Vision & Mission
To further Ludwig Wittgenstein’s legacy through Bildung and tangible presence of his ideas.
Who we are
The Wittgenstein Initiative is a Vienna-based intellectual forum that aims to reintroduce Ludwig Wittgenstein as one of Vienna’s singular cultural phenomena. Wittgenstein not only transformed philosophy twice ̶ he also made obvious the connection between the philosopher’s search for truth and one’s own personal life. We believe, as Wittgenstein did, that truthfulness and rigorous thinking are a vital part of everyday life and capable of impacting contemporary society: its people, its institutions, and its future. But we do not limit our focus to Wittgenstein alone; we also promote those quintessentially Viennese thinkers whose visions were put forward in the hope of effecting real change: Karl Kraus, Adolf Loos, Sigmund Freud, Friedrich von Hayek, Arnold Schönberg, and others.
We look to past interactions for insight on how to make a strong and socially responsible contribution to today's society.
What we do
The Wittgenstein Initiative
- brings internationally renowned thinkers, writers, and artists to Vienna for public events such as lectures, discussion panels, and exhibitions;
- assists and promotes visibility of Wittgenstein's and his contemporaries' Nachlass and their culture in Austria and abroad;
- mobilizes leading national and international cultural institutions;
- and provides an intellectual forum for society at large.
We fulfil a real need for change in the intellectual landscape through Bildung and dialogue in Vienna.
Some immediate goals
- building a community through events and public relations campaigns in Austria and abroad in order to integrate Ludwig Wittgenstein’s legacy into the public consciousness;
- creating an universal online platform with open access to all Wittgenstein and related sources worldwide (Cambridge, Bergen, Innsbruck, etc.);
- securing a budget for a minimum of three consecutive one-year periods; and
- establishing a permanent home in Vienna with office, library/archive, and event space.
Vision for the future: bringing Wittgenstein home
The Wittgenstein Initiative envisions a future where Wittgenstein has been reclaimed for Vienna and Vienna for Wittgenstein. While figures such as Sigmund Freud and Arnold Schönberg have been fully acknowledged, Vienna has yet to recognize the contributions of the most important philosopher of the 20th century, whose work is inextricably tied to his city of birth. We are in a unique position to establish Vienna as the city of prime importance for Wittgenstein the human being and Wittgenstein the philosopher: not only to show the world the importance of Wittgenstein’s Vienna, but also to demonstrate that he was, in a very important sense, Vienna’s Wittgenstein.
The Wittgenstein Initiative is a private, independent, non-profit association. It is financed through membership fees, sponsorship, revenues from events and donations.