Wittgenstein and Kant on Judgments of Taste: Situations versus Faculties

Christian Helmut Wenzel


Both Kant and Wittgenstein wrote on judgments of taste, but very differently. Kant
offered a whole theory in his Critique of the Power of
Judgment (1790), whereas Wittgenstein merely gave some private lectures on
aesthetics (in 1938). Furthermore their backgrounds were quite different and so were
their views of what to make of judgments of taste. Wittgenstein was skeptical about
what we generally say about the inner workings of our mind, which is apparent in his
comments on Freud and psychology in those lectures. He preferred to focus on external
factors, situations and expressions. Kant, on the other hand, freely made use of
faculty vocabulary, such as imagination, understanding, power of judgment, intuition,
and concepts. His was a transcendental philosophy, not a science. Nevertheless, it is
often considered as having a psychological flavor. Does Kant give a theory of the
inner workings of our mind? And how would Wittgenstein view Kant’s transcendental
philosophy and his theory of taste in particular?


philosophy; 20th century philosophy; Wittgenstein Ludwig; aesthetics; taste

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