Wittgenstein Tweets (@WittTweets)

[10/6/2013: You may like to see The Complete WittTweets.  After reading them, you may also be interested in my final words.]

The aim of Wittgenstein Tweets is to introduce the entire life of Ludwig Wittgenstein in around 500 tweets over 6 months.   Yes, a silly project, and one which Wittgenstein himself would have almost certainly loathed.

I am doing it purely because I find Ray Monk’s biography (1990) of Wittgenstein so captivating and hilarious that I want more people to get to know him. No love for or knowledge of Wittgenstein is necessary.

Most people have no idea who Ludwig Wittgenstein was.  I’d guess that many of those familiar with the name probably have a shadowy notion that he is one of those Hard Writers, whose books – which the experts promise are brilliant – are best left untouched and unspoilt.

Well, this is not an attempt to explain Wittgenstein’s philosophy – whether that be Early Wittgenstein, Late Wittgenstein, or any Wittgensteins in-between.   I have absolutely no expertise on this. There are many books on how to understand Wittgenstein and I don’t even know enough about these to know which to recommend.

And this is not a creative work.  The vast majority of the work here was done by Wittgenstein himself, since most of the sentences are directly from him. A further vast amount of work was done by Ray Monk, whose biography of Wittgenstein is simply magnificent.  I have merely distilled it in an awkward fashion.

At times I have had to seam things together a little, but have resisted the almighty urge to make anything up. For example, Wittgenstein was at the same school as Hitler, and it would’ve been easy to fabricate some fight or such.  And I would’ve loved to drop in the odd anachronistic “OMG!” Yet the truth is stranger, more interesting, and more tweetable than fiction.

Both Ray Monk and (need I say?) Wittgenstein are unaffiliated with this project. My greatest wish is that that you read the books of them both.

Zeph Auerbach

Note 1: The picture of Wittgenstein was drawn by Lauren of chainbear.com.

Note 2: At the end of each tweet I have added the year and age of Wittgenstein at the time he either did, or could have said it. These should mostly be correct, at least to +/- 1 year, but I have left a * where unsure. Whatever the case, I would recommend against citing a fictitious Twitter feed in any scholarly work.

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