Welcome to Episode 31 on Ludwig Wittgenstein (Part I of II) with Prof. Richard Gaskin.
Ludwig Wittgenstein was an Austrian-British philosopher whose work focused on the philosophy of mathematics, logic, the philosophy of mind, and most notably, the philosophy of language.
Wittgenstein’s influence on the world of philosophy has been phenomenal. The study of philosophy was immensely important to Wittgenstein, not only as an academic discipline but as a form of therapy. In Ludwig’s own words, he describes philosophy as, "the only work that gives me real satisfaction".
Wittgenstein’s work can be divided into an early period, exemplified by the Tractatus (our focus for Part I), and a later period, articulated in the Philosophical Investigations (which is our focus for Part II). Early Wittgenstein was concerned with the logical relationship between propositions and the world. He thought that by providing an account of this relationship, he had solved every philosophical problem. The later Wittgenstein rejected many of the assumptions of the Tractatus, arguing that the meaning of words is best understood as their use within a given language-game.
Wittgenstein’s life and work are astonishing. His mentor, Bertrand Russell, described him as "the most perfect example I have ever known of genius as traditionally conceived; passionate, profound, intense, and dominating".
This week in Part I, we'll be discussing Wittgenstein's Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus from 1921.
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Part I. The Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus (08:00 in Part I)
Part II. The Philosophical Investigations (start of Part II)
Part III. Further Analysis and Discussion (45:45 in Part II)