"Great philosophical biographies can be counted on one hand. Monk's life of Wittgenstein is such a one." The Christian Science Monitor.
Why read it?
3 authors picked Ludwig Wittgenstein as one of their favorite books. Why do they recommend it?
The figure of Ludwig Wittgenstein has always been quite enigmatic for me.
The enormous contradictions of his life and the intensity of it are difficult to understand in the abstract. Ray Monk's biography contextualizes the life and work of the Austrian philosopher who set out to solve all the problems of philosophy.
Monk's biography stands as a testament to Wittgenstein's enduring influence on our understanding of language, thought, and reality.
Wittgenstein is the key philosopher of how what we do and what we think combine to give us a view of the world and a set of things we take for granted – our ‘form of life’. It is almost impossibly hard to read his book, Philosophical Investigations and, in any case, philosophers disagree about what it means. But Monk entertainingly and interestingly explains his ideas through his biography: he makes Wittgenstein’s later philosophy readily comprehensible.
Who was Ludwig Wittgenstein? And what did he say or do that might be of interest to anyone who is not a professional philosopher? This clear-minded, prize-winning biography presents Wittgenstein’s work and life as a moral calling, tracing his path from a wealthy family in Vienna to Cambridge, where he astounded Bertrand Russell with his grasp and critique of his book on logic, Principia Mathematica. Wittgenstein carried the manuscript of his Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus in his rucksack during world war I, where he experienced “the terrors of war” serving as a corporal in the Austrian army. After he published his…
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