Life and works -- The Tractatus, language and logic -- The Tractatus, reality and the limits of language -- From the Tractatus to philosophical investigations -- Intentionality and rule-following -- Mind and psychology -- Knowledge and certainty -- Religion and anthropology -- Legacy and influence.
I have argued that Wittgenstein's treatment of dreaming involves a kind of anti-realism about the past: what makes "I dreamed p " true is, roughly, that I wake with the feeling or impression of having dreamed p . Richard Scheer raises three objections. First, that the texts do not support my interpretation. Second, that the anti-realist view of dreaming does not make sense, so cannot be Wittgenstein's view. Third, that the anti-realist view leaves it a mystery why someone who reports (...) having dreamed such-and-such is inclined to report what she does. The Reply defends my reading of Wittgenstein against these objections. (shrink)
For the anti-realist, the truth about a subject's past thoughts and attitudes is determined by what he is subsequently disposed to judge about them. The argument for an anti-realist interpretation of Wittgenstein's view of past-tense statements seems plausible in three cases: dreams, calculating in the head, and thinking. Wittgenstein is indeed an anti-realist about dreaming. His account of calculating in the head suggests anti-realism about the past, but turns out to be essentially realistic. He does not endorse general anti-realism about (...) past thoughts; but his treatment does in some cases involve elements of anti-realism, unacceptable in some instances but possibly correct in others. (shrink)
What is the relation between interpreting a person's speech and actions, on the one hand, and interpreting a written text, on the other? That question is considered in connection with the theories of interpretation offered by Donald Davidson and Paul Ricoeur. There are some important similarities between those theories. However, it is argued that Davidson and Ricoeur are divided on fundamental questions about the relation between meaning and intention, about the reference of texts, about the relation between the meanings of (...) texts and the meanings of spoken words, and about the notion of correctness that applies to interpretation. On each of these points, it is contended, Davidson has the better of the dispute. (shrink)
How should we understand our capacity to remember our past intentional states? And what can we learn from Wittgenstein's treatment of this topic? Three questions are considered. First, what is the relation between our past attitudes and our present beliefs about them? Realism about past attitudes is defended. Second, how should we understand Wittgenstein's view that self-ascriptions of past attitudes are a kind of "response" and that the "language-game" of reporting past attitudes is "the primary thing"? The epistemology and metaphysics (...) of past-tense self-ascription are examined in the light of those comments, and our acquisition of the concept of past attitudes is discussed. Third, does Wittgenstein give us reason to think that the identity of a past attitude may be constituted,not by anything that was true of the subject at the time, but by her retrospective tendency to self-ascribe it? It is argued that, contrary to some interpretations, he does not. (shrink)
A stellar group of philosophers offer new works on themes from the great philosophy of Wittgenstein, honoring one of his most eminent interpreters David Pears. This collection covers both the early and the later work of Wittgenstein, relating it to current debates in philosophy. Topics discussed include solipsism, ostension, rules, necessity, privacy, and consciousness.
Philosophers of mind have long been interested in the relation between two ideas: that causality plays an essential role in our understanding of the mental; and that we can gain an understanding of belief and desire by considering the ascription of attitudes to people on the basis of what they say and do. Many have thought that those ideas are incompatible. William Child argues that there is in fact no tension between them, and that we should accept both. He shows (...) how we can have a causal understanding of the mental without having to see attitudes and experiences as internal, causally interacting entities and he defends this view against influential objections. The book offers detailed discussions of many of Donald Davidson's contributions to the philosophy of mind, and also considers the work of Dennett, Anscombe, McDowell, and Rorty, among others. Issues discussed include: the nature of intentional phenomena; causal explanation; the character of visual experience; psychological explanation; and the causal relevance of mental properties. (shrink)