Philosophical Experience

“The Concept of Philosophical Experience”
Metaphilosophy, 2008 ;Volum 39.(3) p. 265-281

We often speak about religious experience, and sometimes we speak about metaphysical experience. Yet we seldom hear about philosophical experience. Is philosophy purely a matter of theories and theses, or does it have an experiential aspect? In this paper, I shall argue for the following three claims. First, there is something we might call philosophical experience, and there is nothing mystical about it. Second, philosophical experiences are expressed in something quite similar to what Kant called aesthetic judgements. Third, philosophical experiences are expressed by using words in what Wittgenstein called secondary sense. Finally, I try to show the educational significance of pursing philosophical experiences. Through articulating them one might find one’s ground, and through articulating them in a less private and more universal form one might raise oneself to universality. Thus, in expressing philosophical experiences one aspires to speak in a universal voice.

Keywords: aesthetic judgement, Kant, philosophical experience, secondary sense, universality, Wittgenstein