Chadbourne Gilpatric and Ludwig Wittgenstein: A Fateful Meeting

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Stephen Leach


On January 11 1951 Chadbourne Gilpatric met with Wittgenstein to offer him, on behalf of the Rockefeller Foundation, funding for any forthcoming publications. Wittgenstein politely declined the offer as he did not believe his health would permit him to bring any projects to completion. The meeting is referred to in a letter from Wittgenstein to Norman Malcolm and is also recalled by O.K. Bouwsma. Bouwsma learned of it from conversations with Wittgenstein and by Gilpatric. However, it is also recounted in Gilpatric’s diary. Gilpatric’s account comprises the fullest account of the meeting. It has remained unedited, until now, and is here transcribed for the first time. Five years later on February 1 1956 Gilpatric submitted a report, entitled ‘Logician and Mystic’, to the Rockefeller Foundation This report adds detail to his original account and summarises the Rockefeller’s financial support of the posthumous publication of Wittgenstein’s work. It also sketches Gilpatric’s view of Wittgenstein’s work.

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Author Biography

Stephen Leach, Keele University

Stephen Leach is Senior Honorary Fellow at Keele University. He is the co-editor (with James Tartaglia) of Consciousness and the Great Philosophers (Routledge, 2017) and The Meaning of Life and the Great Philosophers (Routledge, 2018).