‘Philosophy to the glory of God’. Wittgenstein on God, religion and theology

Joost Hengstmengel

“the next best thing to being really inside Christendom is to be really outside it”
G.K. Chesterton, The Everlasting Man (1925)

1.   Introduction

It is said that Ludwig Wittgenstein (1889-1951)[1] admired St. Augustine. And indeed, references to this church father can be found in his work frequently. If I am right this is quite remarkable for a philosopher who can be considered as the founder of the analytic philosophical tradition. Since the question that arises is whether Wittgenstein would in the end believe Augustine’s theology makes sense. What is for example the philosophical meaning of Augustine’s statement in his Confessiones that “to praise you [God] is the desire of man, a little piece of your creation. You stir man to take pleasure in praising you, because you have made us for yourself, and our heart is restless until it rest in you”?[2] It may be doubted whether Wittgenstein conceived such language…

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‘Philosophy to the glory of God’. Wittgenstein on God, religion and theology