I’ve been reading a few books from the ‘Introducing … A Graphics Guide’ series the past several weeks. They’ve been surprisingly good, and this one is no exception. Over the years I’ve read quite a bit of Wittgenstein (Foundations of Mathematics, Philosophical Investigations, On Certainty, and the Blue and Brown books), but knew next to nothing of Wittgenstein’s life and (ironically) next to nothing of his personal view of life. This little book filled in those gaps.
Wittgenstein is a deceptively difficult philosopher. When you read Philosophical Investigations, for example, you’re faced with a lot of aphorisms and seemingly simple questions. You have an idea that he’s aiming at something, and that you might be expected to ‘get’ it, but the main point always seems just out of reach. Or at least that was so for me - your mileage may vary. But one thing that comes across in everything I’ve read by Wittgenstein makes one thing very clear: he had an extraordinary ability to identify mental laziness and habits of thought that lead us to make unwarranted assumptions.
This book helps show some of the things that Wittgenstein was getting at. And it includes a brief bibliography at the end if you want more detail (including a reference to a 4 volume 2000 page analysis of Philosophical Investigations!).