Biography: Ludwig Wittgenstein

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  • Topic: Bertrand Russell, Logic, Gottlob Frege
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  • Published : October 31, 2010
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Ludwig Wittgenstein

Ludwig Wittgenstein was born on the 26th of April, 1889, being the eight and youngest child of one of the wealthiest families in Hapsburg Vienna. At the age of seventeen and a half, Ludwig went to study mechanical engineering at the most renowned of German engineering schools; it was during his time there that he started writing down thoughts on his life. Afterwards, Wittgenstein went to Manchester as a research student in Engineering. His interest in aeronautics led him to experiment on the combustion of high pressure gases, which got him interested in the design of propellers; this, in turn, requites mathematical treatment, so Wittgenstein got involved into studying the foundations of mathematics. He then started writing a book about the foundations of logic and mathematics; after showing it to Gottlob Frege, he got sent to Cambridge to study with Bertrand Russell. Wittgenstein joined the Austrian army soon after the First World War broke out, writing in his dairy that ‘perhaps the nearness of death will bring me the light of life.”; indeed, during the time spent in the army, a radical change occurred in his thinking and he began to grasp how his thoughts on logic connected with his concern to live rightly: “Yes, my work has broadened out from the foundations of logic to the essence of the world”. First, the key tenet of “Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus”, the only book written by Wittgenstein that was published during his life, is that propositions are significant by being pictures of the facts they are about. (Facts are defined by the philosopher as being in the logical space and independent of one another; they can only be stated or asserted.) Therefore, the truth or falsity of the proposition we make in speech can only be known by comparison with the reality that the propositions are supposed to be about or are supposed to be picturing. If things are the way they are said to be in the proposition, then it is true; if not, it is false....
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