Professor Wisdom gives an elementary introduction to the applications in philosophy of the analytical method. He believes that the aim of analysis is clarity, whereas the aim of speculative philosophy is truth. After a brief introduction on what analysis is, he discusses the relation of body and mind and seeks for causal relations between mental and material events. He concludes this section with a chapter on Free will, before turning to perception and the external world.
I Fear you will be disappointed in what I have to say. For I am going to talk about those who, though they have said ‘There is a way to eternal life’, have then gone on to explain that what they mean does not imply that there is a way to a life that endures for ever or even a life after death. It is plain that those who do this take from the words ‘There is a way to eternal (...) life’ a part of their meaning which has been and still is to very many people of very great importance. Nevertheless between those who when they speak of a way to eternal life are thinking of a life after death which endures for ever, and those who when they speak of eternal life give to their words a meaning which carries no implication as to whether there is a life after death, there is a link, in that both are seeking a remedy against a sort of despair which comes not merely from the thought of death but from a disappointment with life together with the thought that it ends in death. (shrink)
This book is based on previously unpublished lectures that Wisdom delivered at the University of Virginia. Its content goes significantly beyond that of his other books. Here he is concerned with how misunderstandings about what it is to prove something or what it is to explain something can infect our thinking in many different fields.
Gasking, D. A. T. The philosophy of John Wisdom.--Thomson, J. J. Moore's technique revisited.--Yalden-Thomson, D. C. The Virginia lectures.--Dilman, I. Paradoxes and discoveries.--Ayers, M. R. Reason and psycholinguistics.--Roberts, G. W. Incorrigibility, behaviourism and predictionism.--Hinton, J. M. "This is visual sensation."--Gunderson, K. The texture of mentality.--Newell, R. W. John Wisdom and the problem of other minds.--Lyon, A. The relevance of Wisdom's work for the philosophy of science.--Morris, H. Shared guilt.--Bambrough, R. Literature and philosophy.--Chronological list of published writings of John Wisdom, 1928-1972 (...) (p. -300). (shrink)
1. ‘How do we know the material world?’, ‘What is it to know the material world?’, ‘In what ways is knowledge of the material world like and in what ways is it unlike other sorts of knowledge?’ We know how we know the material world and what it is to know the material world and in what ways such knowledge is like and unlike other sorts of knowledge. But a man who knows what poetry is like and how it is (...) like and unlike prose may ask ‘What is poetry?’, and a mathematician who knows what it is like to do mathematics may ask ‘What is mathematics?’ It is in a rather like way that we ask ‘What is knowledge of the material world?’ The ways in which knowledge of the material world is like and unlike other sorts of knowledge are familiar to us but we wish for a still better grasp of these likenesses and unlikenesses. (shrink)