The problem of how we can be both animals living in a causal world and agents acting through norms, principles, and rules in that same world persists. Many have understood this as a clash between science and our ordinary ways of talking. For many, this clash has been resolved in favour of the scientific image, either by reducing the intentional and normative to the causal laws of behaviourism or by eliminating our 'folk psychology' altogether in favour of a syntactic or (...) computational model of mind. Drawing on Wittgenstein, I argue that this mislocates the problem and so misunderstands what is required for its resolution. Our sophisticated language games are grounded in a bedrock of normative similarity judgments. The role these play in our language games can be seen most clearly in the initiate learning situation, that of the child just learning language or the pupil receiving first instruction in arithmetic. It is here that we can look for an accommodation of causality and normativity by understanding the relation between the novice and the master of the practice. (shrink)
Structure and content of the philosophical investigations -- Wittgenstein's metaphilosophy -- The method of description -- Wittgenstein's distinctive arguments : from mistake to paradox -- Two domains : linguistic mastery vs. initiate learning -- The structure of the book -- Playing the game -- The Fregean picture of language -- Wittgenstein's rejection of Frege's idea -- Builders game : language or signaling? -- Dummett's challenge : sense vs. force -- The domestication of reference -- The problem of normative similarity 1 (...) : ostension -- Rejection of Quine's picture of language -- Objects and paradigms -- Ostensive teaching and social practices -- Logical form and the paradox of thought -- The subliming of logic -- Frege's idea and the paradox of thought -- Davidson's challenge : meaning and logical form -- The limits of systematicity -- Meaning and the paradox of interpretation -- The problem of normative similarity 2 : rules -- Two pleas for interpretation -- The community view and reductionism -- The individualist view and mystification normativity and the threat of regularism -- Rules and regularities -- The public basis of normativity -- The social basis of normativity : the negative argument -- The social basis of normativity : the positive argument -- Necessity and the threat of psychologism -- Two forms of holism -- Stage-setting : conventions without decisions -- Background technique : necessity without metaphysics -- Normativity and "psychologized" necessity -- Learning, trust, and certainty -- The paradoxes of consciousness -- The problem of normative similarity 3 : consciousness -- The epistemology of subjectivity : paradox of self-knowledge -- The ontology of subjectivity : paradox of sensation -- Cartesian thought experiments and the expressivist view -- Criteria, deception, and the new problem of other minds. (shrink)
Wittgenstein, Mind and Meaning explores the connection between Wittgenstein's critique of the Cartesian theory of mind and his conception of language and mind, and lays the foundations for a social conception of mind.
I discuss Peter Singer’s claim that the interests of animals merit equal consideration with those of human beings. I show that there are morally relevant differences between humans and animals that Singer’s rather narrow utilitarian conception of morality fails to capture. Further, I argue that Singer’s formal conception of moral equality is so thin as to be virtually vacuous and that his attempts to give it moresubstance point to just the kind of differences between humans and animals that undermine his (...) equalitarian thesis. (shrink)