Q: You mentioned Schopenhauer in relation to human will. Schopenhauer is one of the few more formal philosophers who explicitly discusses art.
ReeL: Yes, that’s a short list, especially if you exclude the specialists in aesthetics.
Q: Yes, very short. Pretty much Plato and Nietzsche.
ReeL: and Wittgenstein and a few others..
Q: Wittgenstein? I thought he said art was
in the realm of topics not to be discussed.
ReeL: In his Tractatus days, perhaps. His late writings talk about art.
Q: The Investigations? That work is almost entirely about language.
ReeL: No, after the Philosophical Investigations. In some of his late posthumously published talks. he talks about art.
I found most of Wittgenstein interesting, to say the least. But I was fortunate, I encountered him at the right time for each stage. I read the Tractatus while I was studying logic and mathematics, so its limitations seemed OK to me at the time. I got into the Philosophical Investigations right after I had gone through a period reading Heidegger and Edmund Huserl, so my more mathematical background found Wittgenstein’s approach to language a breath of fresh air. It all made a lot of sense to me.
By the end of my sophomore year in college I had already decided to drop Mathematics and formally study art and it was right at that time that someone gave me a copy of some of his late writings. The notebooks. It was a turning point in my life.