Ludwig Wittgenstein

Photographed by Ben Richards, Swansea, Wales, 1947










Moore’s Cambridge Lecture Notes 1930 – 1933

This edition of G. E. Moore’s notes taken at Wittgenstein’s seminal Cambridge lectures in the early 1930s provides, for the first time, an almost verbatim record of those classes. The presentation of the notes is both accessible and faithful to their original manuscripts, and a comprehensive introduction and synoptic table of contents provide the reader with essential contextual information and summaries of the topics in each lecture.

The lectures form an excellent introduction to Wittgenstein’s middle-period thought, covering a broad range of philosophical topics, ranging from core questions in the philosophy of language, mind, logic, and mathematics, to illuminating discussions of subjects on which Wittgenstein says very little elsewhere, including ethics, religion, aesthetics, psychoanalysis, and anthropology.

The volume also includes a 1932 essay by Moore critiquing Wittgenstein’s conception of grammar, together with Wittgenstein’s response. A companion website offers access to images of the entire set of source manuscripts.

Previously unpublished notes 1938 – 1941

Previously unpublished notes taken by Yorick Smithies at lectures by Ludwig Wittgenstein between 1938 and 1941 at Cambridge University will be published later this year, according to a press release from the Austrian Science Fund FWF.

The notes have been edited and organized by Volker Munz (University of Klagenfurt, Carinthia) and his assistant, Bernhard Ritter.

The notes consist of “2000 typescripts”, which Munz and Ritter formatted and edited, adding introductions, dates, and references, and will be published as “The Whewell’s Court Lectures, Cambridge 1938 – 1941” by Wiley-Blackwell.

From the press release:

“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.”

Digital Wittgenstein Scholarship



Portraits of Wittgenstein

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 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 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 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.

Volume I
Editors’ Prefaces
Part I
1. Context, Family and Early Years
2. Cambridge, Iceland and Norway
Part II
3. The First World War
4. Wittgenstein and Homosexuality
5. Elementary School Teacher and Architect
6. Wittgenstein and the Vienna Circle

Volume II
Part III
7. Return to Cambridge
Part IV
8. The Second World War
9. Last Years as Professor of Philosophy
10. Wittgenstein and Ireland
Part V
11. Last Years
12. Assessments of the Man and the Philosopher
Notes on Contributors

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‘Wittgenstein and natural religion’ by Gordon Graham

Gordon Graham presents a radically innovative study of Wittgenstein’s philosophy, in relation to the age-old impulse to connect ordinary human life with the transcendent reality of God.

He offers an account of its relevance to the study of religion that is completely different to the standard version of ‘Wittgensteinian philosophy of religion’ expounded by both its adherents and critics.

Drawing of Ludwig Wittgenstein by Christiaan Tonnis. CC BY-SA 2.0 via

Wittgenstein Archive Bergen

The Wittgenstein Archive at the University of Bergen (WAB) is a research infrastructure and project platform bringing together philosophy, editorial philology and text technology. It is a meeting place for scholars and students from many different research fields and geographical areas around the world.

WAB is probably best known for the publication of «Wittgenstein’s Nachlass. The Bergen Electronic Edition» (BEE, Oxford University Press 2000). This edition contains all the manuscripts of Wittgenstein’s Nachlass on six CDs in facsimiles and both normalized and diplomatic versions. The edition is equipped with a range of search and analysis functions.

WAB and Trinity College Cambridge are producing a new digital facsimile of the Wittgenstein manuscripts and typescripts kept at the Wren Library. The project has been planned for some considerable time, and is made possible through a partnership between Trinity College Cambridge, the University of Bergen and the Stanhill Foundation. The facsimile will be published Open Access on WAB’s Wittgenstein Source.

Wittgenstein Archive Cambridge

The Wittgenstein Archive in Cambridge is dedicated to the study and publication of all aspects of Wittgenstein’s work. The Archive houses facsimiles of all his manuscripts (most of the originals are in the Wren Library of Trinity College, two manuscripts are in the Bodleian Library in Oxford, and the rest are in the Austrian National Library in Vienna).

The Archive also contains the largest extant collection of original biographical material, altogether some 10,000 items, mostly photographs and letters, which over the years have served as the basis for many books, exhibitions and films on Wittgenstein.

The Archive itself is funded mainly by the city of Vienna, Referat MA18 Wissenschafts- und Forschungsförderung, the ‘Jubiläumsfonds’ of the Austrian National Bank and by private donations.

‘In Our Time: Wittgenstein’ by Melvyn Bragg, BBC4

‘In Our Time: Wittgenstein’


Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the life, work and legacy of Ludwig Wittgenstein. There is little doubt that he was a towering figure of the twentieth century; on his return to Cambridge in 1929 Maynard Keynes wrote, “Well, God has arrived. I met him on the 5:15 train”.


With Ray Monk, Professor of Philosophy at the University of Southampton and author of Ludwig Wittgenstein: The Duty of Genius; Barry Smith, Lecturer in Philosophy at Birkbeck, University of London; Marie McGinn, Senior Lecturer in Philosophy at the University of York.