Rush Rhees

Rush Rhees books and biography


Rush Rhees

Rush Rhees (19 March 1905-22 May 1989) was a philosopher at Swansea University from 1940 to 1966

He is principally known as a student, friend, and literary executor of the philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein. With G. E. M. Anscombe, he edited Wittgenstein's posthumous Philosophical Investigations (1953), a highly influential work. He was also responsible for bringing out other unpublished writings by Wittgenstein, including "Remarks on the Foundations of Mathematics", "Philosophical Remarks", and "Philosophical Grammar".


He was born in Rochester, New York, son of Rush Rhees, a Baptist minister, author and academic.

He read philosophy at the University of Rochester where his father was president, but was expelled in 1922 for insolent questions. In 1924 he left for Edinburgh where he graduated in 1928. He became a research fellow at Cambridge in 1932.

At Cambridge he impressed G. E. Moore who described him as his ablest student. Most importantly he met Wittgenstein who became a close personal friend and continued to visit him after his move to Swansea. Rush Rhees’ main claim to fame is as a Wittgenstein exegete and for his influence on his friend and colleague Peter Winch. He gave a religious and ethical understanding of Wittgenstein’s work which is how Wittgenstein himself said he wanted to be understood. Together with G. H. von Wright and G. E. M. Anscombe he was appointed by Wittgenstein as his literary executor.

After the death of his first wife he married again.

[edit Major works

  • Wittgenstein and the Possibility of Discourse (1988)
  • On Religion and Philosophy (1997)
  • Moral Questions (1999)

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