Saturday, May 26, 2018

Wittgenstein 1: Laboratory for Self-Instruction

I've returned for the next month or so to Ray Monk's biography of Wittgenstein. Finished chapter 1 this morning. Man, what a depressing place Vienna must have been at the beginning of the twentieth century.
  • Two of Wittgenstein's brothers committed suicide.
  • Anguish over sexuality seems pretty widespread too. A racist, misogynist man named Weininger shot himself in the house where Beethoven died--he hated himself as a Jew and homosexual. Hitler called him the only good Jew who realized he must kill himself.
  • Weininger's views only became significant because of his death--a bunch of junk.
  • They all seemed to live under the shadow of earlier genius. They saw themselves as inferior, deteriorated.
  • Wittgenstein overlapped with Hitler at Linz for a year (1904-05). No indication of a connection. Wittgenstein was there from 1903-1906. There Hitler had Leopold Poetsch as a teacher, who taught pan-German, folk ideology, in contrast to the degenerated Hapsburg dynasty.
  • He pursued engineering type things to please his father. He pretended to be interested in things he wasn't interested in because of his father's desires. Very wealthy family, Jewish in background, though they converted to Christianity earlier.
  • Wittgenstein couldn't bring himself to believe in Christianity.
  • Schopenhauer influenced him. Weininger's view on men influenced him. Hertz and Boltzmann were Kantian, which influenced him.
  • Boltzmann committed suicide in Vienna in 1906, thinking himself inferior.
  • Wittgenstein went then from Linz to Berlin (he might otherwise have studied with Boltzmann). Continued technical training. In 1908, he went to Manchester to continue...

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