Ludwig Wittgenstein

A native of Vienna, Ludwig Josef Johann Wittgenstein contributed greatly to Austrian philosophy, particularly in the fields of logic, the philosophy of mathematics, and also of language and the mind. Born to a prominent Protestant family of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, young Ludwig was able to develop intellectually and artistically, as such artists as Gustav Mahler and Johannes Brahms were frequent guests at the Wittgensteins' house. In 1903, he went to school in Linz, showing a deep interest in physics. Later, he studied mechanical engineering in Berlin, until 1908 when he was enrolled into the Victoria University of Manchester to work on his doctorate. Significantly, Wittgenstein also studied under Bertrand Russell at the University of Cambridge. His famous work 'Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus' was written during World War I, when he served for the Austro-Hungarian army. A self-declared atheist before the war, Wittgenstein accepted Christianity afterwards, even deciding to give away his inherited family fortune. For several years, he worked as a schoolteacher in Austrian villages, and as a gardener's assistant in a monastery near Vienna. In the 1920s, he was a member of the Vienna Circle, a gathering of philosophers. He died in Cambridge in 1951 with his last words on his lips: “Tell them I've had a wonderful life.”