• Free Will and Zhuangzi: An Introduction
    In John Perry, Michael Bratman & John Martin Fischer (eds.), Introduction to Philosophy: Classical and Contemporary Readings, Ninth Edition, Oxford University Press. pp. 460-473. forthcoming.
    In this piece, Wenzel explores how the ancient Chinese philosopher, Zhuangzi, approaches issues of freedom and moral responsibility. Zhuangzi’s writings are very different in form from traditional Western philosophy, but there is significant overlap in the treatment of freedom and moral responsibility. Distinctive of Zhuangzi’s approach is the method of “fasting of the mind,” where one is less focused on extensive practical deliberations and is more attuned to the environment and task at hand. I…Read more
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    How Representational Is the Mind? Introduction and Overview
    Philosophy East and West 71 (1): 13-37. 2021.
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    Aesthetic Education in Confucius, Xunzi, and Kant
    Yearbook for Eastern and Western Philosophy 2018 (3): 59-75. 2019.
    This essay introduces ideas from Confucius, Xunzi, the Six Dynasties, and Kant about beauty, music, morality, and what we might today call “aesthetic education.” It asks how beauty and morality are related and how they ideally should be related to each other. We know that beauty and morality can drift apart, and we may wonder how aesthetic education might work best. Should the arts be a means for developing morality? Or should it be the other way around? These questions are still relevant today.…Read more
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    Egocentricity and Mysticism: An Anthropological Study by Ernst Tugendhat (review)
    Philosophy East and West 68 (4): 1-7. 2019.
    This is a short, but complex and ambitious book. It is argumentative in style and in many places written in the first person. It appeared first in German in 2003, and in 2016 in English translation, to which the two translators added a detailed and informative introduction. The overall aim of the book is to describe and explain how human beings, as users of propositional language and with the ability to refer to themselves, develop into egocentric beings, who find themselves confronted with the …Read more
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    Reasoning with Zhuangzi
    Journal of Chinese Philosophy 44 (1-2): 71-89. 2017.
    In this essay I closely look at dialogues from the Daoist text Zhuangzi and examine their modes of reasoning. The observations, comments, and dialogues are often witty, surprising, and puzzling. Sometimes they are mystic and difficult to understand. But how “reasonable” are the answers given in these dialogues? I will focus on a dialogue from chapter 17, called “Autumn Floods.” I will closely follow and analyze the arguments and their twists. In particular, I will question the use of the word “D…Read more
  • Kant über Schönheit und Zweckmäßigkeit in der Mathematik
    Contributions of the Austrian Ludwig Wittgenstein Society 26 281-284. 2018.
    Kann Mathematik schön sein? Gibt es Leben in der Mathematik? In der Kritik der Urteilskraft (1790) untersucht Kant Prinzipien der Zweckmäßigkeit, eine subjektive Zweckmäßigkeit für die Ästhetik und eine objektive Zweckmäßigkeit für die Teleologie. Die Mathematik aber fällt bezüglich beider durch. Mathematische Gegenstände und Eigenschaften können nach Kant nicht schön sein und bei Erklärungen müssen wir keine Vorstellung von einem Zweck voraussetzen, denn wir können die Gegenstän…Read more
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    Phenomenology of Embodied Intersubjectivity: From Zhuangzi to Hermann Schmitz
    Yearbook for Eastern and Western Philosophy 2017 (2): 291-303. 2017.
    Hermann Schmitz has developed a “New Phenomenology.” It emphasizes fundamental conceptions that undercut traditional subject-object distinctions. In the Chinese classic The Zhuangzi we find stories that describe involvements and dialogue that can be seen as doing something similar. I will bring out some of these parallels. In particular I will focus on freedom and mutual understanding.
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    The Art of Doing Mathematics
    In Berys Gaut & Matthew Kieran (eds.), Creativity and Philosophy, Routledge. pp. 313-330. 2018.
    Mathematicians often say that their theorems, proofs, and theories can be beautiful. They say mathematics can be like art. They know how to move creatively and freely in their domains. But ordinary people usually cannot do this and do not share this view. They often have unpleasant memories from school and do not have this experience of freedom and creativity in doing mathematics. I myself have been a mathematician, and I wish to highlight some of the creative aspects in doing mathematics. I alw…Read more
  • On the Chow Ring of a Flag
    Mathematische Nachrichten 188 293-310. 1997.
  • On the Structure of Non-Reduced Parabolic Subgroup-Schemes
    Proceedings of Symposia in Pure Mathematics 56 (1): 291-297. 1994.
  • Rationality of G/P for a Non-Reduced Parabolic Subgroup Scheme P
    Proceedings of the American Mathematical Society 117 (4): 899-904. 1993.
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    Perception in Kant, McDowell, and Burge
    Contributions of the Austrian Ludwig Wittgenstein Society 25 284-287. 2017.
    Kant sometimes compares human beings with animals and angels and grants human beings a middle position. But contrary to what one might expect, his transcendental philosophy does not apply well to animals or angels. The question of whether we share perception with animals has no good answer in his system that has to be taken as a single piece and does not allow for introducing steps of empirical, real developments. Differently from Kant, McDowell does compare human beings with animals, but he is …Read more
  •  53
    In _An Introduction to Kant’s Aesthetics_, Christian Wenzel discusses and demystifies Kant’s Critique of the Power of Judgment, guiding the reader each step of the way and placing key points of discussion in the context of Kant’s other work. Explains difficult concepts in plain language, using numerous examples and a helpful glossary. Proceeds in the same order as Kant’s text for ease of reference and comprehension. Includes an illuminating foreword by Henry E. Allison. Offers twenty-six further…Read more
  •  135
    Urteil (Judgment)
    In Petra Kolmer & Arnim G. Wildfeuer (eds.), Neues Handbuch Philosophischer Grundbegriffe, Verlag Karl Alber. pp. 2284-2296. 2011.
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    Does Thought Happen in the Brain?
    Contributions of the Austrian Ludwig Wittgenstein Society 21 453-455. 2013.
    What is the nature of thought? Is thought linguistic and some kind of silent speech? Or is it pre-linguistic and some kind of association of ideas and images in the mind? Does it happen in the brain? I will focus on the last question, but also say something about the other two. I will present a simple thought experiment to show that thought must somehow happen in the brain. But then I will soften the impression this might give by pointing out what is needed to read those thoughts. Simply put, on…Read more
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    Aesthetic Aspects of Persons in Kant, Schiller, and Wittgenstein
    The Proceedings of the Twenty-First World Congress of Philosophy 9 35-39. 2006.
    The main ideas in this paper can be summarized in the following three points. (1) Openness, indeterminacy, and exemplarity are elements of both Kant's aesthetics and Wittgenstein's notion of language games. (2) These elements are essential to what makes a person. They are necessary in processes of decision-making and in the development of a person. (3) Such aspects were in the center of discussion during the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries in Europe, especially in the tradition of the so-cal…Read more
  •  256
    On Wittgenstein on Certainty
    Contributions of the Austrian Ludwig Wittgenstein Society 19 320-322. 2011.
    In the preface to On Certainty Anscombe and von Wright say that in 1949 Malcolm suggested to Wittgenstein to think again about Moore’s “Defense of Common Sense” (1925) and “Proof of an External World” (1939). Malcolm himself had written on the issue in “Defending Common Sense” (1949). In the preface to the Philosophical Investigations Wittgenstein quotes Nestroy saying that there is usually very little progress in philosophy. But I think some progress has been made from Moore and Malcolm to Witt…Read more
  •  43
    Chinese Gestures, Forms of Life, and Relativism
    Contributions of the Austrian Ludwig Wittgenstein Society 23 331-333. 2015.
    In this essay I focus on Wittgenstein's discussion of how we understand and feel about people that come from cultures very different from our own. Wittgenstein writes about "guessing thoughts", "regularities", and "common human behaviour" (gemeinsame menschliche Handlungsweise) in this context. I argue that his idea about given forms of life that we should "accept", will be problematic if we want to find a meaningful way of relating to such people with whom we "cannot find our feet" (in die man …Read more
  •  105
    Wittgenstein in his later years thought about experiences of meaning and aspect change. Do such experiences matter? Or would a meaning- or aspect-blind person not lose much? Moreover, is this a matter of aesthetics or epistemology? To get a better perspective on these matters, I will introduce distinctions between certain subjective and objective aspects, namely feelings of our inner psychological states versus fine-tuned objective experiences of the outer world. It seems to me that in his discu…Read more
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    In der Reihe werden herausragende monographische Untersuchungen und Sammelbände zu allen Aspekten der Philosophie Kants veröffentlicht, ebenso zum systematischen Verhältnis seiner Philosophie zu anderen philosophischen Ansätzen in Geschichte und Gegenwart. Veröffentlicht werden Studien, die einen innovativen Charakter haben und ausdrückliche Desiderate der Forschung erfüllen. Die Publikationen repräsentieren den aktuellsten Stand der Forschung.
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    Where after all are the Meanings? A Defense of Internalism. Searle versus Putnam
    Experience and Analysis. Papers of the 27th International Wittgenstein Symposium 12 408-409. 2004.
    There has been recent dispute between Putnam and Searle over whether meanings are “in the head”. Putnam makes use of Twin-Earth thought experiments to show that our mental states alone cannot determine what we refer to (and thus “mean”) and that we rely also on external factors, which are not “in the head”. This suggests to me that we in some way mean more than we actually know. Searle on the other hand makes use of what he calls “Intentional contents”, “conditions of satisfaction”, and “self-re…Read more
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    Ethics and Relativism in Wittgenstein
    Contributions of the Austrian Ludwig Wittgenstein Society 20 348-350. 2012.
    This essay is about Wittgenstein, first about his views on ethics, second about his conception of language games. Third, it combines the two and shows how problems arise from this. Wittgenstein rejects theories of ethics and emphasises the variety of language games. Such language games are marked by what I call “inner relativity”. Wittgenstein himself was not a relativist, but it seems to me his views easily lead to what I call “outer relativism”. In matters of ethics this is particularly proble…Read more
  •  350
    In the framework of his transcendental philosophy, Kant strictly separates morality from aesthetics. The pleasure in the good and the pleasure in the beautiful are two different kinds of pleasure (Arten des Wohlgefallens). As a consequence, a moral act as such cannot be beautiful. It is only in a second step that Kant indicates possible connections, in his comments on aesthetic ideas, symbolism, the sensus communis, and education in general. In Confucius on the other hand we do not find such a r…Read more
  •  64
    Ob die Kategorien schon bei der Wahrnehmung eine Rolle spielen, wird von Kant-Interpreten unterschiedlich gesehen. Peter Rohs etwa argumentiert für eine Unabhängigkeit und Selbständigkeit der Wahrnehmung gegenüber dem Verstand. Die intuitive Synthesis der Einbildungskraft müsse auf eigenen Füßen stehen können und Bilder und „singuläre Sinne“ der Anwendung der Begriffe vorausgehen. McDowell hingegen spricht sich gegen eine solche Selbständigkeit der Wahrnehmung aus. Setzte man sie voraus, käme de…Read more