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« On Wittgenstein's Cancer and Death | Main

What Wittgenstein's Extended Family Thought of His Genius

... from, the House of Wittgenstein, A Family at War, by Alexander Waugh. (pp. 146-147)

Regarding the sucess of the Tractatus, Waugh writes:

"From these small beginnings was the great industry of Wittgenstein exegesis born. Thousands of books have since been written to explain the meaning of the Tractatus, each different from the last. Ludwig himself later disavowed parts of it in his posthumously published Philosophical Investigations, but still this brief, gnomic work of the First World War continues to give the philosophical world a great deal of gristle to chew upon and in this sense, at least, the influence of Wittgenstein the philosopher has been considerable.

There were of course at that time (and still are, now) many doubters -- those who roll their eyes and mutter about "the Emperor's new clothes!"  Ludwig's uncles, aunts and extended family of Austrian cousins were among those who were the least impressed. Many of them were simply embarrassed by what they perceived to be his eccentric behavior and thought it perverse that he, the dupe of the family -- an elementary school teacher -- should be honored as a great philosopher abroad. 'Shaking their heads, they found it amusing that the world was taken in by the clown of their family, that THAT useless person had suddenly become famous and an intellectual giant in England."

Dr. Sean Wilson, Esq.

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