Wittgenstein on Mind and Language

By David G. Stern | Go to book overview

4 From Logical Atomism to Practical Holism

4.1 Wittgenstein's Later Writing

After the war, Wittgenstein insisted on giving away his substantial inheritance to his brothers and sisters and spent a year training to be a schoolteacher. From 1920 to 1926 he taught in several small villages in the Viennese Alps. One of the first readers of the Tractatus was Frank Ramsey, who composed the first English translation of the book while he was still a teenager.1 Ramsey also helped prepare the translation, which was published under C. K. Ogden's name in 1922, and wrote a penetrating review of the Tractatus for Mind, still one of the best introductions to that book.2 In 1923, Wittgenstein, who was the only teacher in Puchberg am Schneeberg, a small village in the mountains near Vienna, received Ogden's translation; when he learned from Ogden that Ramsey would be visiting Austria, he wrote Ramsey a letter.3 That letter led Ramsey to stay with Wittgenstein for a couple of weeks that September and discuss the Tractatus with him in detail. Thus began the close friendship between Ramsey and Wittgenstein. Ramsey returned to Vienna in spring and summer 1924 and visited Wittgenstein from time to time. Later that year, Ramsey was made a fellow of King's College, Cambridge.4

In 1926, after a period of indecision, Wittgenstein became preoccupied with designing and building a house for his sister in Vienna, a project he completed in 1928. During these years he occasionally met with Moritz Schlick, Friedrich Waismann, Rudolf Carnap and other members of the Vienna Circle. In January 1929, Wittgenstein visited Cambridge, at John Maynard Keynes' invitation, and decided to stay there for a while to engage in some philosophical research. He was readmitted to Trinity College, as an advanced student, on January 18, 1929. By the middle of February, Wittgenstein's plans were firm enough for him to write to Schlick that

____________________
1
Letters to C. K. Ogden, p. 8.
2
Frank Ramsey, "Critical Notice of the Tractatus."
3
Letters to C. K. Ogden, p. 77. The appendix contains letters Ramsey wrote to Wittgenstein in 1923-1924 and some background information.
4
Little is known about the extent of their correspondence between Ramsey's visit to Vienna in 1924 and the beginning of 1929, when Wittgenstein took up academic residence in Cambridge again. Wittgenstein's only visit to Cambridge during this period was in summer 1925. The only correspondence that has been published is part of a letter of Wittgenstein's to Ramsey on identity, dated June 1927. The letter is in Ludwig Wittgenstein and the Vienna Circle, pp. 189-191.

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Wittgenstein on Mind and Language
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Acknowledgments vii
  • Contents xi
  • 1 - Introduction 3
  • I - WITTGENSTEIN'S EARLY PHILOSOPHY 33
  • 2 - Logic and Language 35
  • 3 - Subject and Object 53
  • II - WITGENSTEIN'S LATER PHILOSOPHY 89
  • 4 - From Logical Atomism to Practical Holism 91
  • 5 - The Description of Immediate Experience 128
  • 6 - The Flow of Life 160
  • Appendix: Passages from the Unpublished Wittgenstein Papers (Nachlass) 193
  • Bibliography 205
  • Index 211
  • Index of Quotations 223
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