Erik ReeL painting
Erik ReeL, opus 1747, acrylic on paper, 30 x 22 inches, 2012

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.


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