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Wittgenstein’s forgotten lesson

Wittgenstein's philosophy is at odds with the scientism which dominates our times. Ray Monk explains why his thought is still relevant.

By Ray Monk   July 1999

Ludwig Wittgenstein in 1930

Ludwig Wittgenstein is regarded by many, including myself, as the greatest philosopher of this century. His two great works, Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus (1921) and Philosophical Investigations (published posthumously in 1953) have done much to shape subsequent developments in philosophy, especially in the analytic tradition. His charismatic personality has fascinated artists, playwrights, poets, novelists, musicians and even movie-makers, so that his fame has spread far beyond the confines of academic life.

And yet in a sense Wittgenstein’s thought has made very little impression on the…

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