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Month: March 2016

Ludwig Wittgenstein: Philosopher, Poet And Patron


Grillparzerhaus, Johannesgasse 6, 1010 Wien

Talks at the Grillparzerhaus


12 and 13 April 2016

Ludwig Wittgenstein (1889-1951) is recognised as the most influential philosopher of the 20th century. His impact continues to be strong not only in philosophy, but also in literature, aesthetics, economics and social sciences. Born and educated in Vienna into one of the most affluent and culturally active families of the Habsburg Empire, Wittgenstein spent the most productive and happy periods in his life in Norway, where he produced some of his major writings. Wittgenstein was influenced by Norwegian culture already in the family circle in Vienna - Ibsen was a beloved author of the Wittgensteins. What Ludwig inherited from them and it remained deeply rooted in him throughout his life, was the feeling of duty towards cultural values and social responsibility. As his father had financed the Vienna Secession and the Academy of Sciences, so Ludwig Wittgenstein made in 1914 a large financial contribution to artists in need, among them Rainer Maria Rilke, Adolf Loos and Georg Trakl.

In this symposium, a major emphasis will be put for the first time in Vienna on Wittgenstein's connection with Norway and the recent Norwegian contributions to Wittgenstein research - in general education, as well as at the Wittgenstein Archives in Bergen. Leading Norwegian intellectuals will debate his relevance today, thus setting an example in his city of birth.

An emphasis will be put also on the tradition of Wittgenstein's family as patrons of modern art, Ludwig Wittgenstein's own example highlighted, and parallels will be drawn between his time and cultural funding in today's world. In addition the Literature Museum in Vienna will contribute towards Wittgenstein's importance as a writer and a representative of Modernism.



Knut Olav Åmås (Stiftung Fritt Ord, Moderation)
Marjorie Perloff (Stanford University)
Alois Pichler (Wittgenstein Archiv, Universität Bergen)
Kjetil Trædal Thorsen (Snøhetta Architektur)

Ludwig Wittgenstein spent some of his most important and productive periods in Skjolden in the Norwegian Sognefjord between 1913 and 1950. What did he find and accomplish there? And why did one of the most important thinkers of the last century chose, on several occasions, to leave privileged circles in Vienna and Cambridge and to live in rural parts of Austria, Ireland, and Norway? Was Wittgenstein a philosopher in exile? How would such a person be regarded today? Would he ever get a position at a university?


Knut Olav Åmås (Stiftung Fritt Ord, Moderation)
Steven Beller (Washington DC, Historiker)
Ilyas Khan (Stanhill Foundation)
Eva Nowotny (Österreichische Kommission für UNESCO)
Bjørn Øiulfstad (Norwegischer Stiftungsverband)
Christian Witt-Dörring (Neue Galerie New York)

In what ways are arts, culture and science/research funded today? And how do the different funding models influence the activities and results? The relation between public and private funding is quite different from country to country. What is the situation today in Scandinavia/Norway, Austria, Great Britain, and the United States? And what can we learn from the philanthropists today and the last hundred years?


James Conant (University of Chicago)
Ray Monk (University of Southampton)
Alfred Schmidt (Österreichische Nationalbibliothek, Moderation)

In the early twentieth century, Vienna’s artistic and cultural landscape experienced an unprecedented shift toward modernity: Adolf Loos and the Secession movement, Arnold Schönberg, Jung Wien and Karl Kraus, Sigmund Freud, Ernst Mach and the Vienna Circle—just to mention the most important names. Proceeding from Janik’s and Toulmin’s thesis in Wittgenstein’s Vienna, the question will be explored regarding to what extent Ludwig Wittgenstein’s philosophical work is deeply rooted in this very specific culture of Viennese modernity.


In co-operation with the Literaturmuseum of the Austrian National Library and Der Standard

Isolde Charim (Moderation)
László F. Földényi
Allan Janik (Brenner Archiv)
Robert Menasse
Marjorie Perloff (Stanford University)

„Philosophie dürfte man eigentlich nur dichten“
(Wittgenstein: Vermischte Bemerkungen / Culture and Value, 12.12.1933)

What is the connection between poetry and philosophy? What do literary and philosophical texts have in common? —Representatives from science and literature will be discussing the reciprocal relationships between literature and philosophy.

Secretary General
Wittgenstein Initiative
Kriehubergasse 15/23, 1050 Wien
Tel: +43 699 19238373

Wittgenstein in Linz and Birmingham: Art Project

Upcoming international artist exchange programme between qujOchÖ artist collective based in Linz, Austria and A3 Project Space & BOM Birmingham, UK. More details.



All photos: Thomas Phillipp



From 1903 to 1906 Wittgenstein attended the technically oriented K.u.k. Realschule in Linz, a small state school with 300 pupils in Upper Austria. Afterwards he began to study at the Technische Hochschule in Charlottenburg, moved further to the Victoria University of Manchester and finally visited the University of Cambridge to study under Russell from 1911 to 1913. During this time it is widely regarded that Wittgenstein has fallen in love with David Hume Pinsent, a descendant of the philosopher David Hume.

In 1913 the Lordswood House in 44 Lordswood, Birmingham, was the family home of Pinsent. On the eve of his self-imposed exile to Norway and just after a holiday there with Pinsent, Wittgenstein stayed with the Pinsent family to say his goodbyes. The last time they saw each other was at a Birmingham railway station on 8 October 1913, when they said goodbye before Wittgenstein left to live in Norway.

GOODBYE WITTGENSTEIN wants to take this short little story as a starting point for an exchange program between Linz and Birmingham. The basic idea is to dig deeper into this story and to find real or fictive connections between Linz and Birmingham, based on the life of Wittgenstein. The main aim is to pay tribute to one of the most important philosophers of the 20th century and revive his life in Birmingham and Linz.

Following an invitation from A3 Project Space and Birmingham Open Media, the Austrian art collective qujOchÖ from Linz will visit Birmingham between 25 July and 7 August 2016 to enact a series of philosophical set pieces in response to Wittgenstein’s writings, in particular his early work on “Notes on Logic”. During their stay three members of qujOchÖ, Verena Henetmayr, Thomas Philipp and Andre Zogholy, will undertake a series of artistic interventions in public spaces throughout the city. They will also present their ideas as part of a discussion and networking event at BOM on August 1 and participate in the monthly art event Digbeth First Friday on August 4 2016.

Following this visit, five artists from Birmingham, Pete Ashton, Mike Johnston, Trevor Pitt, Emily Warner and Clare Thornton will participate in a four week residency at Atelierhaus Salzamt Linz in November 2016. During their residency the artists will explore the trails of Wittgenstein in Linz and develop the beginnings of new works that make connections between art and philosophy based on “Notes on Logic”.

"Wittgenstein and His Literary Executors"

Volume 4.3 of The Journal for the History of Analytical Philosophy is now online. It features an article by Christian Erbacher entitled "Wittgenstein and His Literary Executors".

It also contains a review of Mauro Engelmann's Wittgenstein's Philosophical Development, by Alois Pichler, and a review of Maria van der Schaar's G. F. Stout and the Psychological Origins of Analytic Philosophy by Consuelo Preti.

Here is an abstract of Erbacher's article:

Rush Rhees, Georg Henrik von Wright and Elizabeth Anscombe are well known as the literary executors who made Ludwig Wittgenstein’s later philosophy available to all interested readers. Their editions of Wittgenstein’s writings have become an integral part of the modern philosophical canon. However, surprisingly little is known about the circumstances and reasons that made Wittgenstein choose them to edit and publish his papers. This essay sheds light on these questions by presenting the story of their personal relationships—relationships that, on the one hand, gave Rhees, von Wright and Anscombe distinct insights into Wittgenstein’s philosophizing; and, on the other hand, let Wittgenstein assume that these three former students, and later colleagues and friends, were the most capable of preparing his work for publication. Using hitherto unpublished archival material as well as information from published recollections, the essay sketches the development of the personal and philosophical bonds from which the literary heirs’ distinct ways of handling Wittgenstein’s unpublished writings grew in later years.

Wittgenstein's Whewell's Court Lectures

Press release from: Austrian Science Fund FWF

PR Agency: PR&D
In a project supported by the Austrian Science Fund FWF, the analysis of hitherto unpublished lecture notes from a student and friend of Wittgenstein's has resulted in an important publication providing new insights into central issues of the philosophers' work.

The pieces are slowly coming together to form a picture. – Decades after the death of one of the 20th century's most influential philosophers, scientists are still discovering hitherto unpublished manuscripts from Ludwig Wittgenstein's milieu. During his life, the philosopher who was born in Vienna (1889) published a single work that made him famous: the "Tractatus logico-philosophicus". Many of his other texts existed only as manuscripts and were published only after his death in 1951. The Wittgenstein Archives in Bergen (Norway) is currently working on an open-access edition of his philosophical manuscripts, known as "Wittgenstein's Nachlass":

Hitherto unpublished lecture notes

Volker Munz from the Department of Philosophy at the University of Klagenfurt (Carinthia) has taken a new approach to the work of the thinker who spent most of his life in Cambridge. Thanks to contacts Munz established to the administrators of Wittgenstein's estate during his study years in Wales in the late 1980s, more than 2,000 manuscript and typescript pages from a student and close friend of Wittgenstein's came into his possession. The notes were taken by Yorick Smythies during lectures given by Wittgenstein in Cambridge between 1938 and 1941. With support from the Austrian Science Fund FWF, Volker Munz and his assistant Bernhard Ritter have been carefully editing these notes of varying format and quality over the last ten years. They added introductions and references to Wittgenstein's published writings and put dates against the notes. "Dating was one of the greatest challenges, since most of the material lacked any direct indication as to time", explains Munz, who nevertheless succeeded in ascertaining with a high degree of probability the year and even the term in which each set of notes was taken.

Volker said "I first met Rush Rhees when I came to Swansea as an exchange student in the late eighties. He allowed me join his PhD seminar, and from then on we saw each other regularly. Thereby I also got to know Peg Smythies Rhees and kept in close contact with her until she died in 2014. Sometime in the mid-nineties, Peg provided me with around 30 typescripts, all in all about 700 pages, and 23 tapes with recordings of the material dictated by Smythies. These tapes were based on the original notes Smythies took during the lectures. Together with the handwritten notes, the whole corpus covers about 2000 pages. In 2005, I applied for a research project to edit the material. Five years later Bernhard Ritter joined me, and we are now nearing the completion of the edition"


Volker Munz

Bernhard Ritter

Bernhard Ritter

New insights in central issues

"What is special about this project is the fact that no other student notes are extant from that period, except the lectures on aesthetics and on the foundations of mathematics. Hence they open additional insight into what Wittgenstein was working on during those years", emphasises Munz. Unlike Wittgenstein, Smythies gave titles to all lectures. They concern central issues such as knowledge, belief, similarity or freedom of the will. The notes also mention discussions of authors, a rare occurrence in Wittgenstein's work otherwise. Apart from Bertrand Russell, George E. Moore and William James, the philosopher discusses the theorems of Kurt Gödel, W. E. Johnson and the question whether there is "an infinite number of shades of colour", as well as David Hume's notion of 'belief'. The lectures also highlight the important role pictures and metaphors played in Wittgenstein's thinking. Moreover the notes contain new instances of the famous metaphor of the fly and the fly bottle and about 70 drawings by Wittgenstein which Smythies copied from the blackboard. "Many examples and issues touched upon in these notes were discussed only in a much more cryptic way in Wittgenstein's published works. This material now opens up new connections, and some trains of thought appear more stringent", project director Munz underlines the significance of the lecture notes.

International Wittgenstein research

Ludwig Wittgenstein's lectures and students' notes are of growing importance for research, as is a scholarly investigation of the generation that came after Wittgenstein. According to Munz, the international scientific community engages in frequent exchanges in this respect. Documents and works by and about Wittgenstein are preserved in different international archives – mostly places where the philosopher spent some of his time. In addition to the library of Trinity College in Cambridge, well known archival sources are the Brenner-Archiv in Innsbruck, which has recently been able to acquire the originals of several letters from Moritz Schlick to Wittgenstein, as well as the Wittgenstein Archives at the University of Bergen in Norway. Some documents can also be found in Kirchberg am Wechsel (Lower Austria).

A research focus in Austria

"Until the 1970s, Wittgenstein was of little significance in Austria", Munz notes. It was only thanks to the philosopher Rudolf Haller that Wittgenstein became a figure of renown there. Haller was a co-founder of the Austrian Ludwig Wittgenstein Society in 1976, the year that also saw the first of what was to become an annual Wittgenstein Symposium in Kirchberg. Still today, this event is a fixture for Wittgenstein scholars, attracting several hundred participants from all over the world. 2009 marked the beginning of a Wittgenstein Summer School in Kirchberg under the scientific direction of Volker Munz, which has aroused strong interest.

Publication and further projects

The publication of Yorick Smythies' lecture notes is going to be an important contribution to the appreciation of Wittgenstein in general and will spark further exploration of the seminal body of work by this philosopher. The volume on the FWF research project will be published this year by Wiley-Blackwell under the title "The Whewell's Court Lectures, Cambridge 1938 – 1941". For Munz, this does not mean he considers his investigations of the topic as being finished. In talking about further projects, the researcher from the University of Klagenfurt relates that Smythies himself propounded a philosophy of his own which is still completely unknown and untypical of the Wittgenstein tradition. In addition, there are volumes of poems and a great number of notebooks by the Wittgenstein student which still await the researcher's attention.

FWF Austrian Science Fund

The Austrian Science Fund (FWF) is Austria's central funding organization for basic research.

The purpose of the FWF is to support the ongoing development of Austrian science and basic research at a high international level. In this way, the FWF makes a significant contribution to cultural development, to the advancement of our knowledge-based society, and thus to the creation of value and wealth in Austria.

Scientific Contact:
Ass. Prof. Dr. Volker A. Munz
Universitaetsstrasse 65–67
A-9020 Klagenfurt am Woerthersee, Austria
Tel.: +43 / 463 2700 - 2117

Austrian Science Fund FWF:
Marc Seumenicht
Haus der Forschung
Sensengasse 1
1090 Vienna, Austria
T +43 / 1 / 505 67 40 - 8111

PR&D – Public Relations for Research & Education
Mariannengasse 8
1090 Vienna, Austria
T +43 / 1 / 505 70 44

This release was published on openPR.



Symposium Website

Georg Henrik von Wright (1916-2003) is known for his contributions to many key fields in analytic philosophy, as a builder of bridges between the analytic and the continental traditions in contemporary philosophy and as one of the main editors of the work of Ludwig Wittgenstein.

In 1948 von Wright succeeded Wittgenstein as professor of philosophy at Cambridge's Trinity College. He returned from Cambridge to Finland after Wittgenstein's death in 1951.

In this centenary year of Von Wright's birth, the symposium "Von Wright and Wittgenstein in Cambridge" will focus on the philosophical dynamics and consequences of the relation between von Wright and Wittgenstein with a special emphasis on von Wright as an interpreter and editor of Wittgenstein.


September 20-23, 2016


Strathaird, Cambridge, UK

Strathaird is the house in which the von Wright family lived in Cambridge in 1949-1950. On several different occasions, Ludwig Wittgenstein also stayed at Strathaird as guest of the von Wright family. The house is now owned by Lucy Cavendish College.

Confirmed Speakers:

  • Marco Brusotti (Lecce / Berlin)
  • Alberto Emiliani (Helsinki)
  • Christian Erbacher (Bergen)
  • Lars Hertzberg (Abo)
  • James Klagge (Virginia Tech)
  • Andre Maury (Helsinki)
  • Volker Munz (Klagenfurt)
  • Alois Pichler (Bergen)
  • Josef Rothhaupt, (Munchen)
  • Joachim Schulte (Zurich)
  • Jonathan Smith (Trinity)
  • Use Somavilla (Innsbruck)
  • Anne-Marie S0ndergaard-Christensen (Odense)
  • Friedrich Stadler (Wien)

There will be a workshop on 'A Collection of Remarks by Ludwig Wittgenstein - Selected by Georg Henrik von Wright (1965-1966)' organised by Volker Munz and Josef Rotthaupt in cooperation with the Von Wright and Wittgenstein Archives of the University of Helsinki.

Open call for papers:

In addition to the invited speakers we invite speakers selected through an open call for papers.

We welcome contributions, also from scholars in fields other than philosophy, on:

  • the philosophical dynamics and consequences of the relation between von Wright and Wittgenstein with a special emphasis on von Wright as interpreter and editor of Wittgenstein
  • the intellectual and cultural context of the relation between von Wright and Wittgenstein.

Abstracts should:

  • be submitted no later than April 15, 2016
  • have a maximum length of 500 words
  • be sent to hy-wwa(5) Notifications will be sent out by the end of April 2016.

The maximum number of participants is 70. Early application is encouraged. Applications submitted by April 15 will be given priority.

The Symposium fee is 100 euros. Lunch and coffees served on location and a conference dinner is covered by the Symposium fee. Accommodation on location at Strathaird can be offered on request for a limited number of participants. The additional fee for participants staying at Strathaird is 100 euros.

The Symposium is organized by the von Wright and Wittgenstein Archives at the University of Helsinki ( in cooperation with:

  • The Austrian Ludwig Wittgenstein Society
  • The British Wittgenstein Society
  • The International Ludwig Wittgenstein Institute (ILWI)
  • The International Ludwig Wittgenstein Society
  • The Nordic Wittgenstein Society
  • The Wittgenstein Archives at the University of Bergen

The Symposium is supported by the Jenny and Antti Wihuri Foundation, the Oskar Oflund foundation and the International Ludwig Wittgenstein Society.

Organizing Committee

  • Risto Vilkko, member of the steering committee of the von Wright and Wittgenstein Archives at the University of Helsinki
  • Thomas Wallgren, director, the von Wright and Wittgenstein Archives at the University of Helsinki
  • Bernt Österman, curator, the von Wright and Wittgenstein Archives at the University of Helsinki Contact point: PhD Bernt Osterman

The von Wright and Wittgenstein Archives PO Box 24

FI-00014 University of Helsinki Finland

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