_Hume's Naturalism_ provides a clear and concise guide to the debates over whether Hume's empiricism or his 'naturalism' in the tradition of the Scottish 'Common Sense' school of philosophy gained his upper hand. This debate is central to any understanding of Hume's thought. H.O. Mounce presents a beautifully clear guide to Hume's most important works, _The Treatise on Human Nature_ and _Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion_. Accessible to anyone coming to Hume for the first time, _Hume's Naturalism_ affords a much needed (...) overview of the key concepts of empiricism, causation, scepticism, reason and morality that are essential to any understanding of Hume's philosophy. (shrink)
A milestone in Wittgenstein scholarship, this collection of essays ranges over a wide area of the philosopher's thought, presenting divergent interpretations of his fundamental ideas. Different chapters raise many of the central controversies that surround current understanding of the Tractatus, providing an interplay that will be particularly useful to students. Taken together, the essays present a broader and more comprehensive view of Wittgenstein's intellectual interests and his impact on philosophy than may be found elsewhere.The thirteen chapters treat topics from both (...) periods of Wittgenstein's work: More than half are devoted to his early thought, the Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus of 1921, reflecting a growing interest today among philosophers in reexamining this seminal book, while three chapters treat the Philosophical Investigations, published posthumously in 1953. The remaining chapters discuss such "nonstandard" topics as philosophy of religion, aesthetics, and anthropology.Contents: The Early Wittgenstein and the Middle Russell, Kenneth Blackwell; Frege and Wittgenstein, Michael Dummett; Wittgenstein and the Theory of Types, Hide Ishiguro; The So-called Realism of Wittgenstein's Tractatus, Brian McGuinness; The Logical Independence of Elementary Propositions, David Pears; The Rise and Fall of the Picture Theory, Peter Hacker; The Picture Theory and Wittgenstein's Later Attitude to It, Erik Stenius; Wittgenstein's Early Philosophy of Mind, Anthony Kenny; A Theory of Language?, G. E. M. Anscombe; Im Anfang war die Tat, Peter Winch; Wittgenstein's Full Stop, D. Z. Phillips; Quote: Judgments from Our Brain, Paul Ziff; Wittgenstein and the Fire Festivals, Frank Cioffi, Index.Irving Block is Associate Professor in the Philosophy Department at The University of Western Ontario. (shrink)
In recent times Wittgenstein's work in logic has had an influence on other branches of philosophy. I am thinking, in particular, of social philosophy and the philosophy of religion. In these branches, Wittgenstein's followers have made much use of his notion of a language game. It has been argued, for example, that religion forms a language game of its own, having its own standards of reason, and is therefore not subject to criticism from outside. This argument has given rise to (...) controversy, some seeing it as a subtle attempt by the religious to evade criticism. I have come myself to feel that the notion of a language game has been put to uses with which Wittgenstein himself might not have agreed, or, if he had, would have been wrong to do so. In order to explain what I mean I should like to look closely at the opening section of Peter Winch's article ‘Understanding a Primitive Society’. (shrink)
My title has been taken from the following passage in Wittgenstein's Philosophical Investigations : Describe the aroma of coffee—why can't it be done? Do we lack the words? And for what are words lacking?—But how do we get the idea that such a description must after all be possible? Have you ever felt the lack of such a description? Have you tried to describe the aroma and not succeeded?
In 1954 F. R. Leavis wrote to the Times Literary Supplement taking issue with one of its reviewers. The reviewer had contrasted Leavis's approach to Shakespeare with that of Empson and Bradley. The latter, the reviewer had said, ‘like the plain man, or the audience in a theatre, cannot help considering the situation [in one of Shakespeare's plays] as “actual” and the characters as “real”’. Leavis, the reviewer had implied, treats the situation and characters somewhat differently.
In 1958, moral philosophers were given rather startling advice. They were told that their subject was not worth pursuing further until they possessed an adequate philosophy of psychology. What is needed, they were told, is an enquiry into what type of characteristic a virtue is, and, furthermore, it was suggested that this question could be resolved in part by exploring the connection between what a man ought to do and what he needs : perhaps man needs certain things in order (...) to flourish, just as a plant needs water; and perhaps what men need are the virtues, courage, honesty, loyalty, etc. Thus, in telling a man that he ought to be honest, we should not be using any special sense of ought: a man ought to be honest just as a plant ought to be watered. The ‘ought’ is the same: it tells us what a man needs. (shrink)
Wittgenstein's view of philosophy in the Tractatus presupposes that thought may be revealed without remainder in the use of signs. It is commonly held, however, that in the Tractatus he treated thought as logically prior to language. If this view, expressed most lucidly by Norman Malcolm, were correct, Wittgenstein would be inconsistent in holding that thought can be revealed without remainder in the use of signs. I argue that this is not correct. Thought may be prior to language in time (...) but not in logic, for non-verbal symbols must have a logical structure in common with verbal ones. A view comparable with Malcolm's holds that Wittgenstein, under the influence of Schopenhauer, is committed to some form of solipsism. I argue that neither Schopenhauer nor Wittgenstein held any version of solipsism. For both philosophers, subject and object are correlative, so that it is incoherent to affirm the existence of the one without presupposing the existence of the other. (shrink)
Sophie Botros's criticism of my review depends in part on certain misprints which appear in the review as printed. In particular, words are omitted from my summary of her position. What I wrote was as follows.
This book is a commentary on the Dialogues concerning Natural Religion, Hume's most famous work in the field of religion. O'Connor is a fine expositor, commanding a clear and readable style. The Dialogues is covered in detail, so that students will gain a good sense of the structure. The weakness lies in O'Connor's attitude as it inevitably appears in his exposition. I do not mean that this is wild or eccentric. Quite the contrary, it is the one which during the (...) last fifty years has become conventional, reflecting the empiricist tradition one associates with Ayer and Flew. For example, O'Connor hardly questions Hume's distinction between the a priori and the a posteriori, implies indeed that he puts it to devastating use, though it is now widely criticized even by philosophers otherwise sympathetic to Hume. One wonders whether students need another version, however well expressed, of views already so familiar. If their intelligences are to be sharpened, they surely need to encounter some serious criticism not simply of Hume's opponents but of Hume himself. (shrink)
In a symposium with Roger Trigg, Renford Bambrough remarks that in discussing the difference between reason and faith philosophers too often raise the issue in a misleading form.1 The form is that of the ‘treacherous singular’. In other words, they assume that there is a single difference between reason and faith, that a line may be drawn with faith entirely on one side and reason entirely on the other. Against this, Bambrough argues that there is no sharp difference between the (...) two, that they are related in many ways and that within the network of our discourse they come to different things at different points. Philosophers too often look only at one or two points, assume a radical divergence and produce a caricature alike of reason and of faith. A more extensive view will reveal no such radical incompatibility; rather it will enable us to see faith as a mode of reason. (shrink)