Benjamin e Wittgenstein sul concetto di affinità

  • Stefano Oliva


The paper’s main topic is the comparison between Benjamin and Wittgenstein on the concept of affinity. After a short reconstruction of the fregean influence on both philosophers, engaged in an attempt to solve the well-known Russell’s paradox, the attention is focused on the concept of Verwandschaft. Benjamin examines it in several essays and fragments, as Analogy and relationship (1919), Goethe’s elective affinities (1922), On Mimetic Capacity and Doctrine of Similitude (1933). The idea of an affinity not based on a previous similarity distinguishes the Verwandschaft from the analogy and finds a relevant application in the comprehension of musical expressivity, based not on the interpretation of contents but on the production of comparisons. In a similar way, Wittgenstein finds in the concept of family resemblances the antidote against a quest of essences: in his Philosophical Investigations (1951) the Austrian philosopher tries to discourage the human tendency to look for a unifying quality that may compose differences in a strict definitional logic. Wittgenstein, too, finds in music a specific domain of application of Verwandschaft, seen as a similarity that emerges just because of our practical capacity of producing comparisons.


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How to Cite
Oliva, S. (1) “Benjamin e Wittgenstein sul concetto di affinità”, Rivista Italiana di Filosofia del Linguaggio, 8(2). Available at: (Accessed: 26September2020).