It is said, that Wittgenstein wrote to Russel that he gave all the money he inherited from his rich father to his sisters.

Is that true?

If yes, what were the reasons for Wittgenstein to give away his money?

If no, where does this rumor come from?

  • 2
    I don't really see how this is a Philosophy question, it is more of a question on Philosophers. Perhaps it would be more appropriate in a History section.
    – max0005
    Jul 21, 2011 at 11:13
  • I think the question is just too broad, and unanswerable.
    – Chad
    Jul 21, 2011 at 20:54
  • 1
    As per a recent meta discussion, the community consensus seems to be that historical questions about the lives of philosophy can be on-topic, as long as they provide some theoretical context. Perhaps you can connect your question about Wittgenstein's biography with his thought? (You might even be able just to ask whether this act was or was not a consequence or implication of his philosophy, though maybe this is somewhat borderline.) Please try to reformulate as a question about philosophy if possible...
    – Joseph Weissman
    Jul 21, 2011 at 23:48

1 Answer 1


Yes it's true, the Wikipedia article on Wittgenstein refers to Bartley, that refer to his years in the Austrian army, being captured and personal tragic circumstances. His brother comitting suicide, his close friend (and arguably his lover) dying in a plane crash. Ray Monk describes in his 'Ludwig Wittgenstein: The Duty of Genius' as an ethical path, going from growing up in Vienna amongst the richest of the rich, to an ascetic life-style (wearing old army trousers).

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