“A Genius or a Crank?”

Have you ever seen the obituary of Ludwig Wittgenstein written for Mind by Bertrand Russell?

Quite at first I was in doubt as to whether he was a man of genius or a crank…

While I was still doubtful as to his ability, I asked G. E. Moore for his opinion. Moore replied, ” I think very well of him indeed “. When I enquired the reason for his opinion, he said that it was because Wittgenstein was the only man who looked puzzled at his lectures.

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Brandon Beasley
10 years ago

Interesting how the line between genius and crank can seem quite a thin one…as if genius takes one to the very edge of sanity, with a great risk of falling right off the cliff.

That said, and though my philosophical inclinations might be showing, clearly Wittgenstein was a genius, as weird as he was.

10 years ago

I hadn’t heard the bit about Russell ‘pulling strings’ to get Wittgenstein released early. Does anyone know what that entailed? I’m guessing Russell had friends in the British government/civil service, and they contacted the Italians. But it’s really incredible, even for 1914, that someone in Britain could talk their personal friends out of a POW camp in another European power.