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A Biographical Sketch of Ludwig Wittgenstein

September 24th, 2017

Ludwig Josef Johann Wittgenstein was born in Vienna on 26th April, 1889 to Karl and Leopoldine Wittgenstein. He was the youngest of five brothers and three sisters. Thanks to his father’s intelligence and forceful nature, the family had become the second wealthiest in Austria-Hungary after the Rothschilds. His family had Jewish roots and had converted to Christianity only a few generations before Ludwig’s birth.

Although he was born in a Jewish turned Christian family, Ludwig was never a ‘religious’ person. While he was at home he did participate in religious activities along with his family but while he was away, at school, he began to lose his faith. His older sister, in whom he confided, introduced him to Arthur Schopenhauer’s The World as Will and Representation. Ludwig was taken up with Schopenhauer’s ideas and even adopted the epistemological idealism he proposed. After finishing his schooling he interested himself in the study of engineering and his studies took him from Berlin to Manchester. Through a friend, he was introduced to Bertrand Russell’s work namely The Principle of Mathematics (1903). This launched him on his philosophical career. He became interested in the philosophical foundations of the mathematics on which his professional work relied.

In the course of reading the book, he came across the name of Gottlob Frege and felt inclined to meet him in person and become a disciple. As he progressed in his studies he began to realize the shallowness of Schopenhauer’s ideas and abandoned them for Gottlob Frege’s conceptual realism. Frege however had aged and felt that he could not guide the young seeker in an optimal manner. So he urged him to go back to England and to get in touch with Russell. Following Frege’s advice Wittgenstein appeared one day in Russell’s office and with that began a decisive period of collaboration between them.

When World War I broke out, Ludwig felt bound by a sense of duty to enroll himself in the army. Two days after he had been assigned to a regiment in Krakow, he began a philosophical diary that starts with the anxious question: “Will I be able to work now?” His notebooks from the period reveal that he could, in fact, work even under the most demanding conditions. This only reveals the intellectual capacity of the man. These notebooks contained reflections that began where his discussions with Russell concluded. It was from these notebooks that he extracted the Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus while he was in an Italian prisoner of war camp.

When the war was over, Wittgenstein did not return to Cambridge. The war had severely scarred him. During the course of the war, he came across a volume of Tolstoy on the Gospels. This book made an impact on his mind and personality. In 1928, he heard a lecture on the foundations of mathematics delivered by L. E. J. Brouwer, a famous Dutch mathematician. This stirred him up once again to return to academics and he went back to Cambridge in 1929. He received his Ph.D. degree in the same year for the Tractatus and the following year he was made Fellow of Trinity College.

When his fellowship at Trinity expired he returned to one his houses in Norway. There, in 1936, he began to write Part I of the Philosophical Investigations. By the time he had finished the book in 1948 his health had begun to decline. On returning to England, his sickness was diagnosed as cancer. Thereafter, he was unable to do any serious intellectual work. He spent his last days with his family in Vienna but refused to reveal the nature of his sickness to them. On April 29, 1951, he died in Cambridge at the house of his doctor.

Sports Psychology: How To Build Self-Confidence In A Young Athlete

September 24th, 2017

Athletes of all ages are always looking for ways to be more confident, focused and relaxed when they compete in their respective sport or sports.

There are many techniques which can be helpful to them including visualization, positive self talk, meditation, guided imagery, prayer, self-hypnosis and hypnosis.

Young athletes frequently become anxious prior to the first game of the season, a playoff game or a championship game.

Some competitors find it hard to stay calm, focused and relaxed when they are being watch by a scout or a recruiter.

Some maturing athletes get anxious as they move on to the next level of competition.

That is, a high school player may be uneasy in his first college game.

Similarly, a minor league baseball player may be very nervous the first time he plays in a major league contest.

Many athletes learn to overcome this anxiety simply by playing in a lot of events. Competing frequently on a regular basis helps them to sort out what they need to do and change in order to “enter the zone” and perform to their fullest potential.

Recently, a twelve year old very talented tennis player came to this author’s office as she was quite anxious about an upcoming national tennis tournament.

She expressed worries over the level of competition, the size of the crowd, the importance of the event and the travel associated with this tournament.

She was also very concerned about performing poorly and disappointing her parents.

To help her to relax, several strategies were suggested and implemented.

First, she decided it would be best if her parents did not watch her play.

Second, she utilized music prior to stepping on the court to fine her energy and her rhythm.

Third, and perhaps most important, she needed to develop some perspective on the importance of this event.

Since her goal is to be a professional tennis player, this author told her that there is “no reason to be nervous.”

She was reminded that on her journey to being a professional tennis player, she will play in hundreds of tournaments. This reminder made it easy for her to have some perspective on this “upcoming big event.” And this advice helped her to reduce the intensity and the meaning that she was assigning to this tournament.

The patient noted, “I never looked at it that way before. This sure makes a lot of sense.”