In this study we offer a new way of applying Kendall Walton’s theory of make-believe to musical experiences in terms of psychologically inhibited games of make-believe, which Walton attributes chiefly to ornamental representations. Reading Walton’s theory somewhat against the grain, and supplementing our discussion with a set of instructive examples, we argue that there is clear theoretical gain in explaining certain important aspects of composition and performance in terms of psychologically inhibited games of make-believe consisting of two interlaced game-worlds. Such (...) complex games can accommodate a continuous rich spectrum of congruent modes of listening, which broaches both the formalist-type and the narrativist-type. We conclude that this sort of oblique reading of Walton’s original theory actually complements and completes Walton’s recent theoretic angle concerning thoughtwriting in music by way of affording it with a suitable conception for a mechanism of appropriation for music. (shrink)
Susanne Langer’s idea of the primary apparition of music involves a dichotomy between two kinds of temporality: “felt time” and “clock time.” For Langer, musical time is exclusively felt time, and in this sense, music is “time made audible.” However, Langer also postulates what we would call ‘a strong suspension thesis’: the swallowing up of clock time in the illusion of felt time. In this paper we take issue with the ‘strong suspension thesis’ and its implications and ramifications regarding not (...) only musical meaning, but also the purported metaphysics of music construed as essentially inhering in felt time. We argue that this thesis is overstated and misdirecting insofar as it purports to describe what we experience when we hear music with understanding. We discuss a selection of examples of repetitive formations, from mediaeval music to contemporary music, which show that persistent, motion-inhibiting repetition undermines the listener’s ability to identify order and coherence due to a relative inability to anticipate the next occurrence of a differentiating musical event. We argue that Langer’s one-sided view of musical temporality, which patently relies on the conceptual framework of memory time and the specious present, exemplifies what we propose to call ‘the searchlight model of musical understanding,’ wherein the constant span of illumination of the searchlight (representing the span of the specious present) moves continuously parallel to, and along, its postulated target, i.e., the music heard, as it ‘illuminates’ it. We argue that, in the last analysis, memory time conceptually presupposes the publicly identifiable means of chronometric length. One maintains the ‘strong suspension thesis’ on pain of conceptual confusion. (shrink)
Wittgenstein’s experiments on rhythm, conducted in Charles Myers’s laboratory in Cambridge during the years 1912–13, are his earliest recorded engagement in thinking about music, not just appreciating it, and philosophizing by means of musical thinking. In this essay, I set these experiments within their appropriate intellectual, scientific, and philosophical context in order to show that, its minor scientific importance notwithstanding, this onetime excursion into empirical research provided an early onset for Wittgenstein’s career-long exploration of the philosophically pervasive implications of aspects. (...) Dramatically moving beyond the conceptual limitations, which were inscribed by Charles Myers’s scientific program, Wittgenstein got a glimpse of a philosophical angle, which was bound to become very important to him not only in aesthetics, but also for his overarching philosophical development. He became interested in what we actually do when we re-phrase, compare, come up with good similes in order to illuminate something definite within the space of possibility, so a new aspect may come to life. (shrink)
This article concerns the distinction between memory-time and information-time, which appeared in Wittgenstein’s middle-period lectures and writings, and its relation to Wittgenstein’s career-long reflection about musical understanding. While the idea of “information-time” entails a public frame of reference typically pertaining to objects which persist in physical time, the idea of pure “memory-time” involves the totality of one’s present memories and expectations that do now provide any way of measuring time-spans. I argue that Wittgenstein’s critique of Augustine notion of pure memory-time (...) entails ipso facto a critique of an influential idea of musical motion, which has been recurring in the work of some major philosophers of music up until the present day. The article connects Wittgenstein’s critical remarks on the confused foundations of such “Augustinian Picture of Music” with his emphasis on the notion of phrasing or characterization in language and music. Wittgenstein’s reversal of Augustinian priorities regarding musical time brings to surface the particularity of expression and the aesthetically “right” in music, evoked by Wittgenstein’s remarks on simultaneity and tempo in music and language. Wittgenstein renders musical simultaneity as enabled by a “protocol” which inheres in musizieren, in the aptly collaborative quest for drawing in significance by means of the phrasing and re-phrasing of a passage in order to characterize it, enabling by means of such comparative investigation meaningful distinctions between right and wrong. (shrink)
In this paper I explain Wittgenstein’s ambivalent remarks on the music of Gustav Mahler in their proper musico-philosophical context. I argue that these remarks are connected to Wittgenstein’s hybrid conception of musical decline and to his tripartite scheme of modern music. I also argue that Mahler’s conundrum was indicative of Wittgenstein’s grappling with his own predicament as a philosopher, and that this gives concrete sense to Wittgenstein’s admission that music was so important to him that without it he was sure (...) to be misunderstood. (shrink)
Wittgenstein’s later remarks on music, those written after his return to Cambridge in 1929 in increasing intensity, frequency, and elaboration, occupy a unique place in the annals of the philosophy of music, which is rarely acknowledged or discussed in the scholarly literature. These remarks reflect and emulate the spirit and subject matter of Romantic thinking about music, but also respond to it critically, while at the same time they interweave into Wittgenstein’s forward thinking about the philosophic entanglements of language and (...) the mind, and also his pervasive pessimism as a philosopher of culture. In this essay I explore and explicate some of the major tenets of this unique position. I argue that Wittgenstein appropriates the Romantic focus on the specificity of musical expression by means of the idea that gesture consists in complex vertical interrelations between language games. Understanding what a musical passage is about logically presupposes a myriad of correlate moves in the entire range of our language-games. Wittgenstein explicates the notion of musical aboutness in terms of intransitive understanding, which expresses an internal relation conjoining musical gesture and our culture, our entire life in practice, whereupon the related concepts cannot be identified independently of the relation which holds them together. Wittgenstein responds to the Romantic focus on the unique knowledge of human life which is afforded by musical experience with his idiosyncratic later notion of Menschenkenntnis. I conclude that, in the context of Wittgenstein’s late work, ineffability pertaining to musical meaning is not a shortcoming, but rather constitutional of the type of games, which admit what Wittgenstein calls ‘imponderable evidence’, or indefiniteness. (shrink)
This article explains Wittgenstein's distinction between good, bad, and vacuous modern music which he introduced in a diary entry from January 27, 1931. I situate Wittgenstein's discussion in the context of Oswald Spengler's ideas concerning the decline of Western culture, which informed Wittgenstein's philosophical progress during his middle period, and I argue that the music theory of Heinrich Schenker, and Wittgenstein's critique thereof, served as an immediate link between Spengler's cultural pessimism and Wittgenstein's threefold distinction. I conclude that Wittgenstein's distinction (...) between bad and vacuous modern music is analogous to Schenker's distinction between the compositional fallacies of the progressive and the reactionary composers of his time. Concomitantly, Wittgenstein's philosophically problematic notion of good modern music transcended the conceptual framework of both Schenker and Spengler. In this context, I examine Wittgenstein's remarks on Gustav Mahler as well as his remark on the music of the future as monophony, which, I conclude, should be understood ultimately as an ellipsis of his much later view of musical meaning and intelligibility. (shrink)
The current debate concerning musical profundity was instigated, and set up by Peter Kivy in his book Music Alone (1990) as part of his comprehensive defense of enhanced formalism, a position he championed vigorously throughout his entire career. Kivy’s view of music led him to maintain utter skepticism regarding musical profundity. The scholarly debate that ensued centers on the question whether or not (at least some) music can be profound. In this study I would like to take the opportunity to (...) relate Wittgenstein’s ideas on music to this current debate, thereby achieving a twofold goal: not only to reintroduce Wittgenstein’s ideas into the current debate, but also to use the current debate as a foil to better appreciating Wittgenstein’s otherness as a philosopher of music. I argue that Wittgenstein’s unique philosophical response to the Romantic framing of the discourse concerning musical profundity —specifically, its threefold emphasis on the specificity, aboutness, and artistically exalted status of music— occasioned a view, which was bound to be glossed over by a philosophical tradition, whose origins had made it inimical to Wittgenstein’s original philosophical insights. I conclude that, in a sense, Wittgenstein occasions a paradigm shift by his philosophical thrust to undo the gravitational forces which form the current debate: the very idea of aboutness pertaining to music, and the very idea that a clear line could ever be drawn between music and language. (shrink)
In this paper we explain Wittgenstein’s claim in a 1933 lecture that “aesthetics like psychoanalysis doesn’t explain anything away.” The discussions of aesthetics are distinctive: Wittgenstein gives a positive account of the relationship between aesthetics and psychoanalysis, as contrasted with psychology. And we follow not only his distinction between cause and reason, but also between hypothesis and representation, along with his use of the notion of ideals as facilitators of aesthetic discourse. We conclude that aesthetics, like psychoanalysis, preserves the verifying (...) phenomena in their fullness. (shrink)
Georg Henrik von Wright was not only the first interpreter of Wittgenstein, who argued that Spengler’s work had reinforced and helped Wittgenstein to articulate his view of life, but also the first to consider seriously that Wittgenstein’s attitude to his times makes him unique among the great philosophers, that the philosophical problems which Wittgenstein was struggling, indeed his view of the nature of philosophy, were somehow connected with features of our culture or civilization. -/- In this paper I draw inspiration (...) and courage from Von Wright’s insistence that trying to understand Wittgenstein in relation to his times is a philosophic task in its own right in order to probe into a relatively obscure region in Wittgenstein’s thought: his relation to the music of his times. It is a topic, on which Von Wright, and most other prominent Wittgenstein scholars, have said very little, but it is also one, which Wittgenstein himself attested was so important to him that he felt without it he was sure to be misunderstood. -/- I offer textual and historical evidence in support of my claim that, parallel to Wittgenstein’s exposure to Spengler’s Decline of the West in 1930, he was also introduced to the music theory of Heinrich Schenker, which helped him to articulate, partly by way of critique, a complex and unique position concerning the modern music of his times, which exhibits his rejection of what Von Wright later dubbed ‘the myth of progress’. As Von Wright observed in other regions of Wittgenstein’s work, he believed also with regards to the arts and to music in particular, neither in a brilliant future nor in the good old days. -/- I argue that Wittgenstein actually made a distinction between three kinds of modern music: (a) bad modern music, which is clearly a case of confusing means for ends, the hallmark of the myth of progress, as Von Wright observed; (b) vacuous modern music, which embodies some sort of diffidence, a difficulty to see through the omnipresence of what Von Wright called (following Habermas) a ‘colonialization’ of reified measures of progress; (c) good modern music, a paradoxical notion for Wittgenstein, which betokens the unlikely yet possible striving to penetrate through what appears as dissolution of the resemblances which unite this culture’s ways of life by rendering this condition as expressible and intransitively understandable. In the context of this third category, I offer an interpretation of Wittgenstein’s complex remarks on the music of Gustav Mahler, which palpably show that the problem of good modern music and the problem of philosophizing in the time of civilization were one and the same in Wittgenstein’s mind. -/- I conclude that, with regards to Von Wright’s own critical view of the modern myth of progress, we can learn from Wittgenstein that progress in the realm of art is closely aligned with the ideal of the perfection of man, yet transcending a social or political context. It is the ideal of cultural cohesion: affinity that the arts show to other human practices and cultural artifacts of its period. Wittgenstein’s tentative notion of good modern music (and its circumscription by his notion of the music of the future) may show its true colors when viewed in the context of Von Wright’s plea not to abandon work for progress as a critical task. (shrink)
Ludwig Wittgenstein's life and writings attest the extraordinary importance that the art of music had for him. It would be fair to say even that among the great philosophers of the twentieth century he was one of the most musically sensitive. Wittgenstein’s Denkbewegungen contains some of his most unique remarks on music, which bear witness not only to the level of his engagement in thinking about music, but also to the intimate connection in his mind between musical acculturation, the perils (...) of modernity, and the challenge, which was very personal to Wittgenstein, of philosophizing amidst what he believed was a dissolution of the resemblances which unite his culture’s ways of life. In particular, Denkbewegungen contains unique remarks on modern music, the problem of Gustav Mahler’s music, and the music of the future. Also, it contains, among other things, some unusually forward-looking remarks on the differences between Brahms and Bruckner, which both probe deeply into the nature of musical creativity and anticipate his later philosophical move beyond the inner/outer divide in his last writings. I shall offer a close reading of Wittgenstein’s remarks on music in Denkbewegungen, which situates them in the broader context of his philosophical development in his middle-period and beyond. I aim to show the deep integration of Wittgenstein’s thinking about music with his philosophical development, his deep sense of cultural lamentation, and his development as a person and as a philosophical expositor. (shrink)
This article challenges a widespread assumption, arguing that Wittgenstein and the Austrian composer Arnold Schoenberg had little in common beyond their shared cultural heritage, overlapping social circles in fin-de-ciecle Vienna. The article explores Wittgenstein's aesthetic inclinations and the intellectual and philosophical influences that may have reinforced them. The article culminates in an attempt to form a Wittgensteinian response to Schoenberg's dodecaphonic language and to answer the question as to why Wittgenstein and Schoenberg arrived at very different ideas about contemporary music (...) and the music of the future. (shrink)
Ornamentality is pervasive in the new media and it is related to their essential characteristics: dispersal, hypertextuality, interactivity, digitality and virtuality. I utilize Kendall Walton's theory of ornamentality in order to construe a puzzle pertaining to the new media. the ornamental erosion of information. I argue that insofar as we use the new media as conduits of real life, the excessive density of ornamental devices which is prevalent in certain new media environments, forces us to conduct our inquiries under conditions (...) of neustic uncertainty, that is, uncertainty concerning the kind of relationship we, the users, have to the propositional content mediated. I suggest that this puzzle calls upon us to consider what would be a viable logic of virtual discovery. (shrink)
I explore and outline Wittgenstein's original response to the Romantic discourse concerning musical depth, from his middle-period on. Schopenhauer and Spengler served as immediate sources for Wittgenstein's reliance on Romantic metaphors of depth concerning music. The onset for his philosophic intervention in the discourse was his critique of Schenker's view of music and his general shift toward the 'anthropological view', which occurred at the same time. In his post-PI period Wittgenstein was able to reimagine musical depth in terms of vertically (...) interrelated language-games which facilitate Menschenkenntnis. (shrink)
In this paper I suggest that, over and above the need to explore and understand the technological newness of computer art works, there is a need to address the aesthetic signiﬁcance of the changes and effects that such technological newness brings about, considering the whole environmental transaction pertaining to new media, including what they can or do offer and what users do or can do with such offerings, and how this whole package is integrated into our living spaces and activities. (...) I argue that, given the primacy of computer-based interaction in the new-media, the notion of ‘ornamentality’ indicates the ground-ﬂoor aesthetics of new-media environments. I locate ornamentality not only in the logically constitutive principles of the new-media (hypertextuality and interactivity) but also in their multiform cultural embodiments (decoration as cultural interface). I utilize Kendall Walton’s theory of ornamentality in order to construe a puzzle pertaining to the ornamental erosion of information in new-media environments. I argue that insofar as we consider new-media to be conduits of ‘real-life’, the excessive density of ornamental devices prevalent in certain new-media environments forces us to conduct our inquiries under conditions of neustic uncertainty, that is, uncertainty concerning the kind of relationship that we, the users, have to the propositional content mediated. I conclude that this puzzle calls our attention to a peculiar interrogatory complexity inherent in any game of knowledge-seeking conducted across the infosphere, which is not restricted to the simplest form of data retrieval, especially in mixed-reality environments and when the knowledge sought is embodied mimetically. (shrink)
Wittgenstein’s thinking on music is intimately linked to core issues in his work on the philosophy of psychology. I argue that inasmuch musical experience exemplifies the kind of grammatical complexity that is indigenous to aspect perception and, in general, to concepts that are based on physiognomy, it is rendered by Wittgenstein as a form of knowledge, namely, knowledge of mankind.
This paper is an elaborate response to Stanely Cavell's suggestion that Schoenberg's idea of the 12-tone row is a serviceable image of Wittgenstein's idea of grammar. I argue that this suggestion underplays what must be a major premise in any argument for yoking Wittgenstein and Schoenberg: Wittgenstein's philosophically entrenched rejection of modern music. I consider this omission in the context of Wittgenstein's idiosyncratic emulation of Schenker's theory of music in order to facilitate a direct comparison between Wittgenstein's and Schoenberg's sharply (...) contrasted visions of the music of the future. I conclude that Cavell's suggestion is ultimately misleading. (shrink)
Most commentators have underplayed the philosophical importance of Wittgenstein's multifarious remarks on music, which are scattered throughout his Nachlass. In this dissertation I spell out the extent and depth of Wittgenstein's engagement with certain problems that are regarded today as central to the field of the aesthetics of music, such as musical temporality, expression and understanding. By considering musical expression in its relation to aspect-perception, I argue that Wittgenstein understands music in terms of a highly evolved, vertically complex physiognomic language-game, (...) in which fine shades of behavior are logically (semantically) connected with the musical experiences themselves. A musical passage conjoins the multifarious language games that are presupposed in it and the emerging gesture that ultimately insinuates itself into our life. Wittgenstein conceives music as a mode of expression, a path leading from the world of our thoughts and feelings, which in itself is not yet music, toward a gesture which is no longer music, but which belongs to the world of thoughts and feelings. A melody can be located at this crossroads of music, language and the world, and is understood in reciprocal action with language. Musical gesture insinuates itself into our life, for, like a human face, it speaks of and reflects our "knowledge of mankind," and it is ultimately understood only against the background of "the bustle of life," as Wittgenstein calls it. I also argue that Wittgenstein's discussion of musical understanding suggests an important model, albeit not an exclusive one, for understanding language. The musicality of language points first and foremost at the way we use words in the vertically complex language game of expression, and at the intransitive understanding that goes with it. Throughout the dissertation I address a number of unique topics that have rarely, if ever, been investigated in this context. These include inter alia Wittgenstein's 1912-1913 experiments on the perception of rhythm, Oswald Spengler's influence on Wittgenstein's remarks on music, Wittgenstein's reaction to Heinrich Schenker's view of music, and the complex, elusive relation between Wittgenstein's later philosophical views and Arnold Schoenberg's dodecaphonic music. (shrink)
This introduction to aesthetics provides a layered treatment of both the historical background and contemporary debates in aesthetics. Extensive cross-referencing shows how issues in aesthetics intersect with other branches of philosophy and other fields that study the arts. Aesthetics A-Z is an ideal guide for newcomers to the field of aesthetics and a useful reference for more advanced students of philosophy, art history, media studies and the performing arts.
Ist es Aufgabe der Medizinethik und medizinethischer Kommissionen, moralische Urteile von der Art zu fällen, dass eine Handlung oder Praktik, wie der assistierte Suizid, moralisch richtig oder legitim ist? Der folgende Beitrag argumentiert dafür, dass sich die Medizinethik solcher Urteile enthalten sollte. Seine These ist, dass die Aufgabe der Medizinethik nicht in moralischen Bewertungen, sondern in der Reflexion auf diejenigen Güter, Tugenden und Pflichten besteht, die bei einer solchen Handlung oder Praktik auf dem Spiel stehen. In diesem Sinne übt er (...) Kritik an einer verbreiteten Auffassung von Moral und Ethik. (shrink)
ZusammenfassungIst es Aufgabe der Medizinethik und medizinethischer Kommissionen, moralische Urteile von der Art zu fällen, dass eine Handlung oder Praktik, wie der assistierte Suizid, moralisch richtig oder legitim ist? Der folgende Beitrag argumentiert dafür, dass sich die Medizinethik solcher Urteile enthalten sollte. Seine These ist, dass die Aufgabe der Medizinethik nicht in moralischen Bewertungen, sondern in der Reflexion auf diejenigen Güter, Tugenden und Pflichten besteht, die bei einer solchen Handlung oder Praktik auf dem Spiel stehen. In diesem Sinne übt er (...) Kritik an einer verbreiteten Auffassung von Moral und Ethik. (shrink)
There is a plurality of good reasons for action. An adequate theory of practical rationality has to be compatible with it even if it requires certain modifications of our everyday practices of reasoning. Usual theories of practical rationality do not pass this test. It is envisaged how to revise adequately our understanding of practical rationality.
The fact that Peter Singer was prevented from lecturing in Germany as well as the fact that the discussion of his book ,Practical Ethics, was rendered impossible raises important questions about freedom. Surprisingly some philosophers have joined the political factions which strive to suppress free discussion. In this quite polemical article some of their views are rejected. The only way to weed out error is free discussion.
In acting within large groups the single actor typically suffers from the symptom of irrelevance of his contribution. A single contributory effect may be extremely small or, due to 'threshold effects', even non-existent. Given such conditions not only self-interested action, also purely altruistically motivated contribution seems to be rendered irrational. The article reasons that the famous 'principles of generalization' are of no help on this problem. However, a 'principle of division' could be used in show-ing that in many situations of (...) collective action altruistically motivated contribution is rationally sound. (shrink)
In der Diskussion über Ökonomisierung im Gesundheitswesen werden oft wesentliche Begriffsunterscheidungen außer Acht gelassen. Um feststellen zu können, in welchem Fall die Rede von Ökonomisierung oder Ökonomismus im negativen Sinn angemessen ist, muss zwischen dem Gesellschaftsbereich Wirtschaft und der ökonomischen Dimension in allen Gesellschaftsbereichen (wie dem Gesundheitswesen) unterschieden werden. Es muss geklärt werden, wo ökonomische Ziele verfolgt werden sollen und wo andere Ziele mit ökonomischen Mitteln verfolgt werden sollen. Im Blick auf die Frage nach einer Marktsteuerung des Gesundheitswesens ist zu (...) unterscheiden zwischen dem Gut Gesundheit und Gesundheitsgütern sowie zwischen öffentlichen, privaten und meritorischen Gütern. Außerdem ist die Frage nach einer Marktsteuerung des Gesundheitswesens zu unterscheiden von der Frage nach der Verwendung marktwirtschaftlicher Instrumente zur Steuerung des Umgangs mit bestimmten Gesundheitsgütern durch den Staat. Erst diese begrifflichen Differenzierungen können zu einer angemesseneren Beurteilung der komplexen wirtschaftsethischen Fragen jenseits von wirtschaftsfeindlichen oder ökonomistischen, von marktfeindlichen oder marktradikalen Ideologien führen. (shrink)
Why are children better language learners than adults despite being worse at a range of other cognitive tasks? Here, we explore the role of multiword sequences in explaining L1–L2 differences in learning. In particular, we propose that children and adults differ in their reliance on such multiword units in learning, and that this difference affects learning strategies and outcomes, and leads to difficulty in learning certain grammatical relations. In the first part, we review recent findings that suggest that MWUs play (...) a facilitative role in learning. We then discuss the implications of these findings for L1–L2 differences: We hypothesize that adults are both less likely to extract MWUs and less capable of benefiting from them in the process of learning. In the next section, we draw on psycholinguistic, developmental, and computational findings to support these predictions. We end with a discussion of the relation between this proposal and other accounts of L1–L2 difficulty. (shrink)
The ability to convey our thoughts using an infinite number of linguistic expressions is one of the hallmarks of human language. Understanding the nature of the psychological mechanisms and representations that give rise to this unique productivity is a fundamental goal for the cognitive sciences. A long-standing hypothesis is that single words and rules form the basic building blocks of linguistic productivity, with multiword sequences being treated as units only in peripheral cases such as idioms. The new millennium, however, has (...) seen a shift toward construing multiword linguistic units not as linguistic rarities, but as important building blocks for language acquisition and processing. This shift—which originated within theoretical approaches that emphasize language learning and use—has far-reaching implications for theories of language representation, processing, and acquisition. Incorporating multiword units as integral building blocks blurs the distinction between grammar and lexicon; calls for models of production and comprehension that can accommodate and give rise to the effect of multiword information on processing; and highlights the importance of such units to learning. In this special topic, we bring together cutting-edge work on multiword sequences in theoretical linguistics, first-language acquisition, psycholinguistics, computational modeling, and second-language learning to present a comprehensive overview of the prominence and importance of such units in language, their possible role in explaining differences between first- and second-language learning, and the challenges the combined findings pose for theories of language. (shrink)