Mach, Wittgenstein, Science and Logic

  • John PrestonEmail author
Part of the Vienna Circle Institute Yearbook book series (VCIY, volume 22)


The received view is that Ernst Mach should not be counted as among the important influences on Ludwig Wittgenstein’s philosophical thought. Recently, though, some affinities between their works have been brought to light, and two scholars, Henk Visser and Jaakko Hintikka, have gone beyond this to claim that Wittgenstein took specific and important philosophical ideas about science and logic from Mach. These claims have not been addressed by Wittgenstein scholars, but they do deserve attention. I argue that strong and general claims of positive influence are false, and also that Mach’s influence was not, pace Visser, on the most important aspects of Wittgenstein’s philosophy. But a more accurate picture of the Mach-Wittgenstein relationship will be an ambivalent one, and the received view is untenable.


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PhilosophyThe University of ReadingReadingUK

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