Kjell S. Johannessen:

 Philosophy, Art and Intransitive Understanding

(Quoted from an essay in the book "Wittgenstein and Norway")


"Points of resemblance between art and philosophy

If it is correct to say, as I did above, that it is our immediate traffic with art that primarly occupies the interest of Wittgenstein with respect to to aesthetic investigations, what would then be sufficiently conspicuous to be mentioned among the similarities between aesthetic investigations in this context and the exercise of philosophy in Wittgenstein's sense? Here we do well to remind ourselves that the idea of there being an intimate relationship between artistic and philosophical activities was something that he had been labouring upon since very early in his life. It is, for instance, documented beyond doubt that Wittgenstein in the Tractatus period insisted that there was a close relationship between his way of doing philosophy and the use of artistic means for expressing it. We have already noted that he characterized Tractatus to von Ficker by emphasizing the intermingling of philosophy and litarature in it: "The work is strictly philosophical and, at the same time, literary". Janik and Toulmin have explored this aspect of his early work fairly extensively in their book, Wittgenstein's Vienna. They in fact argue that: (a) There is an intimate relationship between philosophy and art in so far as the philosphically unsayable pertaining to problems of life can get expressed only by art. (b) There is an interesting resemblance between philosophy and art due to their respective reliance on indirect communication. They summed up their position on this issue by contending that "Wittgenstein's propositions are ... aforisms which, by giving a generalized critique, at the same time convey a world-view: the are a Krausian medium for a Krausian message." (on pages 228-229 in the book)