Wittgenstein, with his characteristic foresight.
In other words, scientists and mathematicians get along just fine without trying to find foundations for their work. Reading Wittgenstein will tell them what they had already supposed.
Wittgenstein on his service in WWI
‘Now I have the chance to be a decent human being’, he wrote on the occasion of his first glimpse of the enemy, ‘for I’m standing eye to eye with death.’
‘Perhaps’, he wrote, ‘the nearness of death will bring light into life. God enlighten me.’
Wittgenstein’s donations pt. II
Of only three of the beneficiaries can one say with any certainty that both knew of their work and admired it: Loos, Rilke and Trakl. And even here we must add the provisos that, though he admired the tone of Trakl’s work, he professed himself incapable of understanding it; that he came to dislike Rilke’s later poetry; and that, after the war, he denounced Loos as a charlatan.
Nevertheless, Rilke’s letter of thanks he described as ‘kind’ and ‘noble’:
[It] both moved and deeply gladdened me. The affection of any noble human being is a support in the unsteady balance of my life. I am totally unworthy of the splendid present which I carry over my heart as a sign and remembrance of this affection. If you could only convey my deepest thanks and my faithful devotion to Rilke.
Wittgenstein gives large sum of inheritance to Ludwig von Ficker to allocate to artists in need pt. I
It is very doubtful whether he knew the work of most of the artists whom he helped, and still more doubtful that he would have admired it if he had. From his responses to the letters of gratitude that were passed on to him by Ficker, there is no sign at all of any admiration for most of these artists, and, indeed, his reactions reveal a certain disdain for the whole business. The first such letter he received was from Dallago. Wittgenstein sent it straight back to Ficker: ‘I do not know whether you have any use for it, but I am returning it anyway.’ And when he was later sent a collection of such letters, he returned them all, saying that he did not need them as documents, and: ‘as thanks they were—to be frank—for the most part highly distasteful to me. A certain degrading, almost swindling tone—etc.’