Fitting, Feeling and What Hegel Meant



Year of publication 2014
Type Article in Proceedings
Conference Papers of the 37th International Wittgenstein Symposium
MU Faculty or unit

Faculty of Arts

Field Philosophy and religion
Keywords Wittgenstein; Hegel
Description Two objects fit together if they have a compatible shape. I want to focus on a different kind of fitting which is predominant in Wittgenstein's latest texts. This is a fitting underlined by a feeling of aesthetic comfort. One may even feel that all things fit together. Wittgenstein ascribed this expression of the unity of experience to Hegel. I argue for two claims: (1) Wittgenstein might have been inspired by the Neo-hegelian philosophy of Francis Bradley and his account of a feeling base. (2) Wittgenstein ascribed to Hegel the idea that objects are what they are only in their familiar surroundings. Hegel indeed claimed something like this—most notably in the "Sense-Certainty" chapter of the Phenomenology of Spirit. I provide a Wittgensteinian reading of this chapter concluding that every demonstrative act occurs against a background of demonstrative practices and that the doctrine of external relations is an inadequate account of knowledge.
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