Tuesday, 14 February 2017

Kant's schematism, Wittgenstein and David Bell on the art of judgement

Some years ago I suffered prolonged writer's block and lost the ability to write or think about philosophy. I was teaching a module on Wittgenstein at Anglia Poly whilst employed by Warwick University and I drove across the A14 every week, drinking a couple of pints and eating corn beef hash at the Tram Depot with my friend Neil Gascoigne and moaning about my inability to think.

Anglia was organising a conference on the analytic -continental divide in philosophy and he suggested, more or less arbitrarily, that I could write something about the problem raised in Kant’s schematism. Starting from David Bell’s paper on the art of judgement which connects that issue to Wittgenstein served as a prompt. Bell suggests, among other things, that the kind of understanding one has of a Jackson Pollock could serve as the right kind of middle ground between full blown conceptual understanding and something which isn't understanding at all. (So my worries about this are akin to my objections to Hannah Ginsborg's 'primitive normativity'.)

The paper wasn’t great but released the block and got me to a few conferences including in Canada. But I was never able to place it. (Mind, for example, said it was too aesthetic; the British Journal of Aesthetics said it wasn’t aesthetic enough.) So some years later I published it in a Polish theology journal. I doubt it has ever been read.

Anyway: here’s a video I have found last week on my university server of an attempt I made a couple of years ago to explain it – not very successfully - to an audience of social scientists.