Wittgenstein and the Possibility of Aesthetics

Bigaku 55 (2):14 (2004)

From several remarks in the early works of Ludwig Wittgenstein we can derive the thesis that aesthetics as a science is necessarily impossible. The reason why such a thesis is posed is that beauty, being the central theme of aesthetics, is an absolute value, about which we cannot say anything . Although, according to Wittgenstein, the absolute value is thus essentially ineffable, he himself, nevertheless, attempts to talk about it not only negatively but also positively above all in the Lecture. How should we understand this fact? In dealing with this problem, it is particularly suggestive that in a conversation with Waismann Wittgenstein indicated the essentiality of talking about the absolute value in the first person. By regarding the talking in the first person as a solipsistic one, we could read into his words the possibility of aesthetics not as a scientific activity, but rather as a discourse on beauty which establishes the intrinsic relationship between the I and beauty; it would also be revealed, at the same time, that the question after the possibility of aesthetics can ultimately be reduced to that after the possibility of solipsism
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