Language, Image and Silence

Kierkegaard and Wittgenstein on Ethics and Aesthetics

by Onno Zijlstra (Author)
©2006 Monographs 188 Pages


This study examines the relation of image and language as well as the relation of ethics and aesthetics through a discussion of the positions of Kierkegaard and Wittgenstein.
In the Tractatus Wittgenstein pursues the idea that the image can show what language cannot express and defends an aesthetic unity of ethics and aesthetics. Is he right? Is there not much to be said in favour of the opposite position, represented by Kierkegaard’s pseudonymous author Judge William (in Either/Or)? William criticizes the image and argues in favour of language and of an ethical unity of aesthetics and ethics. William shows that the word has a decisive surplus when compared to the image. However, this position has its shortcomings too: language is not the only place of authentic communication.
Looking for an alternative to ‘logoclasm’ (the early Wittgenstein) and ‘iconoclasm’ (William), Zijlstra explores Wittgenstein’s later work and Kierkegaard’s œuvre as a whole and presents a new way of thinking about the relation of ethics and aesthetics.


ISBN (Softcover)
Philosophy of art Wittgenstein, Ludwig Ethik Kierkegaard, Søren Religious philosophy Aesthetic theory of art Cultural philosophy Philosophy of language
Bern, Berlin, Bruxelles, Frankfurt am Main, New York, Oxford, Wien, 2006. X, 188 pp.

Biographical notes

Onno Zijlstra (Author)

The Author: Onno Zijlstra Ph.D. (1949) teaches philosophy at the Theologische Universiteit Kampen and at Artez Institute of the Arts. His works include Het kunstwerk en de zin van het bestaan (1998) and Dilemma’s (2003). He is editor of Als ik Job niet had. Tien denkers over God en het lijden (1997) and Letting Go. Rethinking Kenosis (2002).


Title: Language, Image and Silence