Transcending the World: Wittgenstein, God, and the Unsayable

Chapter

Abstract

“I know nothing of religion,” Wittgenstein once told his friend Heinrich Groag, “but there is surely something right in the concept of a God and of an after-life – only something quite different from what we are capable of imagining.” The remark is part of a comprehensive spiritual self-assessment or credo, at the end of which Wittgenstein has to acknowledge: “I don’t have a belief in a salvation through the death of Christ”. At the same time, he expresses the hope that he may come into a relation with God that will sustain him in his work, and continues to invoke God even in his late diaries and correspondence. This paper traces the development of Wittgenstein’s conception of God or ultimate reality from the time of his early Notebooks and the Tractatus to some of his last remarks on God in Culture & Value, so as to render more perspicuous his relation to traditional Christianity, on the one hand, and his attitude towards atheism or secular humanism, on the other.

Keywords

Religious Belief Diary Entry Ultimate Reality Religious Believer Eternal Life 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Political and Cultural StudiesSwansea UniversitySwanseaWales UK

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