Estetika 58 (1):72–88 (2021)

Clinton P. Verdonschot
University of Essex (PhD)
Why is aesthetics important to Wittgenstein? What, according to him, is the function of the aesthetic? My answer consists of three parts: first, I argue that Wittgenstein finds himself in an aporia of normative consciousness – that is to say, a problem with regard to our awareness of the world in terms of its relation to a norm. Second, I argue that the function of Wittgenstein’s aesthetic writings is to deal with this aporia. Third, through a comparison with Friedrich Schlegel’s writings on allegory, I try to show that the way in which Wittgenstein resolves the aporia renders him a Romanticist philosopher. The point of an aesthetic interaction, for Wittgenstein, is that it can render clear what cannot be described without running against the walls of our cage: the absolute. Through aesthetic interactions we are able to (indirectly) access a ground for norms by which we experience ourselves as unconditionally bound.
Keywords Wittgenstein  style  Schlegel  allegory  aesthetic reasons  ethical norms
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