On the Trail of Wittgenstein

In 1999 I spent a few days at Cambridge doing research on Wittgenstein at the Wren Library of Trinity College.  I visited his grave at St. Giles Cemetery (now known as Ascension Parish Burial Ground). 

When Wittgenstein lived in college rooms it was almost always in Whewell's Court at the top of the tower.  Whewell's Court is not open to the public, but I was able to sneak through the gate and get a picture.  

From Cambridge we went on to Vienna, where I saw the house that Wittgenstein helped to design in 1927.  It is now owned by the Bulgarian Embassy and it houses their Cultural Department.

In 2009 I went to the Wittgenstein conference in Kirchberg, Austria.  While there we visited Otterthal, where Wittgenstein had lived and taught in 1924, and saw the bed that he had used.

In 2012 I spent a month in Bergen. Norway, and Helsinki, Finland.  At the von Wright and Wittgenstein Archive in Helsinki Bernt Österman showed me Wittgenstein's walking stick and kerchief.  (The typewriter was von Wright's.)  

In 2016 I returned to Cambridge for a conference celebrating von Wright's centenial.  This time I had an inside connection.  Matt Dougherty got his MA in Philosophy at VT and was now doing a PhD at Cambridge.  He got me some places I wouldn't have gotten otherwise.  Here we are standing outside Wittgenstein's door, K-10, in Whewell's Court.

And I was also able to see the plaque honoring Wittgenstein in Trinity Chapel.  It needed some polishing,

In English it reads: 

Fellow of this College and for eight years Professor of Philosophy in the University, Ludwig Wittgenstein pioneered for many a new way of philosophical thinking. He realised and gave examples to show that reason should be freed from the snares of language, and that in this way the true nature of the world could be understood with increasing clarity. He devoted himself to seeking out the truth with extraordinary strength of purpose. He died in 1951 at the age of sixty-two.

Recently I have been in contact with John Hayes, who has researched Wittgenstein's time in Ireland.  He let me know about this painting of the cottage where Wittgenstein lived in Connemara in 1948.  This painting was done by Peg Smythies in the early 1960's.  She later married Rush Rhees.  The cottage eventually had its straw roof replaced and was used for a time as a student hostel.  Apparently it is now in disrepair.  

Of course, my closest connection with Wittgenstein is with his writings.  Here is my collection of his books (and secondary literature).

And here are the books that are too big to fit in the regular shelves in my office.

Recently after considerable archival work my friend Matt Winters found an old photo of Wittgenstein and me.  I had forgotten about it altogether!  Another friend, Susan Sterrett, commented that there seemed something not quite Wright about the photo.  Decide for yourself: