146+ Best Ludwig Wittgenstein Quotes: Exclusive Selection

Ludwig Josef Johann Wittgenstein was an Austrian philosopher who worked primarily in logic, the philosophy of mathematics, the philosophy of mind, and the philosophy of language. Wittgenstein regarded by many as the greatest philosopher of the 20th century. Thoughtful Ludwig Wittgenstein quotes will encourage you to think a little deeper than you usually would and broaden your perspective.

If you’re searching for deep philosophy quotes that perfectly capture what you’d like to say or just want to feel inspired yourself, browse through an amazing collection of insightful Rene Descartes quotes, famous Thomas Hobbes quotes, and Al-Ghazali quotes.

Most Famous Ludwig Wittgenstein Quotes

The human body is the best picture of the human soul. – Ludwig Wittgenstein

Like everything metaphysical the harmony between thought and reality is to be found in the grammar of the language. – Ludwig Wittgenstein

Whereof one cannot speak, thereof one must be silent. – Ludwig Wittgenstein

When we can’t think for ourselves, we can always quote. – Ludwig Wittgenstein

In order to be able to set a limit to thought, we should have to find both sides of the limit thinkable (i.e. we should have to be able to think what cannot be thought). – Ludwig Wittgenstein

Every explanation is after all an hypothesis. – Ludwig Wittgenstein

I am sitting with a philosopher in the garden; he says again and again ‘I know that that’s a tree’, pointing to a tree that is near us. Someone else arrives and hears this, and I tell him: ‘This fellow isn’t insane. We are only doing philosophy. – Ludwig Wittgenstein

We see, not change of aspect, but change of interpretation. – Ludwig Wittgenstein

To think that you are not following a rule is to follow a rule. – Ludwig Wittgenstein

An honest religious thinker is like a tightrope walker. He almost looks as though he were walking on nothing but air. His support is the slenderest imaginable. And yet it really is possible to walk on it. – Ludwig Wittgenstein

A logical picture of facts is a thought. – Ludwig Wittgenstein

I am my world. – Ludwig Wittgenstein

The aspects of a thing that are most important to us are hidden to us because of their simplicity and familiarity. – Ludwig Wittgenstein

What is your aim in philosophy? To show the fly the way out of the fly-bottle. – Ludwig Wittgenstein

If you and I are to live religious lives, it mustn’t be that we talk a lot about religion, but that our manner of life is different. It is my belief that only if you try to be helpful to other people will you in the end find your way to God. – Ludwig Wittgenstein

Uttering a word is like striking a note on the keyboard of the imagination. – Ludwig Wittgenstein

When you are philosophizing you have to descend into primeval chaos and feel at home there. – Ludwig Wittgenstein

Ethics and aesthetics are one. – Ludwig Wittgenstein

The child learns to believe a host of things. I.e. it learns to act according to these beliefs. Bit by bit there forms a system of what is believed, and in that system some things stand unshakeably fast and some are more or less liable to shift. What stands fast does so, not because it is intrinsically obvious or convincing; it is rather held fast by what lies around it. – Ludwig Wittgenstein

Wishing is not acting. But willing is acting. – Ludwig Wittgenstein

For a truly religious man nothing is tragic. – Ludwig Wittgenstein

It is obvious that an imagined world, however different it may be from the real one, must have something – a form – in common with it. – Ludwig Wittgenstein

A French politician once wrote that it was a peculiarity of the French language that in it words occur in the order in which one thinks them. – Ludwig Wittgenstein

When one is frightened of the truth then it is never the whole truth that one has an inkling of. – Ludwig Wittgenstein

The classifications made by philosophers and psychologists are like trying to classify clouds by their shape. – Ludwig Wittgenstein

Think of the tools in a tool-box: there is a hammer, pliers, a saw, a screwdriver, a rule, a glue-pot, nails and screws.–The function of words are as diverse as the functions of these objects. – Ludwig Wittgenstein

I might say: if the place I want to get to could only be reached by way of a ladder, I would give up trying to get there. For the place I really have to get to is a place I must already be at now. Anything that I might reach by climbing a ladder does not interest me. – Ludwig Wittgenstein

This is how philosophers should salute each other: ‘Take your time. – Ludwig Wittgenstein

Language disguises the thought; so that from the external form of the clothes one cannot infer the form of the thought they clothe, because the external form of the clothes is constructed with quite another object than to let the form of the body be recognized. – Ludwig Wittgenstein

A philosopher who is not taking part in discussions is like a boxer who never goes into the ring. – Ludwig Wittgenstein

All I know is what I have words for. – Ludwig Wittgenstein

What is thinkable is also possible. – Ludwig Wittgenstein

Hell isn’t other people. Hell is yourself. – Ludwig Wittgenstein

Man has to awaken to wonder – and so perhaps do peoples. Science is a way of sending him to sleep again. – Ludwig Wittgenstein

My aim is: to teach you to pass from a piece of disguised nonsense to something that is patent nonsense. – Ludwig Wittgenstein

You learned the concept ‘pain’ when you learned language. – Ludwig Wittgenstein

If you tried to doubt everything you would not get as far as doubting anything. The game of doubting itself presupposes certainty. – Ludwig Wittgenstein

Not how the world is, but that it is, is the mystery. – Ludwig Wittgenstein

Ask yourself whether our language is complete–whether it was so before the symbolism of chemistry and the notation of the infinitesimal calculus were incorporated in it; for these are, so to speak, suburbs of our language. (And how many houses or streets does it take before a town begins to be a town?) Our language can be seen as an ancient city: a maze of little streets and squares, of old and new houses, and of houses with additions from various periods; and this surrounded by a multitude of new boroughs with straight regular streets and uniform houses. – Ludwig Wittgenstein

Kierkegaard was by far the most profound thinker of the last century. Kierkegaard was a saint. – Ludwig Wittgenstein

Make sure that your religion is a matter between you and God only. – Ludwig Wittgenstein

What do I know about God and the purpose of life? I know that this world exists. That I am placed in it like my eye in its visual field. That something about it is problematic, which we call its meaning. This meaning does not lie in it but outside of it. That life is the world. That my will penetrates the world. That my will is good or evil. Therefore, that good and evil are somehow connected with the meaning of the world. The meaning of life, i.e. the meaning of the world, we can call God. And connect with this the comparison of God to a father. – Ludwig Wittgenstein

Philosophy aims at the logical clarification of thoughts. Philosophy is not a body of doctrine but an activity. A philosophical work consists essentially of elucidations. Philosophy does not result in ‘philosophical propositions’, but rather in the clarification of propositions. Without philosophy thoughts are, as it were, cloudy and indistinct: its task is to make them clear and to give them sharp boundaries. – Ludwig Wittgenstein

My day passes between logic, whistling, going for walks, and being depressed. I wish to God that I were more intelligent, and everything would finally become clear to me – or else that I needn’t live much longer. – Ludwig Wittgenstein

Philosophy is a battle against the bewitchment of our intelligence by means of language. – Ludwig Wittgenstein

It is a dogma of the Roman Church that the existence of God can be proved by natural reason. Now this dogma would make it impossible for me to be a Roman Catholic. If I thought of God as another being like myself, outside myself, only infinitely more powerful, then I would regard it as my duty to defy him. – Ludwig Wittgenstein

To believe in God is to see that life has a meaning. – Ludwig Wittgenstein

Only describe, don’t explain. – Ludwig Wittgenstein

The world is independent of my will. – Ludwig Wittgenstein

Mathematics is a logical method… Mathematical propositions express no thoughts. In life it is never a mathematical proposition which we need, but we use mathematical propositions only in order to infer from propositions which do not belong to mathematics to others which equally do not belong to mathematics. – Ludwig Wittgenstein

I sit astride life like a bad rider on a horse. I only owe it to the horse’s good nature that I am not thrown off at this very moment. – Ludwig Wittgenstein

The limits of my language mean the limits of my world. – Ludwig Wittgenstein

Nothing is so difficult as not deceiving oneself. – Ludwig Wittgenstein

I don’t know why we are here, but I’m pretty sure that it is not in order to enjoy ourselves. – Ludwig Wittgenstein

To convince someone of the truth, it is not enough to state it, but rather one must find the path from error to truth. – Ludwig Wittgenstein

If we spoke a different language, we would perceive a somewhat different world. – Ludwig Wittgenstein

We learn by rearranging what we know. – Ludwig Wittgenstein

There is no more light in a genius than in any other honest man – but he has a particular kind of lens to concentrate this light into a burning point. – Ludwig Wittgenstein

The real question of life after death isn’t whether or not it exists, but even if it does what problem this really solves. – Ludwig Wittgenstein

Since social relationships are always ambiguous, since my thought is only a unit, since my thoughts create rifts as much as they unite, since my words establish contacts by being spoken and create isolation by remaining unspoken, since an immense moat separates the subjective certitude that I have for myself from the objective reality that I represent to others, since I never stop finding myself guilty even though I feel I am innocent. – Ludwig Wittgenstein

One of the most misleading representational techniques in our language is the use of the word ‘I.’ – Ludwig Wittgenstein

Nothing is more important than the formation of fictional concepts, which teach us at last to understand our own. – Ludwig Wittgenstein

Don’t look for the meanings; look for the use. – Ludwig Wittgenstein

A man will be imprisoned in a room with a door that’s unlocked and opens inwards; as long as it does not occur to him to pull rather than push it. – Ludwig Wittgenstein

It is truly strange how long it takes to get to know oneself. I am now sixty-two years old, yet just one moment ago I realized that I absolutely love lightly toasted bread. Simultaneously, I also realized that I loathe bread when it is heavily toasted. For almost sixty years, and quite unconsciously, I have been experiencing inner joy or total despair at my relationship with grilled bread. – Ludwig Wittgenstein

He who lives in the present lives in eternity. – Ludwig Wittgenstein

We feel that even if all possible scientific questions be answered, the problems of life have still not been touched at all. – Ludwig Wittgenstein

The world of those who are happy is different from the world of those who are not. – Ludwig Wittgenstein

A serious and good philosophical work could be written consisting entirely of jokes. – Ludwig Wittgenstein

Aim at being loved without being admired. – Ludwig Wittgenstein

The problems are solved, not by giving new information, but by arranging what we have always known. – Ludwig Wittgenstein

Nowadays it is the fashion to emphasize the horrors of the last war. I didn’t find it so horrible. There are just as horrible things happening all round us today, if only we had eyes to see them. – Ludwig Wittgenstein

A confession has to be part of your new life. – Ludwig Wittgenstein

Resting on your laurels is as dangerous as resting when you are walking in the snow. You doze off and die in your sleep. – Ludwig Wittgenstein

The world is the totality of facts, not of things – Ludwig Wittgenstein

Philosophy is like trying to open a safe with a combination lock: each little adjustment of the dials seems to achieve nothing, only when everything is in place does the door open. – Ludwig Wittgenstein

A man’s thinking goes on within his consciousness in a seclusion in comparison with which any physical seclusion is an exhibition to public view. – Ludwig Wittgenstein

Not every religion has to have St. Augustine’s attitude to sex. Why even in our culture marriages are celebrated in a church, everyone present knows what is going to happen that night, but that doesn’t prevent it being a religious ceremony. – Ludwig Wittgenstein

Knowledge is in the end based on acknowledgement. – Ludwig Wittgenstein

If a lion could talk, we could not understand him. – Ludwig Wittgenstein

Logic takes care of itself; all we have to do is to look and see how it does it. – Ludwig Wittgenstein

Someone who knows too much finds it hard not to lie. – Ludwig Wittgenstein

Never stay up on the barren heights of cleverness but come down into the green valleys of silliness. – Ludwig Wittgenstein

A philosophical problem has the form: I don’t know my way about. – Ludwig Wittgenstein

Logic is not a body of doctrine, but a mirror-image of the world. Logic is transcendental. – Ludwig Wittgenstein

Death is not an event in life: we do not live to experience death. If we take eternity to mean not infinite temporal duration but timelessness, then eternal life belongs to those who live in the present. – Ludwig Wittgenstein

Don’t get involved in partial problems, but always take flight to where there is a free view over the whole single great problem, even if this view is still not a clear one. – Ludwig Wittgenstein

A new word is like a fresh seed sown on the ground of the discussion. – Ludwig Wittgenstein

You get tragedy where the tree, instead of bending, breaks. – Ludwig Wittgenstein

The face is the soul of the body. – Ludwig Wittgenstein

The logic of the world is prior to all truth and falsehood. – Ludwig Wittgenstein

The real discovery is the one which enables me to stop doing philosophy when I want to. The one that gives philosophy peace, so that it is no longer tormented by questions which bring itself into question. – Ludwig Wittgenstein

Humor is not a mood but a way of looking at the world. So if it is correct to say that humor was stamped out in Nazi Germany, that does not mean that people were not in good spirits, or anything of that sort, but something much deeper and more important. – Ludwig Wittgenstein

The common behavior of mankind is the system of reference by means of which we interpret an unknown language. – Ludwig Wittgenstein

It is so characteristic, that just when the mechanics of reproduction are so vastly improved, there are fewer and fewer people who know how the music should be played. – Ludwig Wittgenstein

Logic must look after itself. In a certain sense, we cannot make mistakes in logic. – Ludwig Wittgenstein

Language is a part of our organism and no less complicated than it. – Ludwig Wittgenstein

Philosophy is not a theory but an activity. – Ludwig Wittgenstein

There are remarks that sow and remarks that reap. – Ludwig Wittgenstein

It is an hypothesis that the sun will rise tomorrow: and this means that we do not know whether it will rise. – Ludwig Wittgenstein

It is one of the chief skills of the philosopher not to occupy himself with questions which do not concern him. – Ludwig Wittgenstein

One often makes a remark and only later sees how true it is. – Ludwig Wittgenstein

An inner process stands in need of outward criteria. – Ludwig Wittgenstein

Propositions show what they say: tautologies and contradictions show that they say nothing. – Ludwig Wittgenstein

Perhaps what is inexpressible (what I find mysterious and am not able to express) is the background against which whatever I could express has its meaning. – Ludwig Wittgenstein

Our civilization is characterized by the word ”progress.” Progress is its form rather than making progress being one of its features. Typically, it constructs. It is occupied with building an ever more complicated structure. And even clarity is sought only – Ludwig Wittgenstein

Vanity of vanities, all is vanity. – Ludwig Wittgenstein

What can be said at all can be said clearly; and whereof one cannot speak thereof one must be silent – Ludwig Wittgenstein

The mystical is not how the world is, but that it is – Ludwig Wittgenstein

It seems to me that, in every culture, I come across a chapter headed ”Wisdom.” And then I know exactly what is going to follow: ”Vanity of vanities, all is vanity.” – Ludwig Wittgenstein

For an answer which cannot be expressed the question too cannotbe expressed. The riddle does not exist. If a question can beput at all, then it can also be answered. – Ludwig Wittgenstein

If people did not sometimes do silly things, nothing intelligent would ever get done – Ludwig Wittgenstein

If you do know that here is one hand, we’ll grant you all the rest. – Ludwig Wittgenstein

What cannot be imagined cannot even be talked about. – Ludwig Wittgenstein

One age misunderstands another; and a petty age misunderstands all the others in its own ugly way. – Ludwig Wittgenstein

Human beings have a physical need to tell themselves when at work: “”Let’s have done with it now,”” and it’s having constantly to go on thinking in the face of this need when philosophizing that makes this work so strenuous. – Ludwig Wittgenstein

If you want to go down deep you do not need to travel far; indeed, you don’t have to leave your most immediate and familiar surroundings. – Ludwig Wittgenstein

Where our language suggests a body and there is none: there, we should like to say, is a spirit. – Ludwig Wittgenstein

Architecture immortalizes and glorifies something. Hence there can be no architecture where there is nothing to glorify. – Ludwig Wittgenstein

Everything is already there in….”” How does it come about that [an] arrow points? Doesn’t it seem to carry in it something besides itself? – “”No, not the deadline on paper; only the psychical thing, the meaning, can do that.”” – That is both true and false. The arrow points only in the application that a living being makes of it. – Ludwig Wittgenstein

What we do is to bring words back from their metaphysical to their everyday use. – Ludwig Wittgenstein

The difficulty in philosophy is to say no more than we know. – Ludwig Wittgenstein

Logic pervades the world; the limits of the world are also the limits of logic. – Ludwig Wittgenstein

If one understands eternity as timelessness, and not as an unending timespan, then whoever lives in the present lives for all time. – Ludwig Wittgenstein

A mathematical proof must be perspicuous. – Ludwig Wittgenstein

Our ordinary language has no means for describing a particular shade of color. Thus, it is incapable of producing a picture of this color. – Ludwig Wittgenstein

Telling someone something he does not understand is pointless, even if you add that he will not be able to understand it. – Ludwig Wittgenstein

The object of philosophy is the logical clarification of thought. – Ludwig Wittgenstein

Just be independent of the external world, so you don’t have to fear for what’s in it. – Ludwig Wittgenstein

There is not a philosophical method, though there are indeed methods, like different therapies. – Ludwig Wittgenstein

That which cannot be said must not be said. That which cannot be said, one must be silent thereof. – Ludwig Wittgenstein

Only let’s cut out the transcendental twaddle when the whole thing is as plain as a sock on the jaw. – Ludwig Wittgenstein

We must do away with all explanation, and description alone must take its place. – Ludwig Wittgenstein

In the world everything is as it is and happens as it does happen. In it, there is no value, – and if there were, it would be of no value. – Ludwig Wittgenstein

The depressed man lives in a depressed world. – Ludwig Wittgenstein

If we were to imagine an orange on the blue side or green on the red side or violet on the yellow side, it would give us the same impression as a north wind coming from the southwest. – Ludwig Wittgenstein

Because our goals are not lofty but illusory, our problems are not difficult, but nonsensical. – Ludwig Wittgenstein

Man is fulfilling the purpose of existence who no longer needs to have any purpose except to live. That is to say, who is content. – Ludwig Wittgenstein

Golden is a surface color. – Ludwig Wittgenstein

A color which would be ‘dirty’ if it were the color of a wall, needn’t be so in a painting. – Ludwig Wittgenstein

What has to be accepted, the given, is – so one could say – forms of life. – Ludwig Wittgenstein

Religion is, as it were, the calm bottom of the sea at its deepest point, which remains calm however high the waves on the surface may be. – Ludwig Wittgenstein

When I am furious about something, I sometimes beat the ground or a tree with my walking stick. But I certainly do not believe that the ground is to blame or that my beating can help anything… And all rites are of this kind. – Ludwig Wittgenstein

Frazer is much more savage than most of his savages, for they are not as far removed from the understanding of spiritual matter as a twentieth-century Englishman. His explanations of primitive practices are much cruder than the meaning of these practices themselves. – Ludwig Wittgenstein

We must plow through the whole of language. – Ludwig Wittgenstein

If suicide is allowed, then everything is allowed. If anything is not allowed, then suicide is not allowed. This throws a light on the nature of ethics, for suicide is, so to speak, the elementary sin. And when one investigates it it is like investigating mercury vapour in order to comprehend the nature of vapours. – Ludwig Wittgenstein

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