Synopses & Reviews
For several terms at Cambridge in 1939, Ludwig Wittgenstein lectured on the philosophical foundations of mathematics. A lecture class taught by Wittgenstein, however, hardly resembled a lecture.
He sat on a chair in the middle of the room, with some of the class sitting in chairs, some on the floor. He never used notes. He paused frequently, sometimes for several minutes, while he puzzled out a problem. He often asked his listeners questions and reacted to their replies. Many meetings were largely conversation.
These lectures were attended by, among others, D. A. T. Gasking, J. N. Findlay, Stephen Toulmin, Alan Turing, G. H. von Wright, R. G. Bosanquet, Norman Malcolm, Rush Rhees, and Yorick Smythies. Notes taken by these last four are the basis for the thirty-one lectures in this book.
The lectures covered such topics as the nature of mathematics, the distinctions between mathematical and everyday languages, the truth of mathematical propositions, consistency and contradiction in formal systems, the logicism of Frege and Russell, Platonism, identity, negation, and necessary truth. The mathematical examples used are nearly always elementary.
Synopsis
From his return to Cambridge in 1929 to his death in 1951, Wittgenstein influenced philosophy almost exclusively through teaching and discussion. These lecture notes indicate what he considered to be salient features of his thinking in this period of his life.
Description
Includes bibliographical references.
About the Author
Ludwig Wittgenstein (1889-1951) was arguably the most influential philosopher of the twentieth century. He was born in Vienna, but studied and practiced philosophy in Great Britain. He was a professor of philosophy at the University of Cambridge from 1939 until 1947. He worked in—and transformed—the fields of logic, the philosophy of mathematics, the philosophy of mind, and the philosophy of language.
Table of Contents
Preface
The Lectures, I-XXXI
Index