Words as deeds: Wittgenstein's ''spontaneous utterances'' and the dissolution of the explanatory gap
David Bourget (Western Ontario)
David Chalmers (ANU, NYU)
Rafael De Clercq
Ezio Di Nucci
Jack Alan Reynolds
Learn more about PhilPapers
Philosophical Psychology 13 (3):355 – 372 (2000)
Wittgenstein demystified the notion of 'observational self-knowledge'. He dislodged the long-standing conception that we have privileged access to our impressions, sensations and feelings through introspection, and more precisely eliminated knowing as the kind of awareness that normally characterizes our first-person present-tense psychological statements. He was not thereby questioning our awareness of our emotions or sensations, but debunking the notion that we come to that awareness via any epistemic route. This makes the spontaneous linguistic articulation of our sensations and impressions nondescriptive. Not descriptions, but expressions that seem more akin to behaviour than to language. I suggest that Wittgenstein uncovered a new species of speech acts. Far from the prearranged consecration of words into performatives, utterances are deeds through their very spontaneity. This gives language a new aura: the aura of the reflex action. I argue, against Peter Hacker, that spontaneous utterances have the categorial status of deeds. This has no reductive consequences in that I do not suggest that one category is reduced to another, but that the boundary between them is porous. This explodes the myth of an explanatory gap between the traditionally distinct categories of saying (or thinking) and doing, or of mind and body.
|Keywords||speech-act self-knowledge performative philosophy of action body-mind problem|
|Categories||categorize this paper)|
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
|Through your library|
References found in this work BETA
Gilbert Ryle (1949). The Concept of Mind. Hutchinson and Co.
Ludwig Wittgenstein (1969). On Certainty (Ed. Anscombe and von Wright). Harper Torchbooks.
Ludwig Wittgenstein (1980). Remarks on the Philosophy of Psychology. Basil Blackwell.
Ludwig Wittgenstein, Alfred Nordmann & James Carl Klagge (1993). Philosophical Occasions, 1912-1951. Monograph Collection (Matt - Pseudo).
Citations of this work BETA
Gavin B. Sullivan & Kenneth T. Strongman (2003). Vacillating and Mixed Emotions: A Conceptual-Discursive Perspective on Contemporary Emotion and Cognitive Appraisal Theories Through Examples of Pride. Journal for the Theory of Social Behaviour 33 (2):203–226.
Similar books and articles
Albert Newen & Gottfried Vosgerau (2007). A Representational Account of Self-Knowledge. Erkenntnis 67 (2):337 - 353.
David J. Chalmers (2007). Phenomenal Concepts and the Explanatory Gap. In Torin Alter & Sven Walter (eds.), Phenomenal Concepts and Phenomenal Knowledge: New Essays on Consciousness and Physicalism. Oxford University Press
Quassim Cassam (ed.) (1994). Self-Knowledge. Oxford University Press.
M. Scheele (2002). Never Mind the Gap: The Explanatory Gap as an Artifact of Naive Philosophical Argument. Philosophical Psychology 15 (3):333-342.
Roy Turner (1985). Speech and the Social Contract. Inquiry 28 (1-4):43 – 53.
Mark Jary (2007). Are Explicit Performatives Assertions? Linguistics and Philosophy 30 (2):207 - 234.
François Récanati (1987). Meaning and Force: The Pragmatics of Performative Utterances. Cambridge University Press.
P. M. S. Hacker (2005). Of Knowledge and Knowing That Someone is in Pain. In Alois Pichler & Simo Saatela (eds.), Wittgenstein: The Philosopher and His Works. The Wittgenstein Archives at the University of Bergen
Neil Campbell Manson (2002). Consciousness-Dependence and the Explanatory Gap. Inquiry 45 (4):521-540.
Added to index2009-01-28
Total downloads75 ( #58,422 of 1,911,063 )
Recent downloads (6 months)5 ( #142,835 of 1,911,063 )
How can I increase my downloads?