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The emergence of Wittgenstein’s views on aesthetics in the 1933 lectures

Schroeder, S. (2020) The emergence of Wittgenstein’s views on aesthetics in the 1933 lectures. Estetica: The Central European Journal of Aesthetics, 57 (1). pp. 5-14. ISSN 0014-1291

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To link to this item DOI: 10.33134/eeja.25


In this paper I offer a genetic account of how Wittgenstein developed his ideas on aesthetics in his 1933 lectures. He argued that the word ‘beautiful’ is neither the name of a particular perceptible quality, nor the name of whatever produces a certain psychological effect, and unlike ‘good’, it does not stand for a family-resemblance concept either. Rather, the word ‘beautiful’ has different meanings in different contexts as we apply it according to different criteria. However, in more advanced regions of aesthetics the word ‘beautiful’ ceases to play an important role. Instead, we judge things to be more or less correct according to genre-specific standards or criteria, which in an aesthetic discussion are presupposed, rather than argued for. Finally, Wittgenstein came to realise that providing support for an aesthetic appraisal according to some given criteria is not the only and perhaps not even the main focus of aesthetic discussion. More interesting to him became the idea of a puzzle or perplexity in aesthetics, which he discussed in greater detail in his 1938 lectures.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Arts, Humanities and Social Science > School of Humanities > Philosophy
ID Code:87549
Publisher:Helsinki University Press


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