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Forum Philosophicum

Volume 12, Issue 2, Autumn 2007

Tim Thornton
Pages 227-245

An Aesthetic Grounding for the Role of Concepts in Experience in Kant, Wittgenstein and McDowell

The paper begins by asking, in the context of McDowell's Mind and World, what guides empirical judgement. It then critically examines David Bell's account of the role of aesthetic judgement, or experience, in Kant and Wittgenstein, in shedding light on empirical judgement. Bell's suggestion that a Wittgensteinian account of aesthetic experience can guide the application of empirical concepts is criticised: neither the discussion of aesthetic judgement nor aesthetic experience helps underpin empirical judgement. But attention to the parallel between Wittgenstein's discussion of understanding rules and the question of how empirical concepts can be applied to particulars suggests how to dissolve the felt need for an answer. This in turn helps shed light on McDowell's conceptualist account of experience.

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