Ludwig Wittgenstein: The Duty of Genius

Ray Monk, Author Free Press $29.95 (654p) ISBN 978-0-02-921670-5
Wittgenstein the philosopher and Wittgenstein the man have generated two largely separate industries. In a full-scale biography of him, British philosopher Monk tries to show that this possibly acutest and most influential mind of the century and the obsessional personality were one, driven by spiritual as much as by intellectual concerns. Wittgenstein (1889-1951) was born into one of the wealthiest families in Austria but gave away his entire inheritance; he fought in WW I, was Bertrand Russell's protege and then his master, became a reluctant Cambridge don who exchanged academia for solitude whenever possible and was drawn to younger men with brilliant minds. With access to Wittgenstein's papers, as well as to his friends, Monk has done an excellent job of elucidating the twin journeys of an extraordinary mind and soul, though it's not likely his insights into Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus and Philosophical Investigations will tempt many to do more than dip their feet in those decidedly choppy waters. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 10/01/1990
Release date: 10/01/1990
Paperback - 704 pages - 978-0-14-015995-0
Open Ebook - 704 pages - 978-1-4481-1267-8
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