This essay examines the profound affinities between Wittgenstein and the historical Socrates. The first five sections argue that similarities between their personalities and circumstances can explain a comparable pattern of philosophical development. The next nine show that many apparently chance similarities between the two men's lives and receptions can be explained by their shared conceptions ofphilosophical method. The last three sections consider the difficulty of practising this method through writing, and examine the solutions which Plato and Wittgenstein adopted.
An attitude which hopes to derive aesthetic pleasure from an object is often thought to be in tension with an attitude which hopes to derive knowledge from it. The current article argues that this alleged conflict only makes sense when the aesthetic attitude and knowledge are construed unnaturally narrowly, and that when both are correctly understood there is no tension between them. To do this, the article first proposes a broad and satisfying account of the aesthetic attitude, and then considers (...) and rejects twelve reasons for thinking that deriving knowledge from something is incompatible with maintaining an aesthetic attitude towards it. Two main conclusions are drawn. 1) That the representational arts are often in a good position to communicate non-propositional knowledge about human beings. 2) That while our desire to obtain pleasure from a work's manifest properties, and our desire to obtain knowledge from it, are not the same motive, the formal similarities between them are sufficiently impressive to warrant both being seen as elements of the aesthetic attitude. (shrink)
Goethe and Wittgenstein -- Criticism without theory -- Wittgenstein's romantic inheritance -- Arnold and the socratic personality -- The dissolution of goodness : measure for measure and classical ethics -- Lamarque and Olsen on literature and truth -- The definition of 'art' -- Poetry and abstraction -- Larkin's 'Aubade'.
Fakes fall into two categories: copies and pastiches. The first is exemplified when someone paints a reproduction of Manet's The Fifer with the intention of selling it to you as the original. The second is exemplified when someone paints a picture in the style of Manet – although not a reproduction of one of his actual works – with the intention of selling it to you as a picture by Manet.
Besides its intrinsic interest, the definition of ‘game’ is important for three reasons. Firstly, in Wittgenstein's Philosophical Investigations ‘game’ is the paradigm family resemblance concept. If he is wrong in thinking that ‘game’ cannot be defined, then the persuasive force of his argument against definition generally will be considerably weakened. This, in its turn, will have important consequences for our understanding of concepts and philosophical method. Secondly, Wittgenstein's later writings are full of analogies drawn from games—chess alone is mentioned scores (...) of times—and a proper understanding of ‘game’ can lead us to exercise more caution when considering the parallels between games and non-games. Thirdly, games and play are intriguingly and closely related to art and ritual, and an analysis of games can throw considerable light on both of the latter. (shrink)
In Fiction, Truth and Literature, Lamarque and Olsen argue that if a critic claims or attempts to prove that the outlook of a work of literature is true or false, he is not engaging in literary or aesthetic appreciation. This paper argues against this position by adducing cases where literary critics discuss the truth or falsity of a work’s view, when their opinions are obviously relevant to the work’s aesthetic assessment. The paper considers in detail the way factual errors damage (...) a work’s aesthetic standing, and shows that Lamarque and Olsen’s alternative account of the role of propositional truths in literature only looks plausible because it considers a restricted range of examples. Finally, it considers the role intention, date and genre play in discussions of the aesthetic damage done by literal falsehood. (shrink)
The first half of this article argues that, like judgments as to whether something smells or tastes good, judgments about works of art ultimately depend on an element of subjective response. However, it shows that, unlike gustatory or olfactory judgments, we can argue meaningfully about our experience of works of art because they have _parts<D>. Because works of art have parts these can be patterned by the imagination, and this patterning can be influenced by what is said to us. The (...) second half considers five conditions that must be met before someone is entitled to assert, 'This is a good poem,' rather than simply, 'I like this poem now.' Finally, the last section considers why a report of an ultimately subjective response is disguised in everyday usage as an objective judgment. (shrink)
I argue that the Preface to Wittgenstein’s Philosophical Investigations represents a form of preface found in several other major works of Romanticism. In essence, this kind of preamble says: ‘I have tried very hard to write a work of the following conventional type … . I failed, and have thus been compelled to publish, with some reluctance, the following fragmentary, eccentric, unfinished or otherwise unsatisfactory work.’ It sometimes transpires, however, that a work which appeared unfinished and unsatisfactory to the author (...) and his contemporaries, later comes to be seen as both complete and startlingly original. Indeed, not initially recognizing what you have achieved is sometimes a mark of the greatness-through-originality so highly prized by Romantic writers. Besides the Investigations, I concentrate on Coleridge’s Preface to ‘Kubla Khan’, and the first 269 lines of Wordsworth’s Prelude (in both the 1805 and 1850 versions), discussing exactly why all three authors found their projects so recalcitrant, why their solutions were so original, and why the magnitude of their achievements was not appreciated from the first. I end with some reflections on why Wittgenstein’s work on aesthetics, the aesthetic impact of his work, and the cognitive impact of his work should not be separated. (shrink)
The influence of Goethe on Wittgenstein is just beginning to be appreciated. Hacker and Baker, Westphal, Monk, and Haller have all drawn attention to significant affinities between the two men's work, and the number of explicit citations of Goethe in Wittgenstein's texts supports the idea that we are not dealing simply with a matter of deeplying similarities of aim and method, but of direct and major influence. These scholarly developments are encouraging because they help to place Wittgenstein's work within an (...) important tradition of German letters which goes far beyond his contemporaries and immediate forebears in Vienna; and they show that Wittgenstein's profound interest in literature and music is ceasing to be merely a matter of biographical anecdote, and is being used to illuminate some of the most central areas of his work. (shrink)
A number of writers have noted affinities between the form and style of Wittgenstein′s Philosophical Investigations and the Christian confessional tradition. 1 , 2 In this paper, however, If the Christian tradition, than of the Christian inheritance refracted through, and secularized by, German Romanticism. I shall argue that Wittgenstein′s work is less a direct continuation on this context, not only do many of the features of the Investigations which seem eccentric or wilful become naturalized, but light is also thrown on (...) Wittgenstein′s claim that the twentieth and late nineteenth century play no part in his spiritual makeup, and that his ‘cultural ideal’ derives from ‘Schumann′s time.’ 3. (shrink)
This essay explores a modern American poem—its verse form, imagery, diction, and rhythm, and, in particular, its cultural echoes, resonances, and overtones. I examine the poem’s explicit invocation of Apelles and crow mythology, but I also show that the implicit context from which it arises, and the one that allows it to speak with the great- est fullness and power, is work that Shakespeare wrote or published between 1606 and 1609. This context allows us to see that, at the heart (...) of the poem, lies the Shakespearean and Platonic analogy between the creation of children and the creation of intellectual work. (shrink)