The Wittgenstein Initiative is a Vienna-based independent non-profit with a mission as ambitious as it is important. The Wittgenstein Initiative aims to harness the originality of quintessentially Viennese thinkers whose visions were proffered in the hope of effecting real change in the world. One of these thinkers is Ludwig Wittgenstein, the namesake of the Initiative. Others include Karl Kraus, Adolf Loos, Sigmund Freud, Friedrich von Hayek, and Arnold Schönberg. And it is in the spirit of these thinkers and cultural change-makers that the Wittgenstein Initiative is seeking to move us towards re-conceptualizing and re-experiencing our engagement with the world through art and thought (see its Vision & Mission).
As such, one of the explicit motivations behind the Wittgenstein Initiative is Wittgenstein’s belief that poetry and the arts can teach us more than science by itself ever could. This belief means—so it seems to me—that effecting personal and societal understanding of an inter-connected and integrative nature is of paramount importance to life; it means a multitude of mutually enriching interactions between intellectual endeavors. As the names above suggest, the Wittgenstein Initiative is looking to past interactions for insight and instruction on how to move us forward. These past interactions include, but are by no means limited to, those that philosophy has had with literature and architecture (Wittgenstein, Kraus, and Loos), philosophy with psychology (Wittgenstein and Freud), literature with architecture and vice versa (Kraus and Loos), economics with philosophy (von Hayek and Wittgenstein), and music with literature (Schönberg and Kraus).
For this reason and others, the Wittgenstein Initiative is an exciting one and promises to become more exciting still. A survey of its events as of the date of this post are enough to convince me of that: Ludwig Wittgenstein, the Great War and the Unsayable, Wittgenstein and Music; Allusions and Quotes in Ludwig Wittgenstein’s Writings; and Friedrich von Hayek.