•  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
  •  295
  •  289
    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
  •  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
  •  238
    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
  •  214
    Kant's aesthetics: Overview and recent literature
    Philosophy Compass 4 (3): 380-406. 2009.
    In 1764, Kant published his Observations on the Feeling of the Beautiful and the Sublime and in 1790 his influential third Critique , the Critique of the Power of Judgment . The latter contains two parts, the 'Critique of the Aesthetic Power of Judgment' and the 'Critique of the Teleological Power of Judgment'. They reveal a new principle, namely the a priori principle of purposiveness ( Zweckmäßigkeit ) of our power of judgment, and thereby offer new a priori grounds for beauty and biology with…Read more
  •  201
    Aesthetics and Rule Following
    Contributions of the Austrian Ludwig Wittgenstein Society 24 260-262. 2016.
    In this essay I point out parallels between Kant’s theory of aesthetics and Wittgenstein’s discussion of rule following. Although Wittgenstein did not write an aesthetics and Kant did not discuss Wittgensteinian rule-following problems, and although both Kant and Wittgenstein begin at very different starting points and use different methods, they end up dealing with similar issues, namely issues about rules, particularity, exemplarity, objectivity, practice, and as-if statements.
  •  164
    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
  •  135
    Urteil (Judgment)
    In Petra Kolmer & Arnim G. Wildfeuer (eds.), Neues Handbuch Philosophischer Grundbegriffe, Verlag Karl Alber. pp. 2284-2296. 2011.
  •  130
    Kant finds nothing ugly?
    British Journal of Aesthetics 39 (4): 416-422. 1999.
  •  125
    Knowledge, Belief, and the A Priori
    Contributions of the Austrian Ludwig Wittgenstein Society 11 369-370. 2003.
    This paper has two parts. In the first I give a brief historical account of the a priori and point out the central and problematic role of 'Erfahrung überhaupt' in Kant’s transcendental philosophy. In the second and main part I offer a criticism of Kripke’s arguments for the contingent a priori and I thereby question his radical separation of metaphysics and epistemology.
  •  117
    How Pictorial is Chinese? And Does it Matter?
    Contributions of the Austrian Ludwig Wittgenstein Society 18 317-319. 2010.
    It has often been said that the Chinese script is pictorial or ideographic, and that this is one of the reasons why Chinese tend to think more analogically than logically, and why in the past the natural sciences developed to a lesser degree in China than in the West. These are strong claims. They have often been oversimplified and exaggerated, but I think there is something to be said for them. Here I will focus on the first question. I will argue that Chinese characters still have semantic fea…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
  •  93
    "Bedeutungserlebnis" and "Lebensgefühl" in Kant and Wittgenstein: Responsibility and the Future
    Contributions of the Austrian Ludwig Wittgenstein Society 17 451-453. 2009.
    This essay is about the inner and the outer in Wittgenstein, in particular his notion of “meaning experience”. Wittgenstein reminds us that we should not think of the inner, psychological the way we think about the outer, physical world. Again and again he keeps returning to certain views about the soul and our mental states. I think that it is not only therapy he has in mind. I will contrast certain aesthetic and ethical aspects of his thoughts with views from Kant.
  •  88
    Transcendental Philosophy and Mind-Body Reductionism
    Contributions of the Austrian Ludwig Wittgenstein Society 16 390-392. 2008.
    The notion of “representation” is central to Kant’s transcendental philosophy. But naturalism and mind-body reductionism tend to reduce talk of (first-person) representation to stories of (third-person) causality and evolution. How does Kant fare in this context?
  •  74
    Chinese Ways of Words
    Institut International de Philosophie 5 119-126. 2009.
    According to the so-called Sapir-Whorf hypothesis, a language influences the mind of its user. This is more or less trivial, but the problems are in the details. It is difficult to make precise what those influences are, be it in general philosophical or in particular empirical-cultural terms. I will give an account of what I take to be basic aesthetic and grammatical features of the Chinese language compared with what we find in Western languages such as Latin or greek. Then I will indicate wha…Read more
  •  70
    Isolation and involvement: Wilhelm Von humboldt, François Jullien, and more
    Philosophy East and West 60 (4): 458-475. 2010.
    This is an essay about language, thought, and culture in general, and about Ancient Greek and Classical Chinese in particular. It is about the Sapir-Whorf hypothesis, which says that language influences the mind, and applies this hypothesis to Greek and Chinese. It is also an essay in comparative philosophy as well as a contribution to the history of ideas. From the language side, I rely on the nineteenth-century German linguist Wilhelm von Humboldt, and from the culture side on the contemporary…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
  •  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
  •  49
    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
  •  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
  •  42
    In this essay I to do three things. First, I discuss a statement from the Tractatus which says that our free will consists in our ignorance of future actions: “The freedom of the will consists in the impossibility of knowing actions that still lie in the future. We could know them only if causality were an inner necessity like that of logical inference.” (5.1362) I think this statement might well be inspired by a claim Moore made in connection with free will in his 1912 book Ethics: “We can har…Read more