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10 Wittgenstein Quotes to Expand Your Philosophical Perspective

Explore the profound wisdom of Wittgenstein through his philosophical quotes. Discover the thoughts of one of the most famous philosophers and delve into the realm of existentialism with these insightful quotes.
by The Blinkist Team | Nov 6 2023

Ludwig Wittgenstein, a renowned philosopher of the 20th century, has left an indelible mark on the field of philosophy with his groundbreaking work. His influential book, “Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus,” written in 1921, continues to be relevant today as it delves into the nature of language, logic, and the limits of human understanding. Wittgenstein’s unique perspective challenges traditional philosophical thought and invites readers to question the very foundations of knowledge and communication.

If you’re looking to broaden your philosophical horizons, Ludwig Wittgenstein is a name you need to know. Considered one of the most influential philosophers of the 20th century, Wittgenstein’s ideas have had a profound impact on fields ranging from logic and language to ethics and metaphysics. In this article, we’ve compiled 10 of his most thought-provoking quotes that are sure to expand your philosophical perspective and challenge your thinking. So, get ready to delve into the mind of Wittgenstein and discover new insights into the nature of language, reality, and the limits of human understanding.

10 Wittgenstein Quotes That Will Make You Question Everything

If people did not sometimes do silly things, nothing intelligent would ever get done.

Ludwig Wittgenstein

This line emphasizes the importance of embracing our human nature and the occasional silliness that comes with it. It suggests that taking risks and stepping outside of our comfort zones can lead to innovative and intelligent outcomes. By acknowledging that even the most intelligent and accomplished individuals have made silly mistakes, we can learn to embrace our own imperfections and take bold actions that push boundaries and drive progress.

To convince someone of the truth, it is not enough to state it, but rather one must find the path from error to truth.

Ludwig Wittgenstein

This quote highlights the importance of effective communication and persuasion when it comes to conveying the truth. It suggests that simply stating the truth is not sufficient; instead, one must find a way to guide others from their mistaken beliefs to a place of understanding and acceptance. This quote emphasizes the need for patience, empathy, and logical reasoning in order to successfully convince someone of the truth. It reminds us that the journey from error to truth requires thoughtful navigation and skillful communication.

To believe in God is to see that life has a meaning.

Ludwig Wittgenstein

Ludwig Wittgenstein offers a philosophical insight into the concept of belief in God and its relationship to the meaning of life. This quote suggests that faith in a higher power allows individuals to perceive a deeper purpose or significance in their existence. It implies that belief in God provides a framework through which one can find meaning and understanding in the complexities of life. Wittgenstein’s quote encourages contemplation on the role of spirituality and its impact on our perception of the world.

We are asleep. Our Life is a dream. But we wake up sometimes, just enough to know that we are dreaming.

Ludwig Wittgenstein

This quote reminds us of the transient nature of life and the importance of self-awareness. It suggests that we often go through life in a state of unconsciousness, unaware of the true nature of our existence. However, there are moments when we awaken from this slumber, even if only briefly, and become aware that we are merely dreaming. This quote encourages us to strive for moments of awakening, to question our reality, and to seek a deeper understanding of ourselves and the world around us. It reminds us that there is more to life than what meets the eye and encourages us to live with a sense of curiosity and mindfulness.

Don’t look for the meanings; look for the use.

Ludwig Wittgenstein

This quote highlights the importance of practicality and action over theoretical analysis. It suggests that instead of getting caught up in the search for deep meanings and complex explanations, we should focus on how something can be used or applied in a practical sense. This quote encourages us to prioritize action and utility over overthinking and overanalyzing, reminding us that the true value of something lies in its usefulness and application in our lives.

What is thinkable is also possible.

Ludwig Wittgenstein

Once again, Ludwig Wittgenstein presents a thought-provoking idea about the nature of possibility and thought. This quote suggests that anything that can be conceived or imagined in our minds is also within the realm of possibility. It challenges us to expand our thinking and consider the vast range of potential outcomes and ideas that exist beyond what we may initially perceive as possible. Wittgenstein’s quote encourages us to explore the power of our thoughts and the limitless possibilities that can arise from them.

Logic pervades the world; the limits of the world are also the limits of logic.

Ludwig Wittgenstein

This quote, from Ludwig Wittgenstein’s work, emphasizes the pervasive nature of logic in our world. It suggests that the boundaries of our understanding and knowledge are defined by the limits of logical reasoning. Wittgenstein’s quote prompts us to consider the importance of logic in our lives and how it shapes our perception of reality. It reminds us that logic is not merely an abstract concept, but a fundamental aspect of our existence that influences our thoughts, actions, and interpretations of the world around us.

The real question of life after death isn’t whether or not it exists, but even if it does what problem this really solves.

Ludwig Wittgenstein

This line emphasizes the importance of questioning the concept of life after death. It challenges the notion that the existence of an afterlife is the ultimate solution to life’s problems. Instead, it prompts us to consider the practical implications and relevance of such a belief. By shifting the focus from the existence of an afterlife to the potential benefits it may bring, this quote encourages critical thinking and a deeper exploration of the true meaning and purpose of our lives.

Only describe, don’t explain.

Ludwig Wittgenstein

This quote emphasizes the power of observation and the art of storytelling. It suggests that instead of providing detailed explanations or interpretations, it is more impactful to simply describe and allow the audience to draw their own conclusions. By focusing on vivid and evocative descriptions, this quote encourages us to engage our senses and imagination, leaving room for individual interpretation and personal connection to the narrative. It reminds us of the beauty and richness that can be found in the act of observation and the power of leaving space for the audience to actively participate in the storytelling process.

I don’t know why we are here, but I’m pretty sure that it is not in order to enjoy ourselves.

Ludwig Wittgenstein

Wittgenstein offers a thought-provoking perspective on the purpose of human existence. His quote suggests that there is a deeper meaning to our presence in this world, one that goes beyond mere enjoyment. It challenges us to question the purpose and significance of our lives, urging us to seek a greater understanding and fulfillment. This quote serves as a reminder that life is not solely about pursuing pleasure, but rather about finding meaning, purpose, and perhaps even a sense of duty or responsibility. It encourages us to explore the deeper questions of our existence and to strive for a more profound understanding of our place in the world.

In conclusion, these ten Wittgenstein quotes have provided a glimpse into the profound and complex world of philosophy. They have challenged our thinking, expanded our perspectives, and encouraged us to question the very nature of language, reality, and human understanding. Wittgenstein’s ideas remind us that philosophy is not just an abstract discipline but a practical tool for navigating the complexities of life. So, let these quotes inspire you to continue exploring the depths of philosophical thought and to embrace the uncertainty and wonder that comes with it.


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