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Wittgenstein, Ludwig

Ludwig Wittgenstein (1889–1951) was one of the most fascinating, conflicted figures in the history of philosophy. Born to an aristocratic family in Vienna, one of eight talented children, three of whom committed suicide, Wittgenstein was both a brilliant and enormously influential philosopher and, as a man, often tormented by self-doubt and even self-contempt. His complex, contradictory feelings about his family’s Jewish background; his own sexuality; and the nature of genius (and whether he was one), all surfaced in writings published after his death. For most of the 20th century, he was the towering figure in Anglo-American philosophy, the producer of two books, the Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus (1921/1961) and the posthumously published Philosophical Investigations (1953), each of which in its own way revolutionized philosophy. An aristocrat, prisoner ...

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