Ethics and Aesthetics in the Tractatus

  • B. R. Tilghman
Part of the Swansea Studies in Philosophy book series (SWSP)


As I sought to show in the last chapter, the relation between art and ethics has been thought of in several different ways. It has been said that art must serve moral purposes, that art must not be required to serve any (particular) purpose, or, more radically, that art must be disconnected from all other aspects of human life. In his Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus Wittgenstein took a position that is distinctly different from any of these; he said that ethics and aesthetics are one (TLP 6.421). There are no other references to either aesthetics or art in the Tractatus and despite a considerable measure of commentary it is not at all clear how we are supposed to understand that enigmatic remark. The statement makes an impression that is not only provocative but also suggestive of something important and deep in human life waiting to be brought to light. It remains to be seen what can be made of it.


Ethical Significance Logical Space Logical Connection Aesthetic Judgement Happy Ending 
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Notes to Chapter 3: Ethics and Aesthetics in the Tractatus

  1. 6.
    G. E. M. Anscombe, An Introduction to Wittgenstein’s Tractatus ( London: Hutchinson University Library, 1959 ) p. 172.Google Scholar
  2. 10.
    G. E. Moore, ‘Wittgenstein’s Lectures in 1930–33’, in Philosophical Papers ( London: George Allen & Unwin, 1959 ) pp. 313–14.Google Scholar
  3. 11.
    Paul Engelmann, Letters from Wittgenstein with a Memoir ( New York: Horizon Books, 1967 ) p. 93.Google Scholar
  4. 17.
    Frank Ramsey, ‘Last Papers’, in The Foundations of Mathematics ( London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1931 ) p. 238.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© B. R. Tilghman 1991

Authors and Affiliations

  • B. R. Tilghman
    • 1
  1. 1.Kansas State UniversityUSA

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