russell: Last Philosophical Testament

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Skjolden at the end of the 19th century. Photo: Knud Knudsen; © University of Bergen

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Wittgenstein designed the house in the spring of 1914, for his next stay in Skjolden. In the meantime, World War I broke out and so he could not visit Skjolden again until the 1920s and use the house himself. He spent there long periods again in the 1930s and in 1950. / Photo credit: Wittgenstein’s house in Skjolden after the reconstruction in 2019. © Wittgenstein Initiative




1913-1914 SKJOLDEN

It’s the quiet and, perhaps, the wonderful scenery; I mean, its quiet seriousness.

Wittgenstein to G.E. Moore



Wittgenstein first visited Norway in the summer of 1913, on a holiday together with David Pinsent. He had never enjoyed a holiday so much and was convinced that, as soon as he could get back to Norway and resume his work, he would be —happy.
He believed he could never do his best except in exile.

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Among the recipients chosen by Ludwig von Ficker were Georg Trakl, Rainer-Maria Rilke, Adolf Loos and Oskar Kokoschka. © Forschungsinstitut Brenner Archiv

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On 26 July 1914 Ludwig von Ficker mediated the first meeting between Wittgenstein and Adolf Loos, at the Café Imperial in Vienna. Adolf Loos was the only one among the beneficiaries of the donation whose art Wittgenstein really appreciated. © Forschungsinstitut Brenner Archiv

1914 BACK TO VIENNA

Letter to Ludwig von Ficker, editor of the literary journal Der Brenner:

Hochreit
Hohenberg, Lower Austria
14 July 1914

Dear Sir:

Forgive me for asking you for a big favor. I should like to transfer a sum of 100.000 crowns to you with the request that you distribute this sum, at your own discretion, among Austrian artists who are without means. I am turning to you in this matter since I assume that you are acquainted with many of our best talents and know which of them are most in need of support. Should you care to fulfill my request, please write to me at the above address, but in any event, please keep this matter secret for the time being.

Very truly yours,
Ludwig Wittgenstein, Jr.

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In August 1914 Wittgenstein was assigned to one of the Vistula ships, the Goplana, in Krakow "for the operation of a spotlight". © Privatsammlung Reinhard Mundschütz

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The notebook which Wittgenstein used between October 1914 and June 1915. © 2015 The Master and Fellows of Trinity College, Cambridge; The University of Bergen, Bergen; http://www.wittgensteinsource.org/Ms-102,FCr_f

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Georg Trakl in military uniform, about 1912. © Wikipedia


AUGUST 1914 KRAKÓW

God be with me!
Wartime Diaries

On 28 October 1914 Wittgenstein received a letter from the poet Georg Trakl - the connection was established through Wittgenstein‘s donation to poor artists. Trakl was in the garrison hospital in Krakow and asked Wittgenstein to visit him. But when he reached Krakow on 5.11., he noted:

In the morning in the city to the garrison hospital. There I learned that Trakl died a few days ago! This hit me very hard. How sad, how sad!!! I wrote immediately to Ficker about it. Made errands & then returned to the ship about 6 o'clock. Didn’t do any work. Poor Trakl! ––– ! Thy will be done. ––––.

Wartime diary, 5 November 1914

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August 1915: Wittgenstein is assigned to an artillery train as a production engineer. © Österreichische Nationalbibliothek

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© Österreichische Nationalbibliothek

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Wartime Diaries: Die Grenzen meiner Sprache bedeuten die Grenzen meiner Welt. The limits of my language mean the limits of my world. © 2015 The Master and Fellows of Trinity College, Cambridge; The University of Bergen, Bergen. http://www.wittgensteinsource.org/Ms-102,101r_f






1915 SOKAL

August-September 1915: Beginning of the writing of the Logical Philosophical Treatise

If I had no paper I would write on sand.
Wittgenstein to a friend in WWI.



“The limits of my language mean the limits of my world.”

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Wittgenstein’s military card, 1918 © Wittgenstein Archive Cambridge

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Wittgenstein’s military card, 1918 © Wittgenstein Archive Cambridge

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First page of the so-called Engelmann Typescript from August 1918. Wittgenstein had this typescript with him during his war captivity (1918-1919) and worked on it. It is also the model for the Tractatus editions by Wilhelm Ostwald 1921 and Kegan Paul 1922. © 2017 The Master and Fellows of Trinity College, Cambridge; The Bodleian Libraries, University of Oxford; The University of Bergen, Bergen. http://www.wittgensteinsource.org/Ts-202,1r_f
















2018 HOCHREIT

The war saved my life; I don't know what I’d have done without it.

Ludwig Wittgenstein in conversation with his nephew Felix Salzer, 1930s

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Prototractatus, Dedication to Pinsent’s memory. © 2017 The Master and Fellows of Trinity College, Cambridge; The Bodleian Libraries, University of Oxford; The University of Bergen, Bergen. http://www.wittgensteinsource.org/Ms-104,VI_f













AUGUST 1918

Wittgenstein dictates the final version of the Tractatus. The long search for a publisher begins.
















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Cassino - police barracks, from 1916 prisoner of war camp © Collezione Mauro Lottici




1919 PRISONER OF WAR IN CASSINO


I‘ve written a book called „Logisch-Philosophische Abhandlung“ containing all my work of the last 6 years. I believe I‘ve solved our problems finally. This may sound arrogant but I cann‘t help believing it. I finished the book in August 1918 & two month after was made Prigioniere.

Letter to Bertrand Russel, 13. März 1919

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The schoolhouse in the Sophienbruckengasse (later Kundmanngasse) around 1900. On the lower right in the picture the entrance to the former teacher training institute. © Archiv Dr. Christoph Romer, 1030 Wien

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A school class practice with teachers-in-training in the Kundmanngasse, 1902/03 © Archive of the Austrian Academy of Sciences, St. Anna, No. W6








KUNDMANNGASSE: TRAINING AS A PRIMARY SCHOOL TEACHER


I'm going to a Teachers’ Training College to become a teacher. So here I am sitting in a schoolroom again, which sound funnier than it is. In fact I find it terribly hard; I can no longer behave like a grammar school boy, and, funny as it sounds, the humiliation is so great for me that I often think I can hardly bear it!

Wittgenstein to Paul Engelmann, 25 September 1919

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The very first publication of the Tractatus in 1921, without Wittgenstein's permission. © ÖNB: 422.250-B.Per

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The very first publication of the Tractatus in 1921, without Wittgenstein's permission. © ÖNB: 422.250-B.Per

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Ludwig von Ficker, © Austrian National Library

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Karl Kraus, © Foto D‘Ora Benda, 1908, Austrian National Library

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Wittgenstein with his pupils in Puchberg, 1925 © Family Stonborough












1920-1921 LOWER AUSTRIA / PUBLICATION OF THE
TRACTATUS

... 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. ... In brief, I think: All of that which many are babbling today, I have defined in my book by remaining silent about it.

Wittgenstein to Ludwig von Ficker, late October 1919


But I would like to know what Kraus said about [my work]. If you have the opportunity to find out, I would be very happy to hear it. Maybe Loos knows something. Write to me.

Wittgenstein to Paul Engelmann, 25 October 1918

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Moritz Schlick © Austrian National Library

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Margaret Stonborough-Wittgenstein, 1920s © Family Stonborough

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Margaret Stonborough-Wittgenstein's apartment in the Palais Schönborn in Vienna, where Ludwig Wittgenstein and Moritz Schlick first met over lunch in February 1927. © Family Stonborough













THE
TRACTATUS AND THE VIENNA CIRCLE

The Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus exerted a great influence on various philosophical schools, but especially on the Vienna Circle. Among the members of this circle were positivist philosophers and mathematicians, including Moritz Schlick, Friedrich Waismann, Rudolf Carnap and Herbert Feigl, who were enthusiastic about Wittgenstein's Tractatus .
What mainly attracted them, it seems, was the ability of the Tractatus to account for the truth of the propositions of logic and mathematics, without allowing for any substantive science other than the natural sciences as they were known.

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Frank Plumpton Ramsey, the first translator of the Tractatus into English. © J. M. Keynes Papers archive at King‘s College










NOVEMBER 1922

Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus is published in a German – English version.





A WITTGENSTEIN INITIATIVE PROJECT


Curated by Radmila Schweitzer

All content is protected by copyright © 2021 by Radmila Schweitzer, Wittgenstein Initiative, www.wittgenstein-initiative.com


Co-operation Partners:

Trinity College, Cambridge
The Bodleian Libraries, University of Oxford
The University of Bergen
Forschungsinstitut Brenner-Archiv der Universität Innsbruck
Wittgenstein Foundation Skjolden
Austrian State Archive
Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München
University of Iowa
Bundesgymnasium und Bundesrealgymnasium Wien 3 Kundmanngasse

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