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The Influence of Einstein on Wittgenstein's Philosophy

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Abstract:

Abstract

On the basis of historical and textual evidence, this paper claims that (i) after his Tractatus, Wittgenstein was actually influenced by Einstein's theory of relativity and, (ii) the similarity of Einstein's relativity theory helps to illuminate some aspects of Wittgenstein's work. These claims find support in remarkable quotations where Wittgenstein speaks approvingly of Einstein's relativity theory and in the way these quotations are embedded in Wittgenstein's texts. The profound connection between Wittgenstein and relativity theory concerns not only Wittgenstein's “verificationist” phase (more closely connected with Schlick's work), but also Wittgenstein's later philosophy centred on the theme of rule-following.

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-9205.2010.01415.x

Publication date: 2010-10-01

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