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  Some Letters from Ludwig Wittgenstein  
AN BERTRAND RUSSELL, [vor 20. 1. 1913]

Dear Russell,
      Thanks very much for both your kind letters! I cannot yet tell when I shall be able to come back to Cambridge, as the doctors are still quite uncertain about the duration of my fathers illness. He has not yet any pain but feels on the whole very bad having constantly high fever. This makes him so apathetic that one cannot do him any good by sitting at his bed etc. And as this was the only thing that I could ever do for him, I am now perfectly useless here. So the time of my staying here depends entirely upon wheter the illness will take so rapid a course that I could not risk to leave Vienna; or not. I hope I shall be able to decide this in a weeks time & I have told Fletcher so. - I have changed my views on "atomic" complexes: I now think that Qualities, Relations (like Love) etc. are all copulae That means I for instance analyse a subject-predicate prop, say, "Socrates is human" into "Socrates" & "Something is human["] (which I think is not complex). The reason for this, is a very fundamental one: I think that there cannot be different Types of things! In other words whatever can be symbolized by a simple proper name must belong to one type. And further: every theory of types must be rendered superfluous by a proper theory of the symbolisme: For instance if I analyse the prop. Socrates is mortal into Socrates Mortality & (∃ x, y) 1 (x, y) I whant a theory of types to tell me that "Mortality is Socrates" is nonsensical, because if I treat "Mortality" as a proper name (as I did) there is nothing to prevent me to make the substitution the wrong way round. But if I analyse (as I do now) into Socrates & (∃ x) x is Mortal or generally into x & (∃ x) (x)*  (*Props which I formerly wrote &egr;2 (a, R, b) I now write R(a, b) & analyse them into a, b, & (&∃ x, y) R (x, y) not complex) it becomes impossible to substitute the wrong way round, because the two symbols are now of a different kind themselves. What I am most certain of is not however the correctness of my present way of analysis, but of the fact that all theorys of types must be done away with by a theory of symbolisme showing that what seem to be different kinds of things are symbolised by different kinds of symbols which cannot possibly be substituted in one another's places. I hope I have made this fairly clear! I was very interested to hear your views about matter, allthough I cannot imagine your way of working from sense data forward. Mach writes such a horrid style that it makes me nearly sick to read him; however, I am very glad that you think so much of a countryman of myne.
Yours most etc.
Ludwig Wittgenstein

AN BERTRAND RUSSELL,17. [10.] 1913

Dear Russell,
      My address is going to be: L. W. c/o. Halvard Draegni Skjolden, Sogn, Norway. I am not yet there. - Identity is the very Devil! Types have got a good deal clearer to me on the journey. Hope you have got typewriten business all right. I saw Whitehead before going & he was charming as usual. Let me hear from you as soon as possible; I want it badly! Give my love to everybody who wants it. Yrs as long as there is such a thing as
L. W.
P.S. I am not as far north as I thought I would be as the Inn I intended to stay at is closed during the winter.


Dear Moore,
      My address is: L. W. c/o H. Draegni, Skjolden, Sogn, Norway. The place is very nice and I have got plenty of time to work. Identity plays hell with me! Please ask Russell whether he has got my letter because I am not certain if it has been posted. Let me know exactly how you are.
Yours etc. etc.
L. Wittgenstein

AN BERTRAND RUSSELL, 29. 10. u. 30. 10. 1913

Dear Russell,
      I hope you have got my letter which I wrote on the 16th. I left it in the Dining room of the boat & afterwards telefoned that it should be posted but I don't know with what effect. This is an ideal place to work in. - Soon after I arrived here I got a violent influenza which prevented me from doing any work untill quite recently. Identity is the very Devil & immensely important; very much more so than I thought. It hangs - like everything else - directly together with the most fundamental questions, especially with the questions concerning the occurence of the same argument in different places of a function. I have all sorts of ideas for a solution of the problem but could not yet arrive at anything definite. However I don't loose courage & go on thinking. I have got two nice rooms here in the Postmasters house & am looked after very well indeed. By the way - would you be so good & send me two copies of Moore's paper: "The Nature & Reality of Objects of Perception" which he read to the Aristotelian Soc. in 1906. I am affraid I can't yet tel you the reason why I whant two copies but you shall know it some day. If you kindly send the bill with them I will send the money immediately after receiving the Pamflets. - As I hardly meet a soul in this place, the progress of my Norwegian is exceedingly slow; so much so that I have not yet learned a single swear word! Please remember me to Dr & Mrs Whitehead & Erik if you see them. Write to me soon!
Yours as long as E!
L. W.
      P. S. How are your conversation-classes going on? Did you get the copy of my manuscript? I enclose a roseleaf as sample of the flora in this place.       I wrote this letter yesterday. Since then quite new ideas have come into my head: new problems have arrisen in the theory of molecular props & the theory of inferrence has received a new & very important aspect. One of the consequences of my new ideas will - I think - be that the whole of Logic follows from one P.p. only!! I cannot say more about it at present.
L. W.

AN BERTRAND RUSSELL,[Ende November 1913]

Lieber Russell,
      I intended to write this letter in German, but it struck me that I did not know whether to call you "Sie" or "Du" & so I am reduced to my beastly english jargon! -       I will begin by explaining why there must be a prop. from which all Logic follows:       I beg you to notice that, allthough I shall make use in what follows of my ab-Notation, the Meaning of this Notation is not needed; that is to say, even if this Notation should turn out not to be the final correct Notation what I am going to say is valid if you only admit - as I believe you must do - that it is a possible Notation. Now listen: I will first talk about those Logical props which are or might be contained in the first 8 Chapters of Princ. Math. That they all follow from one Pp is clear because one symbolic rule is sufficient to recognize each of them as true or false. And this is the one symbolic rule: Write the prop down in the ab-Notation, trace all Connections (of Poles) from the outside to the inside Poles: Then if the b-Pole is connected to such Groups of inside Poles only as contain oposite poles of one prop, then the whole prop is a true, logical prop. If on the other hand this is the case with the a-Pole the prop is false & logical. If finaly neither is the case the prop may be true or false but is in no case Logical. Such for instance (p).~p p limited to a suitable type of course is not a logical prop at all & its truth can neither be proved nor disproved from logical pro[p]s allon. The Same is the case - by the way - with your axiom of reducibility, it is not a logical Prop at all & the same applies to the axioms of infinity & the mult. ax. If these are true props they are what I shall call "accidentally" true & and not "essentially" true. Whether a prop is accidentally or essentially true can be seen by writing it down in the ab-Notation & applying the above rule. What I - in stating this rule - called "logical" prop is a prop which is either essentially true or essentially false. This distinction of accid. & essent. true props explains - by the way - the feeling one allways had about the infin. ax. & the axiom of reducibility, the feeling that if they where true they would be so only by a lucky accident.       Of course the rule I have given applies first of all only for what you called elementary props. But it is easy to see that it must also apply to all others: For consider your two Pps in the Theory of app. vars *9.1 & *9.11. Put there instead of x. (∃ y). y . y = x and it becomes obvious that the special cases of these two Pps like those of all the previous ones become tautologous if you apply the ab-Notation. The ab-Notation for Identity is not yet clear enough to show this clearly but it is obvious that such a Notation can be made up. I can sum up by saying that a logical prop is one the speciale cases of which are either tautologous - & then the prop is true - or "selfcontradictory" (as I shall call it) & then it is false. And the ab Notation simply showes directly which of those two it is (if any). That means there is one Method of proving or disprooving all logical props and this is: writing them down in the ab-Notation & looking at the connections & apply the above rule. But if one symbolic rule will do, there must also be one P.p. that will do.       There is much that follows from all this & much that I could only explain vaguely but if you realy think it over you will find that I am right. - I am glad that your classes are a success. As to Wiener I can only say that, if he is good at Math, Math isn't much good. However -
- Write again soon! And think allways well of your
      P.S. Please remember me to Hardy. Every letter of yours gives me infinite pleasure!


Dear Moore,
      Many thanks for your letter. I am glad that you will have regular discussions with me when you come up and I can't see for my life why you shouldn't be able to! That Johnson at last gives a paper to the Club interests me enormously! What was it like?? And what was it really about? To say the truth I don't like the title. However - Identity still plays hell with me. We had already heavy snowfalls but it isn't cold. Write soon and a lot about Johnson's paper.
Yours etc
Ludwig Wittgenstein
      Is Muscio still alive? And, if so, what's he doing?


Lieber Russell!
      Ich schicke heute 720 Kroner an Messrs Child & Co. für Deine Rechnung. Die Frage nach den Wesen der Identität läßt sich nicht beantworten, ehe das Wesen der Tautologie erklärt ist. Die Frage nach diesem aber, ist die Grundfrage aller Logik. - Mein Tag vergeht zwischen Logik, Pfeifen, Spazierengehen & Niedergeschlagensein. Ich wollte zu Gott, ich hätte mehr Verstand & es würde mir nun endlich alles klar; oder ich müßte nicht mehr lange leben! -       Du hast die Eroica gehört! Was hast Du zu dem zweiten Satz gesagt? ist er nicht unglaublich? - Ist es nicht höchst merkwürdig, was für eine große & unendlich eigenartige Wissenschaft die Logik ist; ich glaube, weder Du noch ich haben das vor 11/2 Jahren gewußt.
L. W.