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2 [[caption-width-right:350:Wittgenstein was also well experienced in leering like a serial killer.]]
4->''I am sitting with a philosopher in the garden; he says again and again "I know that that's a tree", pointing to a tree that is near us. Someone else arrives and hears this, and I tell them: "This fellow isn't insane. We are only doing philosophy."''
5-->--'''Ludwig Wittgenstein'''
7Ludwig Josef Johann Wittgenstein (26 April 1889 29 April 1951) was one of the foremost philosophers of the 20th century. He made major contributions to formal logic, the philosophy of language and the philosophy of mind and, to a more controversial extent, the philosophy of mathematics. He was notorious for [[ThePerfectionist holding back his work from publication until he got it right]]; in his own lifetime, his entire published output consisted of one book, one book review, an article and a children's dictionary. The book, ''Tractatus Logic-Philosophicus'', outlined Wittgenstein's theory of the relationship of language to reality, in which he famously asserted that the logical structure of language mirrored the structure of reality, that whatever could be said at all could be said clearly, that statements about ethics were meaningless, and that "what we cannot talk about we must consign to silence".
9He later came to think that this theory was completely mistaken, in that it didn't account for the many different types of utterance that were not statements about the world but orders, exclamations, or what the later philosopher [[ J.L. Austin]] would call "speech acts", and he spent the rest of his career making copious notes towards a second book that would not so much outline a theory as describe the way that philosophical problems can arise from confusions in the use of language. A version of this book was published after his death as ''Philosophical Investigations''.
11He was born into a [[RichPeople wealthy]] and cultured but [[BigScrewedUpFamily extremely screwed-up ]] family in Vienna in 1889; his father, Karl Wittgenstein, was a tycoon who at one point controlled pretty much all steel and iron production in the entire Austro-Hungarian Empire. Ludwig was the youngest of nine children and two of his brothers [[DrivenToSuicide committed suicide]] (and a third, a musical prodigy who vanished off a boat in Chesapeake Bay during a fit of depression, probably did.)
13Ludwig was for a while a schoolmate of UsefulNotes/AdolfHitler, although there's no evidence that they ever met. He studied engineering in Berlin and Manchester. He soon became fascinated with philosophy and in 1911 he went to Cambridge to study under Creator/BertrandRussell, who initially regarded him as annoying but came to see him as a genius. Later, when Wittgenstein openly disapproved of Russell's freethinking views about marriage and politics, Russell in turn started to regard Wittgenstein as an InsufferableGenius. Wittgenstein served in the Austrian army during UsefulNotes/WorldWarI (he immediately volunteered when the war broke out, and was decorated several times for his bravery). After the war was over he wrote the ''Tractatus'' and gave up philosophy, then made one of the world's worst career decisions by going off to work as a primary school teacher, a job for which he could [[HairTriggerTemper hardly have been more unsuited]]. Although the ''Tractatus'' was an immediate hit in the world of philosophy, Wittgenstein came to believe that the theory embedded in it was seriously flawed and in 1929 he finally yielded to persuasion and returned to Cambridge to teach philosophy at graduate level. He died there in 1951, of prostate cancer for which, StoicWoobie that he was, he'd refused treatment. His LastWords were "Tell them I've had a wonderful life!"
15Wittgenstein was famously [[BunnyEarsLawyer eccentric]], at least by the standards of his own time and place (which was mostly Cambridge, England in the early 20th century). He [[BrutalHonesty hated the rituals of polite conversation]], wore the same clothes all the time (which he did by having several identical shirts, several identical tweed jackets, several identical pairs of trousers, etc. which he chose with extreme care); preferred if possible to eat the same thing at all meals, and had a very austere, almost monk-like lifestyle. He could be a loyal friend, even if he drove his friends mad with his insistence on honesty. He once called around to several friends' houses late at night to "confess" that he'd misled them into believing that his family wasn't Jewish (none of them cared one way or the other and most were annoyed that he'd disrupted their evening). He even had lovers, although it was illegal to be a sexually active gay man in early 20th century England; Wittgenstein seems to have been less bothered by the illegality than by his wish to be a CelibateHero (he wasn't one, he just would have liked to be one).
17He had a passion for CrimeFiction and was quite a connoisseur of it, rating the obscure LA pulp writer [[ Norbert Davis]] higher than Creator/AgathaChristie, whose work he couldn't stand. He also loved Hollywood movies, developed a serious crush on Betty Hutton, and - appropriately for a philosopher who specialised in language - loved [[JiveTurkey hipster slang]], frequently [[ThrowItIn dropping into his conversation]] phrases like "Hot ziggety!" and "Let us case the joint." He was extremely musical and was able to whistle entire classical works from memory. (His older brother Paul was a concert pianist who lost his right arm in UsefulNotes/WorldWarI and [[HandicappedBadass went back to his concert career anyway]], commissioning many piano concertos for the left hand, including the famous one by Music/MauriceRavel.)
19Given his colourful personality, it should come as no surprise that since his death he's been depicted as a character in several works of fiction.
21!!Wittgenstein is a character in the following works of fiction:
22* He is mentioned in the "Bruces Song", aka "Philosopher's Song" by Creator/MontyPython, a comedy song featured on ''AudioPlay/TheMontyPythonMatchingTieAndHandkerchief'', the live album ''AudioPlay/MontyPythonLiveAtDruryLane'' and in their ConcertFilm ''Film/MontyPythonLiveAtTheHollywoodBowl''.
23* ''The World As I Found It'', a 1987 biographical novel by Bruce Duffy.
24* ''Saints and Scholars'', a 1987 novel by Terry Eagleton.
25* ''Film/{{Wittgenstein}}'', a 1993 feature film directed by Derek Jarman.