In The Hague (1919)
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This chapter explores the imaginative work of the most influential philosophers of the twentieth century, Ludwig Wittgenstein, and the roots of his monumental Tractatus. In November 1919 Einstein's Special Theory – that gravity distorts space so that the planets do not follow the simple orbits described by Newton – was confirmed by the Cambridge astronomer Arthur Eddington. In December, Russell and Wittgenstein would meet in The Hague for a week, to discuss the publication of Ludwig's book. The situation in The Hague was perhaps not fair for the upper-class, middle-aged Englishman. After all, he had started off Wittgenstein in philosophy and gave important starting-points for the Tractatus. Far from originating in Wittgenstein's Tractatus, the idea of regarding language, symbolism and media of expression of all kinds, as giving us "representations" or "pictures", had by 1910 become a commonplace in all fields of Viennese cultural debate.