Pop Philosophy

1999-07-31

Aesthetics is hard to write about because to do it well you actually have to know something about art. I suppose this is true of something like philosophy of science or of law or whatever, too. I think for me that's part of its attraction: there is a tie (however loose) to the particulars that you might not have in metaphysics or philosophy of mind or those more abstract branches of philosophy. Plus I like art a lot and I know something about it, so it's a natural area of thinking for me. But it's hard in the sense that it's messier than the more abstract areas, easier perhaps to go wrong for that reason, and the point (at least for me) is to enjoy art and not talk about it. I think there is grain of truth in Wittgenstein's dictum "Whereof one cannot speak, one must remain silent" or whatever. Why speak of music when you can listen to it or create it? In large part that's my conundrum regarding philosophy -- usually I'm more interested in living life than in thinking about ethics, more interested in experiencing art (as producer or consumer) than in thinking about aesthetics, more interested in learning and knowing than in thinking about epistemology. But my philosophical background always leads me back to thinking and reflecting, just not deeply enough (probably) for me to be taken seriously as a philosopher. So I write pop philosophy and essays and such.


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