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Aesthetics as grammar: Wittgenstein and post-analytic philosophy of art
Uppsala University, Department of Aesthetics.
1998 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This work attempts to assess the significance of Ludwig Wittgenstein's later thought for philosophical aesthetics, both by showing its direct relevance and by criticizing certain prevalent misunderstandings of it. Chapter one deals with the application to philosophical aesthetics of the idea that philosophy is concerned with a grammatical investigation, which means clarification of concepts as well as therapeutical analysis of various philosophical diseases. This conception is developed with reference to Ben Tilghman's and Stanley Cavell's work, and it is contrasted to the prevailing understanding of Wittgenstein within analytic aesthetics. In the following chapters this approach is brought to bear on some central problems in philosophical aesthetics.

The second chapter discusses and criticizes Arthur Danto's idea that a theory-dependent interpretation would be required for a thing to be "transfigured" into a work of art. Wittgenstein's remarks on aspect perception will be used to counter these claims and help us get a clearer view of the problems at issue.

Chapter three shows how Wittgenstein's appeal to "aesthetic reactions" can offer an alternative to such an interpretive view of understanding. The first part of the chapter deals with the relation of the notion of aesthetic reactions to that of "primitive reactions", the appeal to which has a central but frequently misunderstood role in Wittgenstein's later philosophy. The second part is devoted to showing how aesthetic reactions are involved in our traffic with art. The fourth chapter explores the close connection between understanding art and understanding human beings, which is highlighted through the idea of an "attitude" (Einstellung). Understanding this kind of attitude proves to be of utmost importance if we want to describe how the nature of our involvement with works of art is similar to our relations to persons. Thus chapters three and four attempt to show that the problem of understanding is practical in its nature, having to do with how we can come to react to objects as works of art and how they can come to play an important role in our lives and be objects of attitudes typical of our relation to art.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Uppsala: Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis , 1998. , xxi, [1], 298 p.
Keyword [en]
Keyword [sv]
National Category
Other Humanities not elsewhere specified
Research subject
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-1152ISBN: 99-2509567-0OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-1152DiVA: diva2:160702
Public defence
1998-02-21, Vasasalen, Uppsala Castle, Uppsala, 10:15
Available from: 1998-01-31 Created: 1998-01-31Bibliographically approved

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