Wittgenstein, once asked a pupil if he had ever had any tragedies in his life. The pupil, evidently well trained, inquired what he meant by “tragedy.” “I mean suicides, madness, or quarrels,” replied Ludwig, three of whose four brothers committed suicide, two of them (Rudi and Hans) in their early twenties, and the third (Kurt) at the age of forty. Ludwig often thought of doing so, as did his surviving brother, Paul.
The southern novelist and philosophical essayist Walker Percy (1916–1990) was no stranger to suicide. His family legacy included a long line of ancestors who had taken their own lives, including Percy’s grandfather John Walker Percy in 1917, and his father Leroy Pratt Percy in 1929. In his later years Percy himself expressed amazement and some pride in having “outlived” almost all of his male ancestors, though he did suffer from an inherited disposition toward melancholy.
Wittgenstein’s Philosophy and Austrian Economics — a very good piece of scholarship making philosophical connections that are typically ignored by mainstream philosophy — but now externalists are all stripes are beginning to climb on the Austrian bandwagon much to their preconceived ideological chagrin.
There is a tendency by many mainstream academics to view both Austrian economics and Wittgenstein’s philosophy of language as strange interlopers into their respective fields.