Ludwig Wittgenstein (Vienna, 1889 – 1951) was an Austrian mathematician, linguist, philosopher and writer. Wittgenstein’s work is considered one of the most prolific and significant in the world of philosophy, mainly in the field of linguistics and communication.

One of his main essays, Tractatus lógico-philosophicus, gathers some of the theories that most influenced the members of the Vienna Circle .

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Famous phrases of Ludwig Wittgenstein

Bertrand Russell’s Wittgenstein at Trinity College, Cambridge University. His family environment favoured his intellectual and cultural development, to the point that he was considered by most scholars as one of the leading thinkers of the 20th century.

In this article we will know the best sentences of Ludwig Wittgenstein , as well as some extracts from his books that can be considered as famous quotes of the pioneer of analytical philosophy.

1. If Christianity is the truth, every philosophy about it is false.

On Western religion and its disagreement with it.

2. The way you use the word “God” does not show who you are thinking about, but what you are thinking about.

An example of how we use language in a self-referential way.

3. Wisdom has no passions. Kierkegaard calls faith, on the contrary, a passion.

About beliefs, recalling the vision of another famous philosopher.

4. What do you care? Make it your business to be your best! The way you are, you can’t even understand what the truth might be here.

A phrase from Wittgenstein that brings us closer to self-discovery.

5. Religion says: Do this! Think like this! But it cannot give a reason for it, and when it tries to repel it; for for every reason it gives, there is a solid counter-reason. It would be more convincing to say: “Think like that, however strange it may seem to you. Or: “Wouldn’t you like to do this?”

In this case it speaks to us about the fragility of the argument of religious dogmas.

6. Tell them my life was wonderful.

Shortly before his death, Wittgenstein uttered this phrase to his doctor.

7. Philosophy is a struggle against the bewitchment of our intelligence through the use of language.

One of those philosophical quotes that can leave you thinking for hours.

8. Revolutionary will be he who can revolutionize himself.

It doesn’t help to want to change the environment. The main thing is to change ourselves.

9. We feel that even when all possible scientific questions have been answered, our vital problems have not yet come close to being solved. Of course, then there is no question left; and this is precisely the answer.

An extract from his main work, Tractatus lógico-philosophicus.

10. What you can’t talk about, you have to shut up.

Plain and simple.

11. The ineffable (that which seems mysterious to me and which I do not dare to express) perhaps provides the background against which what I could express acquires meaning.

We always converse from prudence, but the unexpressible slips into the confines of what we express between the lines.

12. That all wisdom is cold and that with it it is as difficult to order life as it is to forge cold iron.

Pure knowledge is no guarantee of happiness.

13. Wisdom is gray. Life and religion, on the other hand, are multicoloured.

In line with the previous famous quote.

14. The Christian religion is only for those who need infinite help, that is, for those who feel infinite anguish.

Another of his judgments in which he questions the need to believe in a religion.

15. We feel that even when all possible scientific questions have been answered, our vital problems have not yet come close to being solved. Of course, then there is no question left; and this is precisely the answer.

Putting science before the expression of life, in this famous paradox.

16. We do not realize the prodigious diversity of everyday language games because the outer covering of our language makes everything look the same.

On the complexity of communicative forms.

17. The meaning of the world has to reside outside it and, in addition, outside meaningful language.

Another philosophical phrase of Wittgenstein in which he exposes his thought about language and existence.

18. A proposition can only say what a thing is, but not what it is.

Reflection still studied in the faculties of communication and in the field of linguistics.

19. The architecture exalts something. Therefore, where there is nothing to exalt, there can be no architecture.

Curious vision about the function of architecture.

20. The limits of my language are the limits of my world.

Perhaps Wittgenstein’s most famous phrase, in which a large part of his theoretical postulates are synthesized.

21. Death is not a life event. Death is not lived. If by eternity one understands not an infinite temporal duration, but timelessness, then he who lives in the present lives eternally.

Great reflection on the limits of existence.

22. Don’t play with someone else’s depths!

You have to be careful to discover the feelings of others.

23. Our civilization is characterized by the word “progress”. Progress is its form, not one of its qualities, progress. It is typically constructive. Its activity is to build a product that is increasingly complicated. And even clarity serves this end; it is not an end in itself. For me, on the contrary, clarity, transparency, is an end in itself.

Theorizing about the development of civilization.

24. The correct method of philosophy would be properly this: to say nothing but what can be said, that is, propositions of natural science, that is, something that has nothing to do with philosophy, and then, as often as someone would like to say something metaphysical, to prove to him that in his propositions he had not given meaning to certain signs. This method would be unsatisfactory to him, but it would be the only strictly correct one.

In short, we need to interpret observable (natural) events in order to give meaning to everything around us.

25. Our words only express facts, just as a cup of tea can only contain the volume of water proper to a cup of tea even if a litre is poured into it.

A great metaphor that exemplifies his vision of the linguistic environment.