Wittgenstein (1993) Poster


Michael Gough: Bertrand Russell



  • Bertrand Russell : Why won't you just admit there's no rhinoceros in this room?

    Ludwig Wittgenstein : Because, Professor Russell, the world is made up of facts, not things.

    Bertrand Russell : Look for yourself.

    [looking under table] 

    Bertrand Russell : I tell you for a fact, there is no rhinoceros in this room!

    Ludwig Wittgenstein : The issue is metaphysical, not empirical.

    Bertrand Russell : I thought the next big step in philosophy would be yours. Now, I am not so sure.

  • Ludwig Wittgenstein : It makes no sense to speak of knowing something in a context where we could not possibly doubt it, therefore to say "I know I am in pain" is entirely senseless. When you want to know the meaning of a word, don't look inside yourself, look at the uses of the word in our way of life. Look at how we behave.

    Bertrand Russell : Are you saying there are no philosophical problems?

    Ludwig Wittgenstein : There are... linguistic, mathematical, ethical, logistic and religious problems, but there are no genuine philosophical problems!

    Bertrand Russell : You're trivialising philosophy.

    Ludwig Wittgenstein : Philosophy is just a by-product of misunderstanding language! Why don't you realise that?

  • Ludwig Wittgenstein : [performing a V-sign with his fingers]  What does this mean?

    Lady Ottoline Morrell : It's a gesture of contempt.

    Ludwig Wittgenstein : A cyclist did this to me as I was crossing the road. I decided then and there to kill myself.

    Lady Ottoline Morrell : Are you coming to the Palladium with us this evening?

    Ludwig Wittgenstein : What's the logical structure of this gesture? It doesn't have one! That means I've spent most of my life groping down a blind alley.

    Bertrand Russell : Isn't it rather an over-reaction to kill yourself because somebody gives you a V-sign?

    Ludwig Wittgenstein : Philosophy hunts for the essence of meaning. There's no such thing. There's no such thing! Just the way we do things in everyday life and things like that.

    [performing V-sign] 

    Ludwig Wittgenstein : The college porter knows that.

    Lady Ottoline Morrell : Is that what you're planning to do for the rest of your life?

    Ludwig Wittgenstein : I shall start by committing suicide.

    Bertrand Russell : Champagne before you go?

    Ludwig Wittgenstein : Um, do you know... I'd love a cup of tea.

  • Ludwig Wittgenstein : I used to believe that language gave us a picture of the world. But it can't give us a picture of how it does that. That would be like trying to see yourself seeing something. How language does that is beyond expression. That is the mystery. That was all wrong. Language isn't a picture at all.

    Bertrand Russell : What is it, then?

    Ludwig Wittgenstein : It's... a tool. An instrument. There isn't just one picture of the world, there are lots of different language games, different forms of life, different ways of doing things with words. They don't all hang together!

    Bertrand Russell : What do you mean?

    Ludwig Wittgenstein : All I mean is the limits of my language are the limits of my world. We keep running up against the walls of our cage.

  • Ludwig Wittgenstein : You've been reading Sigmund Freud.

    Bertrand Russell : What of it?

    Ludwig Wittgenstein : It's dangerous stuff. Believe me, it takes one Viennese to know another.

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