(entry perma-link)


Ludwig Wittgenstein

Wittgenstein (1889-1951) was an Austrian philosopher of language and logic whose popularity is perhaps only second to Russell as far as 20th century philosophers go. A pupil of Russell, Wittgenstein shifted the grand question to one about language. Wittenstein proposed that language was inextricable from thought, mediating between us and the world. Interesting, Wittenstein proposed two different and contradictory theories of reference. The first one, written in his early years, equated language to a picture, whose elements, taken together, represent a state of affairs. The second, written years later, defined language as the sum of its uses in everyday life. Why is language so important in philosophy? As Wittenstein famously says, "To show the fly a way out of bottle".