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Wittgenstein's Vienna (1973)

by Allan Janik, Stephen Toulmin, Stephen Toulmin

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479136,890 (4.11)2
This is a remarkable book about a man (perhaps the most important and original philosopher of our age), a society (the corrupt Austro-Hungarian Empire on the eve of dissolution), and a city (Vienna, with its fin-de si cle gaiety and corrosive melancholy). The central figure in this study of a crumbling society that gave birth to the modern world is Wittgenstein, the brilliant and gifted young thinker. With others, including Freud, Viktor Adler, and Arnold Schoenberg, he forged his ideas in a classical revolt against the stuffy, doomed, and moralistic lives of the old regime. As a portrait of Wittgenstein, the book is superbly realized; it is even better as a portrait of the age, with dazzling and unusual parallels to our own confused society. "Allan Janik and Stephen Toulmin have acted on a striking premise: an understanding of prewar Vienna, Wittgenstein's native city, will make it easier to comprehend both his work and our own problems....This is an independent work containing much that is challenging, new, and useful."--New York Times Book Review.… (more)

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» See also 2 mentions

Not really a review, but this book proved to me that I have two degrees of separation from Wittgenstein and three from Adolf Hitler! I used to work for a man called Matthew Toulmin, who was co-author Professor Stephen Toulmin's son; and Professor Toulmin worked with Wittgenstein when he went to America after the war! (And as there is evidence that Wittgenstein attended the same school as Hitler, that's where I get that connection...)
1 vote | RobertDay | Sep 7, 2008 |
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» Add other authors (20 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Allan Janikprimary authorall editionscalculated
Toulmin, Stephenmain authorall editionsconfirmed
Toulmin, Stephenmain authorall editionsconfirmed

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Preface:  Ludwig Wittgenstein is best known for his two major philosophical books, the Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus, published just after World War I, and the Philosophical Investigations, on which he was still working at the time of his death in 1951.
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This is a remarkable book about a man (perhaps the most important and original philosopher of our age), a society (the corrupt Austro-Hungarian Empire on the eve of dissolution), and a city (Vienna, with its fin-de si cle gaiety and corrosive melancholy). The central figure in this study of a crumbling society that gave birth to the modern world is Wittgenstein, the brilliant and gifted young thinker. With others, including Freud, Viktor Adler, and Arnold Schoenberg, he forged his ideas in a classical revolt against the stuffy, doomed, and moralistic lives of the old regime. As a portrait of Wittgenstein, the book is superbly realized; it is even better as a portrait of the age, with dazzling and unusual parallels to our own confused society. "Allan Janik and Stephen Toulmin have acted on a striking premise: an understanding of prewar Vienna, Wittgenstein's native city, will make it easier to comprehend both his work and our own problems....This is an independent work containing much that is challenging, new, and useful."--New York Times Book Review.

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