Special Issue Research Article

Wittgenstein and Die Meistersinger: The Aesthetic Road to a Sceptical Solution of the Sceptical Paradox



Starting with Wittgenstein’s remark about his allegedly frequent visits to the performance of Wagner’s Die Meistersinger von Nürnberg, the paper presents Wagner’s opera – being explicitly an opera about rules and rule-following – as a possible stimulus for the later Wittgenstein’s thinking about language. Besides Wittgenstein’s systematic interests in parallels between music and language, the paper draws on the choice of terminology (such as the comparison of rules to rails) and on Wittgenstein’s own examples of rule-following. More speculatively, the phrasing as well as the solution to what Kripke called Wittgenstein’s sceptical paradox is used as a point of comparison that brings Wittgenstein’s aesthetic innuendos closer not only to mainstream philosophy of language, but due to the antithetical structure of Kripke’s argument also to the broader philosophical and aesthetical tradition, with a particular focus on the great philosophical systems of German idealism.


Wittgensteinrule-followingRichard Wagnersceptical paradoxaesthetics
  • Year: 2020
  • Volume: 57 Issue: 1
  • Page/Article: 44–63
  • DOI: 10.33134/eeja.28
  • Submitted on 10 Mar 2018
  • Accepted on 24 Sep 2019
  • Published on 15 Apr 2020
  • Peer Reviewed