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Logisch-philosophische abhandlung.
Verlag Unesma, Leipzig 1921 - Exceedingly rare first edition, and a remarkably fine copy, of the book later published as the Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus (1922) – arguably the most important philosophical work of the twentieth century, and the only book by Wittgenstein published in his lifetime. "The Tractatus is a comprehensive work of extreme originality" (Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Vol. 8, p. 329). Only two copies have appeared at auction since 1975. Following engineering studies at Linz, Berlin and Manchester, "Wittgenstein’s interest began to shift to pure mathematics and then to the philosophical foundations of mathematics. He chanced upon Bertrand Russell’s Principles of Mathematics and was greatly excited by it. He decided to give up engineering and to study with Russell at Cambridge. At the beginning of 1912 he was admitted to Trinity College, where he remained for the three terms of 1912 and the first two terms of 1913. Under Russell’s supervision he applied himself intensively to logical studies and made astonishing progress. Soon he was engaged in the research that culminated in the logical ideas of the Tractatus (ibid., p. 327). "When war broke out Wittgenstein entered the Austrian army as a volunteer During these years he continued to work at his book, writing down his philosophical thoughts in notebooks that he carried with him in his rucksack. He completed the book in August 1918" (ibid., p. 328). "Upon the collapse of the Austro-Hungarian army in November 1918, he was taken prisoner by the Italians. It was not until August of the following year that he could return to Austria. During the major part of his captivity, he was in a prison camp near Monte Cassino in south Italy. When Wittgenstein was captured he had in his rucksack the manuscript of his Logisch-philosophische Abhandlung . While still in captivity he got in touch with Russell by letter and was able to send the manuscript to him, thanks to the aid of one of his friends of the Cambridge years, Keynes. He also sent Frege a copy’ (G.H. von Wright, ‘Ludwig Wittgenstein, A Biographical Sketch’, The Philosophical Review, Vol. 64, No. 4, pp. 527-545). After his return to Vienna, in August 1919, Wittgenstein immediately started trying to find a publisher, but his attempts were repeatedly frustrated until Russell offered to write an introduction to the work as an incentive to reassure publishers wary of the work’s potential profitability. The following May "Wittgenstein wrote to Russell that the introduction contained much misunderstanding. In 1921 Russell persuaded the editor C.K. Ogden to publish an English translation in the Kegan Paul series The International Library of Psychology, Philosophy and Scientific Method; in tandem with Russell, his friend Dorothy Wrinch was independently searching for a publisher. Following a rejection from the Cambridge University Press, she contacted three German journals, including Wilhelm Ostwald’s Annalen der Naturphilosophie. The only acceptance she received was from Ostwald, who replied to Wrinch that he would publish the work because of Russell’s introduction (which appears in German on pp. 186-198 of the present copy); as Ostwald wrote to Wrinch, ‘in any other case I should have declined to accept the article’ (R. Monk, Ludwig Wittgenstein, the Duty of Genius (1990), p. 203). Wittgenstein (who never saw proofs of the work) evidently foresaw problems prior to publication, as his letter to Russell of 28 November 1921 makes clear: ‘Wenn auch Ostwald ein Erzscharlatan ist! Wenn er es nur nicht verstummelt! Liest Du die korrekturen? Dann bitte sei so lieb und gib acht, dass er es genau so druckt, wie es bei mir steht. Ich traue dem Ostwald zu, dass er die Arbeit nach seinem Geschmack, etwa nach seiner blodsinnigen Orthographie, verandert’ (B. McGuiness & G.H. von Wright (eds.), Ludwig Wittgenstein: Cambridge Letters (1996), p. 172). When the book finally appeared, his fears were fully justified. The text that appeared in Annalen der Naturphilosophi [Attributes: First Edition]
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Last Found On: 2014-12-26           Check availability:      AbeBooks    

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