My aversion to Austrian philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein is long-standing. It is not, unfortunately, based on a thorough critique of his intellectual works. Rather, it is a distaste founded on the dodgy grounds of guilt by association. I simply cannot think about reading Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus without the image of those ridiculous stoner undergraduate boys popping into my head with their would-be deep questions about the nature of language, reality and metaphysics. “Have you read Godel, Escher, Bach, man?” (Nope.)
All the same, Ludwig W. forced himself onto my desk today, with the report of his VOKS (All-Union Society for Cultural Relations with Foreign Countries) handler written during a September 1935 trip to the
Apparently, LW had been planning on a possible relocation to Soviet Russia in the mid-1930s and had studied the language for a year previous to his visit. [Link for those with academic affiliations here; sorry to those without subscribing institutions.] But upon arrival he was less than impressed. According to his guide, he kept on nagging Russians about what they thought of Tolstoy. He complained that Intourist was inattentive and that the country as a whole was dirty, with the specific gripe, “I still have not seen a single clean bathroom, and that is the criterion of a culture.” («Я не видел еще ни одного чистого ватерклозета, а это есть критерий культуры.») VOKS arranged for him to see the popular
But his biggest problem, according to the guide, was
Judge for yourself.
Personally, I'm in the "six of one..." camp on this question. Feel free to write in with your own opinions.
(Interested scholars can see the Wittgenstein archival material in GARF 5283/3/657.)