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"Portraits of Wittgenstein" Now in Paperback

Portraits of Wittgenstein is a major collection of memoirs and reflections on one of the most influential and yet elusive personalities in the history of modern philosophy, Ludwig Wittgenstein. Featuring a wealth of illuminating and profound insights into Wittgenstein's extraordinary life, this unique collection reveals Wittgenstein's character and power of personality more vividly and comprehensively than ever before.

With portraits from more than 50 figures, Portraits of Wittgenstein brings together the personal recollections of philosophers, students, friends and acquaintances, including Bertrand Russell, G. E. Moore, F. R. Leavis, A. J. Ayer, Karl Popper, Friedrich von Hayek, G. H. von Wright, Freeman Dyson, Iris Murdoch, Mary Midgley and Mary Warnock. These authors testify to the life-long influence Wittgenstein had on the lives of those he met. Their fascinating memoirs, reflections and commentaries, often at odds with each other, reveal Wittgenstein's kindness, and how much genuine friendship meant to him, as well as his suffering and despair. They show too how the philosopher's ruthless honesty and uncompromising integrity often resulted in stern advice and harsh rebukes to friends and foes alike.

Now abridged and available in paperback, this collection of valuable and hard-to-find material is an indispensable resource for scholars and students of the life and work of Ludwig Wittgenstein

Preview here

Nordic Wittgenstein Review

A new issue of Nordic Wittgenstein Review was published. It's Open Access. See below.

NWR is an international full Open Access journal, published by the Nordic Wittgenstein Society since 2012. It applies a double-blind peer review to papers submitted to the article section, and an additional Open Review to accepted papers.

Best wishes for the holidays!

The editors (2017-2018)
Gisela Bengtsson (Uppsala University)
Tove Österman (Uppsala University)
Yrsa Neuman, editor-in-chief (Åbo Akademi University) until yesterday, henceforth Simo Säätelä (University of Bergen)

PS. CFP! Next submission deadline: August 31 (& continuous). Submission guidelines:

Nordic Wittgenstein Review
Volume 6 / Number 1 (June 2017)

Farewell from an Editor-in-Chief 5-6

"Not a Something"
Roger Teichmann 9-30

A Passion for Life: Love and Meaning
Camilla Kronqvist 31-51

Excursus on Wittgenstein's Rule-Following Considerations
Elek Lane 53-83

Numbers in Elementary Propositions
Anderson Luis Nakano 85-103

The Logbook of Editing Wittgenstein's "Philosophische Bemerkungen"
Christian Erbacher, Julia Jung & Anne Seibel 105-147

Review of Ian Dearden: "Do Philosophers Talk Nonsense?"
Antony Fredriksson 149-151

Review of Rebecca Schuman: "Kafka and Wittgenstein"
Hugo Strandberg 153-156

REPLIES --- New section
Matters of Fact and Relations of Ideas
Nuno Venturinha 157-163

NWR is on Facebook.

Nordic Wittgenstein Review publishes original contributions on all aspects of Wittgenstein's thought and work - exegetical studies as well as papers drawing on Wittgensteinian themes and ideas in discussions of contemporary philosophical problems.

The journal is interdisciplinary in character, and publishes contributions in the subject areas of philosophy and other human and social studies including philology, linguistics, cognitive science, and others. Sections include invited paper, interview, peer-reviewed articles, from the archives (in which seminal works are re-published or where previously unpublished archive materials are presented), as well as a book reviews.

The journal is published by the Nordic Wittgenstein Society (NWS). It is Open Access, applies a double-blind peer review process to submitted article section papers, and an additional Open Review of accepted submitted articles. No article publishing charge. Copyright with the author, published with a Creative Commons CC-BY licence.

Wittgenstein and the Social Sciences

The BWS is pleased to report that the special issue of Philosophy of the Social Sciences with papers from the 2015 BWS conference has been published.

Wittgenstein and the Social Sciences

Special Issue of Philosophy of the Social Sciences December 2016 46 (6)

Guest editors: Nigel Pleasants and Daniéle Moyal-Sharrock

Table of Contents

John R. Searle: Insight and Error in Wittgenstein

John Dupré: Social Science: City Center or Leafy Suburb

Sabina Lovibond: Wittgenstein, Tolstoy, and the “Apocalyptic View”

John G. Gunnell: Social Inquiry and the Pursuit of Reality: Cora Diamond and the Problem of Criticizing from “Outside”

Albert Ogien: Obligation and Impersonality: Wittgenstein and the Nature of the Social

NB: Access to the special edition requires a fee or institutional login.

New issue of Nordic Wittgenstein Review available on Open Access

Volume 5 / Number 1 (Jun 2016),
eds. Anne-Marie Søndergaard Christensen, Martin Gustafsson, Yrsa Neuman

Note from the Editors 5-7

Thinking about Animals: James, Wittgenstein, Hearne
Russell B. Goodman 9-29

Wittgenstein and Family Concepts
Odai Al Zoubi 31-54

Cora Diamond and the Moral Imagination
Christopher Cordner, Andrew Gleeson 55-77

Wittgenstein on Perspicuous Presentations and Grammatical Self-Knowledge
Christian Georg Martin 79-105

On a Philosophical Motivation for Mutilating Truth Tables
Marcos Silva 107-128

Review of Inside Ethics: On the Demands of Moral Thought by Alice Crary
Stina Bäckström 129-136

Review of Representation and Reality in Wittgenstein's Tractatus by J.C. Zalabardo
Silver Bronzo 137-142

Review of Formen des Klärens by Christian Erbacher
Tea Jankovic 143-147


NWR is on Facebook.

Nordic Wittgenstein Review publishes original contributions on all aspects of Wittgenstein's thought and work - exegetical studies as well as papers drawing on Wittgensteinian themes and ideas in discussions of contemporary philosophical problems.

The journal is interdisciplinary in character, and publishes contributions in the subject areas of philosophy and other human and social studies including philology, linguistics, cognitive science, and others. Each issue includes an invited paper, an interview, a peer-reviewed articles section, a section in which seminal works are re-published or where previously unpublished archive materials are presented, as well as a book review section.

The journal is published by the Nordic Wittgenstein Society (NWS).

Prototractatus Tools

Wittgenstein Source continues to publish new editions other than the Wittgenstein Archives’ own Bergen Nachlass Edition. Recent editions included:

  • Moore’s notes of Wittgenstein’s lectures by David Stern, Brian Rogers, and Gabriel Citron from the University of Iowa in the Wittgenstein Source  “Facsimile Edition of Moore’s Notes of Wittgenstein’s Lectures”;
  • the edition of  the "Tractatus publication materials" by Alfred Schmidt from the Österreichische Nationalbibliothek (ÖNB).

Wittgenstein Source is now delighted to announce the publication of Martin Pilch’s "Prototractatus Tools" (PTT).

PTT gives access to prepared new transcriptions of Wittgenstein Nachlass item Ms-104, the so-called "Prototractatus".

The editor, Martin Pilch prepared these highly sophisticated transcriptions with the aim of providing the best possible textual basis for facilitating the reconstruction of the composition process of the Tractatus text. PTT utilizes a multiplicity of representation formats and colour schemes in order to make various aspects of the Tractatus text genesis visible. An extension of the site is planned, and transcriptions of the Tractatus typescript Ts-202 are already in preparation.

Check PTT out on Wittgenstein Source!

"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.

Springer free books on philosophy including works on Wittgenstein

Springer have made a range of philosophy books available free online including many works on Wittgenstein.

The Nordic Wittgenstein Review Vol. 4, No. 2 available Open Access

The Nordic Wittgenstein Review has published a new issue: Vol. 4, No. 2, (2015). It is available Open Access, i.e. free of charge, online, for anyone to read.

"Portraits of Wittgenstein" published by Bloomsbury

The BWS is delighted to announce that the new second edition of Portraits of Wittgenstein published by Bloomsbury this month in hardback and e-version.

With portraits from more than seventy-five figures, Portraits of Wittgenstein brings together the personal recollections of philosophers, students, friends and acquaintances, including Bertrand Russell, G. E. Moore, F. R. Leavis, A. J. Ayer, Karl Popper, Friedrich von Hayek, G. H. von Wright, Rush Rhees, Freeman Dyson, G. E. M. Anscombe, Iris Murdoch, Mary Midgley, Mary Warnock and many more.

Now revised and updated, Portraits of Wittgenstein includes new selections, revised contributions, photographs and maps that provide historical context to Wittgenstein's relationships with his intellectual and social circle. This collection of valuable and hard-to-find material is an indispensable resource for scholars and students of the life and work of Ludwig Wittgenstein.

With 1138 pages, in two volumes, and a hugely complex permissions history, the new edition is inevitably expensive but Bloomsbury are offering a 50 % discount exclusively to BWS members. Details are available  to registered members here.  The BWS encourages its members to ask their institutional libraries to buy a copy.

Co-editor and BWS Secretary, Ian Ground commented: “It has been hard work but still a pleasure and a privilege for Berry Flowers and I to bring this new edition to press. We hope that the volumes will find their place as a standard point of reference for Wittgenstein studies. We owe immense thanks to the Bloomsbury Academic Press who have done a fantastic job in supporting us in our editorial work and in bringing such high production values to the volumes themselves. ”

BWS President Daniele Moyal-Sharrock added: “As Wittgenstein was fond of pointing out, context is indispensable to meaning. This extraordinary collection adds living context to Wittgenstein's thought, thereby facilitating and enhancing its grasp. It is a biographical as well as a philosophical gem."

Advance praise for the new edition

“I have made constant use of this multi-volume collection of reminiscences about Wittgenstein since its original publication in 1999. This new and expanded edition adds several insightful pieces, including a detailed report on Wittgenstein's visit to Cornell in 1949. Endlessly fascinating!” –  James C. Klagge, Professor of Philosophy, Virginia Tech, USA and Author of 'Wittgenstein in Exile.'


“Portraits of Wittgenstein is a comprehensive collection of recollections and memoirs of the greatest philosopher of the twentieth century. It is a mesmerising array of snapshots of a fascinating and charismatic thinker, which will give delight to many readers, and provides indispensable raw materials for reflections on Wittgenstein and his role in his troubled times and the relevance of his thought to ours.” –  Peter Hacker, Professor of Philosophy, University of Kent at Canterbury, UK.


“In bringing together such a large collection of memoirs of Wittgenstein - many hard to find in their original publications - the editors of this two-volume set perform an inestimable service to scholars of the philosopher, whether their interest is simply in biographical details or if they wish to contextualise his philosophy. The original of this publication has been of great service to me over the years in understanding the life and work of Wittgenstein, and I fully expect this expanded edition to fill a similar role.” –  Jonathan Smith, Archivist, Trinity College Library Cambridge, University of Cambridge, UK.


“Portraits of Wittgenstein is an invaluable cornucopia of biographical materials - from chronologies to records of teaching, from diary extracts to reminiscences. These newly updated volumes richly frame the extraordinary life of one of the twentieth-century's greatest philosophers as well as the receding horizon of his own time.” –  David Stern, Professor of Philosophy, Univerity of Iowa, USA.

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