The book "Philosophical Foundations of Neuroscience" is an engaging criticism of cognitive neuroscience from the perspective of a Wittgensteinian philosophy of ordinary language. The authors' main claim is that assertions like "the brain sees" and "the left hemisphere thinks" are integral to cognitive neuroscience but that they are meaningless because they commit the mereological fallacy—ascribing to parts of humans, properties that make sense to predicate only of whole humans. The authors claim that this fallacy is at the heart of Cartesian (...) dualism, implying that current cognitive neuroscientists are Cartesian dualists. Against this claim, we argue that the fallacy cannot be committed within Cartesian dualism either, for this doctrine does not allow for an intelligible way of asserting that a soul is part of a human being. Also, the authors' Aristotelian essentialistic outlook is at odds with their Wittgensteinian stance, and we were unconvinced by their case against explanatory reductionism. Finally, although their Wittgensteinian stance is congenial with radical behaviorism, their separation between philosophy and science seems less so because it is based on a view of philosophy as a priori. The authors' emphasis on the a priori, however, does not necessarily commit them to rationalism if it is restricted to conceptual or analytical truths. (shrink)
This major new study by one of the most penetrating and persistent critics of philosophical and scientific orthodoxy, returns to Aristotle in order to examine the salient categories in terms of which we think about ourselves and our nature, and the distinctive forms of explanation we invoke to render ourselves intelligible to ourselves. The culmination of 40 years of thought on the philosophy of mind and the nature of the mankind Written by one of the world’s leading philosophers, the co-author (...) of the monumental 4 volume _Analytical Commentary on the Philosophical Investigations_ Uses broad categories, such as substance, causation, agency and power to examine how we think about ourselves and our nature Platonic and Aristotelian conceptions of human nature are sketched and contrasted Individual chapters clarify and provide an historical overview of a specific concept, then link the concept to ideas contained in other chapters. (shrink)
Since the first publication of Insight and Illusion in l972, a wealth of Wittgenstein's writings have become accessible. Accordingly, in this edition Professor Hacker has rewritten six of his eleven original chapters and revised the others to incorporate the new abundant material. Insight and Illusion now fully clarifies the historical backgrounds of Wittgenstein's highly different masterpieces, the Tractatus and the Investigations, and traces the evolution of Wittgenstein's thought. Hacker explains all of Wittgenstein's writings in detail, focusing on his critique of (...) metaphysics, his famous "private language argument," and his account of self-consciousness. (shrink)
The concept of consciousness has been the source of much philosophical, cognitive scientific and neuroscientific discussion for the past two decades. Many scientists, as well as philosophers, argue that at the moment we are almost completely in the dark about the nature of consciousness. Stuart Sutherland, in a much quoted remark, wrote that.
_The Intellectual Powers_ is a philosophical investigation into the cognitive and cogitative powers of mankind. It develops a connective analysis of our powers of consciousness, intentionality, mastery of language, knowledge, belief, certainty, sensation, perception, memory, thought, and imagination, by one of Britain’s leading philosophers. It is an essential guide and handbook for philosophers, psychologists, and cognitive neuroscientists. The culmination of 45 years of reflection on the philosophy of mind, epistemology, and the nature of the human person No other book in (...) epistemology or philosophy of psychology provides such extensive overviews of consciousness, self-consciousness, intentionality, mastery of a language, knowledge, belief, memory, sensation and perception, thought and imagination Illustrated with tables, tree-diagrams, and charts to provide overviews of the conceptual relationships disclosed by analysis Written by one of Britain’s best philosophical minds A sequel to Hacker’s _Human Nature: The Categorial Framework_ An essential guide and handbook for all who are working in philosophy of mind, epistemology, psychology, cognitive science, and cognitive neuroscience. (shrink)
This volume collects P. M. S. Hacker's papers on Wittgenstein and related themes written over the last decade. Hacker provides comparative studies of a range of topics--including Wittgenstein's philosophy of psychology, conception of grammar, and treatment of intentionality--and defends his own Wittgensteinian conception of philosophy.
Focusing on diverse aspects of Wittgenstein's philosophy, this volume not only provides a valuable introduction, but also investigates connections between the philosophy of Wittgenstein, other philosophers--in particular, Frege, Frazer, Carnap, and Strawson--and philosophical trends. It also illuminates very different aspects of Wittgenstein's thought, probing into the controversies it stimulates, as well as into its influence.
James Conant, a proponent of the ‘New American Wittgenstein’, has argued that the standard inter- pretation of Wittgenstein is wholly mistaken in respect of Wittgenstein’s critique of metaphysics and the attendant conception of nonsense. The standard interpretation, Conant holds, misascribes to Wittgenstein Carnapian views on the illegitimacy of metaphysical utterances, on logical syntax and grammar, and on the nature of nonsense. Against this account, I argue that (i) Carnap is misrepresented; (ii) the so-called standard interpretation (in so far as I (...) have contributed to it) is misrepresented; (iii) Wittgenstein’s views, early and late, are misrepresented. I clarify Wittgen- stein’s conception of logical syntax and of the nonsense that results from transgressing it. (shrink)
This is a new edition of the first volume of G.P.Baker and P.M.S. Hacker’s definitive reference work on Wittgenstein’s _Philosophical Investigations_. New edition of the first volume of the monumental four-volume _Analytical Commentary on the Philosophical Investigations._ Takes into account much material that was unavailable when the first edition was written. Following Baker’s death in 2002, P.M.S. Hacker has thoroughly revised the first volume, rewriting many essays and sections of exegesis completely. Part One - the Essays - now includes two (...) completely new essays: 'Meaning and Use' and 'The Recantation of a Metaphysician'. Part Two - Exegesis §§1-184 - has been thoroughly revised in the light of the electronic publication of Wittgenstein’s _Nachlass_, and includes many new interpretations of the remarks, a history of the composition of the book, and an overview of its structure. The revisions will ensure that this remains the definitive reference work on Wittgenstein’s masterpiece for the foreseeable future. (shrink)
This paper is an examination of Donald Davidson's writings on the idea of a conceptual scheme--and idea which he famously rejects. O relevance in this is the notion of linguistic relativity and the famous Whorf-Sapir thesis.
1. Naturalism Naturalism, it has been said, is the distinctive development in philosophy over the last thirty years. There has been a naturalistic turn away from the a priori methods of traditional philosophy to a conception of philosophy as continuous with natural science. The doctrine has been extensively discussed and has won considerable following in the USA. This is, on the whole, not true of Britain and continental Europe, where the pragmatist tradition never took root, and the temptations of scientism (...) in philosophy were less alluring. Contemporary American naturalism originates in the writings of Quine, the metaphysician of twentieth-century science. With extraordinary panache, he painted a largescale picture of human nature, of language and of the web of belief. I believe that in almost every major respect, it is, like the picture painted by Descartes, the great metaphysician of seventeenth-century science, mistaken. But it evidently appeals to the spirit of the times. So it is worthy of critical examination and careful refutation. I shall argue that the naturalistic turn is a cul-de-sac – a turn that is to be passed by if we are to keep to the highroad of good sense. Naturalism, like so many of Quine’s doctrines, was propounded in response to Carnap. As Quine understood matters, Carnap had been persuaded by Russell’s Our Knowledge of the External World that it is the task of philosophy to demonstrate that our knowledge of the external world is a logical construction out of, and hence can be reduced to, elementary experiences. Quine rejected the reductionism of Carnap’s Logischer Aufbau, and found the idealist basis uncongenial to his own dogmatic realist behaviourism, inspired by Watson and later reinforced by Skinner. The rejection of reductionism and ‘unregenerate realism’, Quine averred, were the sources of his naturalism (FME 72). What exactly was this? We can distinguish in Quine between three different but inter-related programmes for future philosophy: epistemological, ontological and philosophical naturalism. Naturalized epistemology is to displace traditional epistemology, transforming the investigation into ‘an enterprise within natural science’ (NNK 68) – a psychological enterprise of investigating how the ‘input’ of radiation, etc., impinging on the nerve endings of human beings can ‘ultimately’ result in an ‘output’ of our theoretical descriptions of the external world.. (shrink)
P. M. S. Hacker 1. The poverty of philosophy as a science Throughout its history philosophy has been thought to be a member of a community of intellectual disciplines united by their common pursuit of knowledge. It has sometimes been thought to be the queen of the sciences, at other times merely their under-labourer. But irrespective of its social status, it was held to be a participant in the quest for knowledge – a cognitive discipline. Cognitive disciplines may be a (...) priori or empirical. The distinction between what is a priori and what is empirical is epistemological. It turns, as Frege noted, on the ultimate justification for holding something to be true.1 If the truths which a cognitive discipline attains are warranted neither by observation nor by experiment (nor by inference therefrom), then they are a priori. Otherwise they are empirical. The natural and moral sciences (the Geisteswissenschaften) strive for and attain empirical knowledge.2 The mathematical sciences are a priori. Cognitive disciplines have a distinctive subject matter, concerning which they aim to add to human knowledge. Physics deals with matter, motion, and energy, chemistry with the constitution of stuffs out of elements, biology with the nature of living beings, history with ‘the crimes, follies and misfortunes of mankind’ (Gibbon), and so forth. The empirical sciences aim not only to discover truths but also to explain the phenomena they study. The natural sciences produce theories (typically with predictive powers) to explain the facts and laws they discover. The moral sciences too aim to explain the phenomena they study – although not to the same extent by way of theory and general laws; and their predictive powers, if any, are more limited. Mathematics and logic strive to produce theorems by means of proofs, and are.. (shrink)
In ‘Wittgenstein on Language and Rules’, Professor N. Malcolm took us to task for misinterpreting Wittgenstein's arguments on the relationship between the concept of following a rule and the concept of community agreement on what counts as following a given rule. Not that we denied that there are any grammatical connections between these concepts. On the contrary, we emphasized that a rule and an act in accord with it make contact in language. Moreover we argued that agreement in judgments and (...) in definitions is indeed necessary for a shared language. But we denied that the concept of a language is so tightly interwoven with the concept of a community of speakers as to preclude its applicabilty to someone whose use of signs is not shared by others. Malcolm holds that ‘This is an unwitting reduction of Wittgenstein's originality. That human agreement is necessary for “shared” language is not so striking a thought as that it is essential for language simpliciter .’ Though less striking, we believe that it has the merit of being a true thought. We shall once more try to show both that it is correct, and that it is a correct account of Wittgenstein's arguments. (shrink)
P.M.S. Hacker 1. _The problems of Intentionality_ The problems of intentionality have exercised philosophers since the dawn of their subject. In the last century they were brought afresh into the limelight by Brentano. Famously he remarked that.
This essential introduction to the philosopher and his thought, combines passages from Wittgenstein with detailed interpretation. Hacker leads us into a world of philosophical investigation in which "to smell a rat is ever so much easier than to trap it". Wittgenstein defined humans as language-using creatures. The role of philosophy is to ask questions which reveal the limits and nature of language. Taking the expression, description and observation of pain as examples, Hacker explores the ingenuity with which Wittgenstein identified the (...) rules and set the limits of language. (shrink)
This is a critical response to Dr. Tamara Dobler's paper “What Is Wrong with Hacker's Wittgenstein? On Grammar, Context and Sense-Determination.” It demonstrates that Dr. Dobler has no idea of what Wittgenstein meant by “grammar” or “rule of grammar.” She does not know what Wittgenstein meant by “grammatical proposition,” nor does she know what a compositional account of meaning or a category mistake is. She labours under the illusion that to say, as Wittgenstein did, that a rule of grammar excludes (...) a form of words from use is incompatible with the claim that whether an utterance makes sense may be a context-dependent issue. Unlike Dr. Dobler, Wittgenstein did not. (shrink)
1. First person authority: the received explanation Over a wide range of psychological attributes, a mature speaker seems to enjoy a defeasible form of authority on how things are with him. The received explanation of this is epistemic, and rests upon a cognitive assumption. The speaker’s word is a authoritative because when things are thus-and-so with him, then normally he knows that they are. This is held to be because the speaker has direct and privileged access to the contents of (...) his consciousness by means of introspection, conceived as a faculty of inner sense. Like perceptual knowledge, introspective knowledge is held to be direct and non-evidential. Accordingly, the first-person utterances ‘I have a pain’, ‘I believe that p’, ‘I intend to V’ are taken to be descriptions of what is evident to inner sense. Many classical thinkers held such subjective knowledge to be not only immediate, but also infallible and indubitable. The challenge to the received conceptions came from Wittgenstein. He denied the cognitive assumption, arguing that it cannot be said of me at all (except perhaps as a joke) that I know that I am in pain. For what is that supposed to mean — except perhaps that I am in pain?1 If it makes no sense to say that one knows that one is in pain, then the epistemic explanation is a non-starter, since it explains the special authoritative status of a person’s avowal of pain by reference to the putative fact that the subject of pain knows, normally knows, or cannot but know, that he is in pain when he is. It is important to note that Wittgenstein did not mechanically generalize the case of pain across the whole domain of firstperson utterances. The case of pain constitutes only one pole of a range of such utterances. Avowals and averrals of belief and intention approximate the other pole, and require independent analysis and grammatical description. (shrink)
This fourth and final volume of the monumental commentary on Wittgenstein's _Philosophical Investigations_ covers pp 428-693 of the book. Like the previous volumes, it consists of philosophical essays and exegesis.
I was amazed to read that Professor Galen Strawson, who took up philosophy in 1972 at Cambridge, was then given to understand that the nine propositions he lists in ‘The depth(s) of the twentieth century’ (2010: 607) were generally considered to be true. I took up philosophy in 1960 in Oxford, and I was not given to understand any such thing. It is not obvious that there was a sea change with regard to these themes in the 12 years between (...) 1960 and 1972. By 1972 I had been teaching at Oxford for 6 years, and I observed no such change – only the lamentable rise of Davidsonian truth-conditional semantics and Dummett’s anti-realist theory of meaning, which progressively undermined and ultimately destroyed a flourishing milieu of first rate analytic philosophy at Oxford. But, I admit, Cambridge is another place. (shrink)
Davidson’s explanation of first‐person authority in utterance of sentences of the form ‘I V that p’ derives first‐person authority from the requirements of interpretation of speech. His account is committed to the view that utterance sentences are truth‐bearers, that believing that p is a matter of holding true an utterance sentence, and that a speaker’s knowledge of what he means gives him knowledge of what belief he expresses by his utterance. These claims are here faulted. His explanation of first‐person authority (...) by reference to the requirements of interpretability is committed to the view that all understanding involves interpretation. This is argued to be a misconception of understanding and of speaker’s meaning. Davidson’s account involves acceptance of the cognitive assumption that normally when a person Vs that p, he knows that he does. This assumption is challenged. Throughout, Davidson’s conception is compared and contrasted with Wittgenstein’s. (shrink)