Wittgenstein, the artistic way of seeing, and the sense of the world

Gabriele Tomasi


There are passages in the Notebooks and the Tractatus in which Wittgenstein refers to
the unity of ethics and aesthetics. In this paper I propose a commentary on this
idea, juxtaposing Wittgenstein’s concept of art with Hegel’s (and Todorov’s)
interpretation of seventeenth-century Dutch painting. The comparison is useful in
order to highlight what seems to me to be the point of Wittgenstein’s thesis: what
characterises the artistic way of seeing is not a response to properties that things
may possess, but rather an attention full of wonder at what is there. Now, wonder
corresponds to a sort of gestaltic change in our acceptance of facts, in the position
we take with respect to the world, in which the world is no longer assumed as
something merely accidental; and this is precisely what reveals its value.


philosophy; 20th century philosophy; Wittgenstein Ludwig; aesthetics; art; expression; sense of the world

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