Wittgensteinian 'Therapy', Experimental Philosophy, and Metaphilosophical Naturalism

In Kevin Cahill & Thomas Raleigh (eds.), Wittgenstein and Naturalism. New York, USA: Routledge. pp. 260-286 (2018)

Authors
Eugen Fischer
University of East Anglia
Abstract
An important strand of current experimental philosophy promotes a new kind of methodological naturalism. This chapter argues that this new ‘metaphilosophical naturalism’ is fundamentally consistent with key tenets of Wittgenstein’s metaphilosophy, and can provide empirical foundations for therapeutic conceptions of philosophy. Metaphilosophical naturalism invites us to contribute to the resolution of philosophical problems about X by turning to scientific findings about the way we think about X – in general or when doing philosophy. This new naturalism encourages us to use resources from psychology that can empirically vindicate precisely some of the most controversial aspects of Wittgenstein’s conception of philosophy: They can establish the need, and provide key tools, for something worth calling ‘therapy’, in philosophy. As ‘pudding proof’ this chapter shows how methods and findings from psycholinguistics motivate and facilitate a therapeutic approach to a characteristically philosophical problem: ‘the problem of perception’.
Keywords Wittgenstein  experimental philosophy  naturalism  therapeutic philosophy  philosophical therapy
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