How is the possibility of promising to be explained without circularity? Appeal is made to the role of natural inclinations in linguistic behaviour, which presupposes truth telling and promise keeping, and also to the social functions of human language which go beyond signalling and transmitting information and which are prior to any explicit conventions. Although promises are broken and lies told, we all have the right to feel resentment when these things happen.
The difference between right and wrong is not something that is taught; it is, necessarily, picked up by a child in the course of learning its native language, and parents have no choice about this. In learning the meaning of ‘steal’, for example, the child learns that such actions are wrong. It also develops, through a kind of conditioning, the appropriate feelings and attitudes. The very concept of a reason has a moral content; so that, in acquiring this concept, the (...) child learns what counts as a good reason; and this includes altruistic and other moral reasons, no less than reasons of self-interest. (shrink)
A feature that contributes to the charm of much poetry is its obscurity and indirectness. We want to grasp what the poet is saying and yet, it appears, to do so only with difficulty. How is this preference to be explained? (1) It contributes to promoting an ‘aesthetic attitude’. (2) It conforms to certain general features of human psychology, including (a) a general preference for indirectness and indeterminacy and (b) the pleasure of working things out. Distance, in the relevant sense, (...) may be regarded as an important positive quality of works of art; yet (1) this quality may continue to charm even after the difficulties have been overcome, and (2) its presence, in the case of unusual language, may be largely a matter of accident, depending on how long ago the work was written, and so on. (shrink)
The growing implications of Wittgenstein's later writings both inside as well as outside philosophy have become one of the major features of the past few years. His impact on ideas of theory and the philosophy of language is increasingly evident. Yet there remains much difficulty in understanding much of Wittgenstein's thought due to the often-unclear nature of his arguments. Oswald Hanfling, a leading commentator on Wittgenstein, offers a much-needed exploration of Wittgenstein's thought, ranging from the problem of other minds, the (...) philosophy of language and questions on humanity to the role of art. One of the most important criticisms levied against Wittgenstein is that he raises more questions than he answers, and this has caused many readers to attribute him positions contrary to his intentions and methods. Hanfling challenges this view and proposes that Wittgenstein's approach can lead to a proper understanding of the problems in question. Throughout, Wittgenstein and the Theory of the Arts offers a critical reading and interpretation of Wittgenstein's writings and their impact for our ways of thinking. Most importantly it presents Wittgenstein's unique approach to the question of being human. (shrink)
Philosophy and Ordinary Language is a defense of the view that philosophy is largely about questions of language, which to a large extent means ordinary language. Oswald Hanfling, a leading expert in the development of analytic philosophy, covers a wide range of topics, including scepticism and the definition of "knowledge," free will, empiricism, "folk psychology," ordinary versus artificial logic, and philosophy versus science. He also draws on philosophers such as Austin, Wittgenstein, and Quine to explore the nature of ordinary language (...) in philosophy. (shrink)
Philosophy is one of the most intimidating and difficult of disciplines, as any of its students can attest. This book is an important entry in a distinctive new series from Routledge: The Great Philosophers . Breaking down obstacles to understanding the ideas of history's greatest thinkers, these brief, accessible, and affordable volumes offer essential introductions to the great philosophers of the Western tradition from Plato to Wittgenstein. In just 64 pages, each author, a specialist on his subject, places the philosopher (...) and his ideas into historical perspective. Each volume explains, in simple terms, the basic concepts, enriching the narrative through the effective use of biographical detail. And instead of attempting to explain the philosopher's entire intellectual history, which can be daunting, this series takes one central theme in each philosopher's work, using it to unfold the philosopher's thoughts. (shrink)
I consider and reject two kinds of solution of the problem of feelings about fictional objects: that the relevant beliefs are not really different as between fiction and fact; and that the relevant feelings are not 'really the same'. The problem should be seen in the context of different phases in acquiring the relevant feeling-concepts and I distinguish three such phases. The first is necessarily 'presentational': the child is presented with suitable objects or pictures and responds with appropriate feelings, without (...) distinguishing fact from fiction. This presentational phase remains part of the concept and our responses to fictional objects should be understood accordingly. (shrink)
This is a critical discussion of ayer's famous book. The main topics are: (a) "the criterion of verifiability": whether assertion, Recommendation, Etc.; the meaning of 'verify'; problems of application. (b) analysis and reduction, Including: physical objects; the past; other minds; mathematics and logic; ethics. (c) the nature of philosophy and relation to ordinary language.
According to kripke, Wittgenstein denied certain beliefs about meaning and other minds. But who holds these beliefs? we do "not" believe that "all future applications" of a word are "determined"; nor that "i give directions to myself"; nor that something has to "constitute" meaning. Such beliefs are distortions by realist philosophers; it needs no sceptic to deny them. Wittgenstein's "sympathy with the solipsist" is an illusion, Due to misreadings (and mistranslations) of the text. Wittgenstein's position is clear and does not (...) need kripke's revision. (shrink)