Sex and Character
Ludwig Wittgenstein read the book as a schoolboy and was deeply impressed by it, later listing it as one of his influences and recommending it to friends. However, Wittgenstein’s deep admiration of Weininger’s thought was coupled with a fundamental disagreement with his position. Wittgenstein writes to G.E. Moore: “It isn’t necessary or rather not possible to agree with him but the greatness lies in that with which we disagree. It is his enormous mistake which is great.” Elsewhere Wittgenstein put the same point by saying that if one were to add a negation sign before the whole of Sex and Character, one would have expressed a great truth; that is, he did not disagree with Weininger point by point but as a whole. The themes of the decay of modern civilization and the duty to perfect one’s genius occur repeatedly in Wittgenstein’s later writings.