There are many places on the Web to find biographical information about Wittgenstein. For a site with much to offer in this regard, click here. Also, see my Links page for other biographical sites on Wittgenstein.
Investigations is perhaps
the most influential single book of philosophy in the 20th century. It is not,
however, a book that reads like most 20th century philosophy books.
Wittgenstein's style is aphoristic and oracular, a kind of 20th century
Heraclitus, if Heraclitus had read Frege and Russell
and Moore (not to mention the early Wittgenstein!) Like Heraclitus, Wittgenstein's work is not
"sophisticated" in the sense of employing big words and detailed
arguments. Indeed, anyone can read PI
without feeling as if s/he has entered a bizarre, inhumane realm of
thought. This is something that cannot
always be said of philosophical books and articles.
However, beginners will often be unable to make heads or tails of Wittgenstein's points or arguments (yes, there are indeed arguments in PI) because doing so requires an acquaintance with a variety of philosophical positions which Wittgenstein is trying to topple, like a house of cards. Surprisingly, Wittgenstein's masterpiece is at many points attacking a variety of ideas that he presented in his first book, Tractatus logico-philosophicus. However, in both books, the concern is with language, logic, mind, and world.
modified October 5, 2012
Dept. of Philosophy