Wittgenstein Archives at the University of Bergen (WAB): Open Access to transcriptions of the Wittgenstein Nachlass
On his death in 1951, the Austrian-British philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein left behind a significant volume of some 20,000 pages which were written between 1913 and 1951. This Nachlass contains Wittgenstein's unpublished philosophical notebooks, manuscripts, typescripts and dictations. At the time of Wittgenstein's death this body of work was largely unknown. In his will Wittgenstein appointed three literary heirs - Rush Rhees, Elizabeth Anscombe and Georg Henrik von Wright - to publish from the Nachlass as they thought fit. This leads to fascinating questions about the content of Wittgenstein's philosophy and how its perception was affected by the literary heirs' editorial work in bringing the content to a wider public through publication such as
At first you may simply want to access, read and search the Nachlass items. But then you may also want to make use of our "Interactive Dynamic Presentation" mode and combine diplomatic and normalized parameters. You can apply a selection of filters and presentation modes and, for example, filter the Nachlass texts according to Wittgenstein's "section marks" ("Randzeichen"), include or omit the section marks themselves, include or omit handwritten revisions in typescripts, or order the remarks of a text chronologically. It is this feature which lets you toggle filters and presentation modes that we call interactive dynamic presentation.
In order to access our transcriptions, simply use the drop-down menu under "Select a Wittgenstein Nachlass item" below and pick one of the Ms/Ts items on the list. The single items bear the numbers they were given by Georg Henrik Wright in his Nachlass catalogue "The Wittgenstein papers" (1969).
Most Wittgenstein scholars will already be familiar with some of the Nachlass texts from the earlier publications produced by the heirs, or also from Wittgenstein's own publication of the Logisch-philosophische Abhandlung / Tractatus logico-philosophicus (1921/22). Whenever an item or even only a part of an item is published in one of these publications, this is indicated in the list after the dating of the item. Parts of Ms-110, for example, are published in the Remarks on Frazer's 'Golden Bough'. Publications in Culture and Value, however, are not indicated since this would have made the list cumbersome. For detailed information about publication sources, see Pichler's catalogue in Biggs & Pichler 1993 or use the "Published in" facet on our site for semantic faceted search and browsing of Wittgenstein metadata. Regarding the datings of the items, note that these are estimated where Wittgenstein did not himself provide a date; for arriving at these estimates we have often consulted the editorial introductions to the editions of Wittgenstein's "works" and publications by G.H. von Wright, L. Bazzocchi, S. Edwards-McKie, A. Gibson, St. Hilmy, P. Keicher, J. Klagge, H.W. Krueger, B. McGuinness, R. Monk, M. Nedo, A. Pichler, M. Pilch, R. Rhees, B. Rogers, M. Rosso, J. Rothhaupt, A. Schmidt, J. Schulte, J. Smith, D. Stern, N. Venturinha, P.K. Westergaard, K. van Gennip. Also note that the dating of the typescripts refers to the typed text and not to later revisions. It must be generally remembered that the dating always refers to the first writing / composition of an item, not to later changes therein or thereof.
Note that not all technical features are fully operational, including hyperlinks to Wittgenstein Source where the facsimile linked to is not yet available on the Wittgenstein Source site. Equally note that different browsers may render the same HTML content differently or even faultily. We have noticed that especially Internet Explorer does not consistently display format features, e.g. underlining. Also note that the transcriptions may contain mistakes and that the dating of a number of individual remarks as well as many renderings of graphics and logical / mathematical notation need correction and improvement. While global corrections and improvements are continuously being carried out for all items, items marked in the list with a plus (e.g. Ms-105+) have undergone focused proofreading of the normalized version since the publication of the
This site had a precursor in the Using XML to generate research tools for Wittgenstein scholars by collaborative groupwork project (2002-03) where interactive dynamic presentation was applied to a part of Ms-101. With the Discovery (2006-09) and COST Action A32 (2006-10) projects, further items amounting to approx. 5000 pages were included; these items constituted the beginning of Wittgenstein Source. Since May 27, 2016, the site offers access to all of WAB's transcriptions of the Wittgenstein Nachlass, always with the most recent corrections and improvements included. An important part of the programming for the site was produced within the Norwegian Clarino project. For the site's maintenance and further development, WAB cooperates with the Section for Digital Services at the University of Bergen University Library.
The texts are made available by permission of The Master and Fellows of Trinity College, Cambridge and the University of Bergen, Bergen, and in agreement with Oxford University Press with whom WAB cooperates towards producing a new
We are grateful for any communication of transcription and other mistakes. If you are interested in the underlying XML encoding of the transcriptions, you can find slightly simplified samples here. For questions and comments write to Alois Pichler.