Sunday, November 6, 2011

[Resources] Ludwig Wittgenstein

Ludwig Wittgenstein (1889 - 1951) was a world famous philosopher who inspired two philosophical movements, wrote a children's dictionary, a 75 page text on philosophy and another book published posthumously.

Born of a wealthy Austrian family, he went to grade school with Adolf Hitler (they were born a week apart), fought in WWI, studied at Cambridge, was in Ireland during the Anschluss, and held a chair of philosophy at Cambridge.

His Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus, published in 1921, sought to "identify the relationship between language and reality and to define the limits of science" as a result of his experiences in WWI. Over 75 pages, he presents 7 propositions, which range from "The world is everything that is the case." to "Whereof one cannot speak, thereof one must be silent."

Two years after his death, his second book, Philosophical Investigations was published, considered by many an important philosophical work. It includes the beetle-in-a-box thought experiment: each person has something they call a "beetle" in a box and no one can look in anyone else's box. Without a common point of reference, it's impossible to talk about what a "beetle" is, but with one, it's possible to discuss.

How can Ludwig be used in a game? Just a few to consider: Perhaps as the author of a hidden mystery book (after all, there was roughly 30 years between his philosophical works) in a modern Cthulhu-esque game, or a contact in a WWII Cambridge espionage campaign.

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