Austrian-British philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein is remembered for his works related to logic, the philosophy of mind, the philosophy of mathematics, and the philosophy of language. He taught at the University of Cambridge for many years. He published only one book during his lifetime. Most of his manuscripts were collected later and published posthumously.
Hailed as one of the greatest logicians since Aristotle, Kurt Gödel was Austrian-born American mathematician, logician, and philosopher, who earned international stardom for his incompleteness theorem. Also credited with developing a technique called Gödel numbering, he later started working on Mathematical Platonism, a philosophical theory that failed to attract wide acceptance.
Austrian philosopher and architect and Rudolf Steiner gained fame as a literary critic and published works such as The Philosophy of Freedom. His interests included esotericism and clairvoyance. He termed his work spiritual science. He designed the Goetheanum and also laid down concepts such as Waldorf education and biodynamic agriculture.
Edmund Husserl was a German philosopher of Moravian origin. He established the school of phenomenology. He studied mathematics, physics, and astronomy at the University of Leipzig and worked as an assistant to mathematician Karl Weierstrass. He later became a professor of philosophy and taught for several years. He is considered a major figure in 20th-century philosophy.
A winner of the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences, Friedrich von Hayek, was an advocate of classical liberalism. The Austrian-British economist, who was also a political philosopher, co-founded the Mont Pelerin Society. He worked at the London School of Economics, the University of Chicago and the University of Freiburg and authored the popular book, The Road to Serfdom.
Regarded as the father of psychoanalysis, Sigmund Freud was a neurologist. Despite suffering criticism, psychoanalysis remains influential in the fields of psychology and psychiatry; such is the influence Freud has on humanities. Scholars believe that Freud is one of the most influential personalities of the 20th century and that his impact is comparable to that of Marxism and Darwinism.
Ivan Illich was a Roman Catholic priest, philosopher, theologian, and social critic. He criticized modern society's institutional approach to education in his book Deshooling Society. He studied theology and philosophy at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome and was ordained as a priest in 1951. Later on, he founded the Center of Intercultural Formation (CIF) to train missionaries.
Paul Feyerabend was an Austrian-born philosopher of science. He worked as a professor of philosophy at the University of California, Berkeley, for three decades. He continued to publish papers after his retirement. He held a purportedly anarchistic view of science. He rejected the existence of universal methodological rules and was seen as radical in the philosophy of science.
Son of an Austro-Hungarian diplomat father and a Japanese mother, Richard Nikolaus Graf Coudenhove-Kalergi, also known as Aoyama Eijiro in Japan, grew up to be a skilled politician and established the Pan-European Union. He was the first to receive the Charlemagne Prize and also had citizenships of Czechoslovakia and France.
Austrian thinker Otto Weininger, whose main areas of interests included philosophy of religion, logic, gender and psychology, lived in the Austro-Hungarian Empire. His book Geschlecht und Charakter (Sex and Character), which gained popularity following his suicide by gunshot, became a sourcebook for anti-Semitic propagandists. Some of his writings were used by Nazi propaganda.
Hans Kelsen was an Austria-born jurist, legal philosopher and writer on international law, known especially for his Pure Theory of Law and his defense of democracy. Author of the 1920 Austrian Constitution, he left his homeland in 1930 due to rising totalitarianism. He went to the USA, where he taught at well-known universities, concurrently producing important works like Principles of International Law.
Ingeborg Bachmann completed her PhD and worked as an editor and scriptwriter before plunging into full-time writing. The Gruppe 47 member was known for depicting the trauma of women characters who had failed in relationships. She is best remembered for her poems and her lyrical novel Malina.
Alfred Schutz was an Austrian philosopher and social phenomenologist. He is recognized as one of the leading philosophers of social science in the 20th century. A lawyer by qualification, he had a prominent career in international banking and did academic work in his spare time. Philosopher Edmund Husserl described him as “a banker by day and a philosopher by night.”
Paul Watzlawick was an Austrian-American psychologist and philosopher, specializing in family therapy and communication theory. The most influential figure in the Palo Alto Mental Research Institute, he worked extensively on how communication is effected within families and proposed Interactional View Theory. Paul Watzlawick authored 22 books and more than 150 articles and book chapters. His books have been translated into 80 languages
Richard von Mises was an Austrian Jewish scientist and mathematician. He is known for his work on solid mechanics, aerodynamics, aeronautics, fluid mechanics, and probability theory. He was the Gordon McKay Professor of Aerodynamics and Applied Mathematics at Harvard University. He is the one who proposed the now-famous "birthday problem" in probability theory. He was married to mathematician Hilda Geiringer.
Otto Neurath was an Austrian-born philosopher of science, political economist, and sociologist. He is known for inventing the ISOTYPE method of pictorial statistics. A native of Vienna, he was one of the leading figures of the Vienna Circle. As an economist, he advocated for ideas like "in-kind" economic accounting in place of monetary accounting.
Erik Maria Ritter von Kuehnelt-Leddihn was an Austrian socio-political theorist and journalist, who described himself as a “liberal of the extreme right”. Credited with four novels and six socio-political works, apart from numerous articles and collaborations, he started writing for The Spectator magazine at the age of sixteen. Also a polyglot having encyclopedic knowledge, he could read twenty-five languages and speak in eight.
Jean Améry went from being a prisoner at the Auschwitz labor camp to being one of the finest essayists of the post-war era. His best-known work, At the Mind's Limits, depicts his experiences during World War II. He eventually committed suicide by consuming sleeping pills in a Salzburg hotel.
Austrian philosopher Alexius Meinong is best remembered for his work on the theory of values and the theory of objects. He introduced four classes of objects and penned the iconic work Über Annahmen, discussing the assumptions people make when they decide if they know or don’t know about something.
Born in Austria, to a merchant father who loved collecting paintings, Wolfgang Paalen had been exposed to arts since childhood. He later trained in painting and archaeology and joined the Surrealist movement. His signature fumage technique involved creating art with the smoke and soot from candles. He later settled in Mexico.
Austrian philosopher and sociologist Othmar Spann initially taught in Brünn and then fought during World War I. He later taught at the University of Vienna for almost 2 decades. His ideas were radically anti-liberal. A Nazi Party member, he believed in the superiority of a corporate state.
One of the pioneers of Gestalt psychology, Austrian philosopher Christian von Ehrenfels also made a significant contribution to the value theory. Apart from his pathbreaking work System of Value Theory, he had also penned plays and pamphlets. He also believed Asians were a threat to the European race.
Friedrich von Hügel, also known as Baron von Hügel, believed in Roman Catholicism but was tolerant of other views, too, making him a significant figure of Modernist Christian theology. He believed a middle path between religion and science could be reached. The Mystical Element of Religion remains his best-known work.
Carl Grünberg was a German Marxist philosopher of law and history. He studied law in Strasbourg and practiced as an advocate. He then proceeded to study political economy in Vienna and eventually became an academic reader. He was one of the founders of Austromarxism. He became the director of the Institute for Social Research in 1924.
Gustav Ratzenhofer was an Austrian philosopher, officer, and sociologist. Ratzenhofer left his military career to devote his time to study sociology and philosophy. He then went on to become a respected sociologist and was counted among the founding fathers of policy sociology in the United States of America.