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Wittgenstein and Hegel on Bodies, Souls and Works of Art

From the book Aesthetics Today

  • Gabriele Tomasi


As a result of the introduction of the metaphysical distinction between persons and their bodies into the philosophy of art, a form of dualism has taken root in aesthetics-a trend which drives a wedge between the materiality of a work of art and its meaning and artistic features. In this paper, which focuses mainly on paintings, I aim to show that it is possible to develop the fruitful analogy between persons and works of art in a way that avoids dualism. My considerations focus on Wittgenstein’s views on the expressiveness of the human body and Hegel’s conception of the material elements of art. By combining the insights of these two philosophers, we are afforded a glimpse into how we might better appreciate both the significance of the perceptual presence of works of art and the affinity between paintings and gestures: their nature as both wholly bodily and wholly psychic.

© 2017 Walter de Gruyter GmbH, Berlin/Munich/Boston
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