Ludwig Wittgenstein

(1889-1951 / Vienna)

Ludwig Wittgenstein Quotes

  • ''It seems to me that, in every culture, I come across a chapter headed "Wisdom." And then I know exactly what is going to follow: "Vanity of vanities, all is vanity."''
    Ludwig Wittgenstein (1889-1951), Austrian philosopher. Conversation, 1934. Personal Recollections, ch. 6, ed. Rush Rhees (1981). Of philosophy books.
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  • ''A philosopher who is not taking part in discussions is like a boxer who never goes into the ring.''
    Ludwig Wittgenstein (1889-1951), Austrian philosopher. Conversation, 1930. Personal Recollections, ch. 6, ed. Rush Rhees (1981).
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  • ''Philosophy is like trying to open a safe with a combination lock: each little adjustment of the dials seems to achieve nothing, only when everything is in place does the door open.''
    Ludwig Wittgenstein (1889-1951), Austrian philosopher. Conversation, 1930. Personal Recollections, ch. 6, ed. Rush Rhees (1981).
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  • ''Nowadays it is the fashion to emphasize the horrors of the last war. I didn't find it so horrible. There are just as horrible things happening all round us today, if only we had eyes to see them.''
    Ludwig Wittgenstein (1889-1951), Austrian philosopher. Personal Recollections, ch. 6, ed. Rush Rhees (1981). Conversation in 1934.
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  • ''For a truly religious man nothing is tragic.''
    Ludwig Wittgenstein (1889-1951), Austrian philosopher. Personal Recollections, ch. 6, ed. Rush Rhees (1981). Conversation in 1930.
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  • ''Always get rid of theory private object in this way: assume that it constantly changes, but that you do not notice the change because your memory constantly deceives you.''
    Ludwig Wittgenstein (1889-1951), Austrian philosopher, worked m.. Philosophical Investigations, Part II, p. 209e, Macmillan (1953).
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  • ''An "inner process" stands in need of outward criteria.''
    Ludwig Wittgenstein (1889-1951), Austrian philosopher, worked m.. Philosophical Investigations, Part I, sect. 580, p. 153e, Macmillan (1953).
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  • ''Every sign by itself seems dead. What gives it life?—In use it is alive. Is life breathed into it there?—Or is the use its life?''
    Ludwig Wittgenstein (1889-1951), Austrian-British philosopher. Trans. by G.E.M. Anscombe, Blackwell, second edition (1958). Philosophical Investigations, I, par. 432 (1953).
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  • ''A man's thinking goes on within his consciousness in a seclusion in comparison with which any physical seclusion is an exhibition to public view.''
    Ludwig Wittgenstein (1889-1951), Austrian philosopher. Philosophical Investigations, pt. 2, sct. 2 (1953).
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  • ''We have got onto slippery ice where there is no friction and so in a certain sense the conditions are ideal, but also, just because of that, we are unable to walk. We want to walk so we need friction. Back to the rough ground!''
    Ludwig Wittgenstein (1889-1951), British (Austrian born) philosopher. Philosophical Investigations, part I, 107 (1953). Working in an ideal language, or with an ideal logic, makes it impossible to make progress with our problems.
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