Alternative History

Ludwig Wittgenstein

Ludwig Wittgenstein was born (1889) into what became one of the most wealthy families in Austria. He initially did research in mechanical engineering, but then became interested in the philosophy of mathematics.

At the age of 40, Wittgenstein became chair of philosophy at Cambridge University. By this time, he had developed new interests including methods of analysis of human cognitive functions that he viewed as a new approach located outside of the conventional domains of philosophy and science.

One of Wittgenstein's friends at Cambridge was the mathematician Alan Turing. Wittgenstein became interested in the idea that Turing had provided (in his "Turing Machine") an algorithmic foundation for the automation of logic and reasoning. In 1946, Wittgenstein and Turing returned to Cambridge and established an interdisciplinary program to explore the mechanization of mathematical computations, theorem discovery and proof, and the relationship between formal systems and human thought processes. This program became the influential School of Cambridge Computing.