Human mind and human body have been separated from each other as belonging to familiar different categories. But what if we are supposed to admit a category of bodily posture? This is a paper to advance a thesis that mental content in bodily posture is a basis to integrate mind and body. First, what is the basis to claim that there is such a thing as a bodily posture? We humans all communicate each other not only through an ordinary language (...) but also through human postures. Often human postures are much more efficient ways of expressing of ourselves and of understanding each other. Affirmation of this is more natural than its denial. -/- Second, human postures have a mental content. Nodding expresses an agreement to what is suggested where turning indicates disapproval or ignorance. Nodding and turning are physical acts. And so far as they are acts they carry mental contents. But it is important that we do correctly understand the mental contents in such acts. Often mental acts have been taken to be subjective or solipsistic. But contemporary discussions on mental content indicate that mental content carries a wide context rather than a narrow one. If so, this would help us to see how body and mind integrate themselves in the human conception of ourselves. (shrink)
_Private Language_ is that it almost universally sees KW as offering, in his sceptical solution, an account of meaning attributions (i.e., statements of the form, "X means such-and-so by 's'"; hereafter, MAs) which takes their legitimate attribution to be a function of something other than facts or truth conditions. KW is almost universally read as having rejected any account of meaning attributions which takes them to be stating facts or corresponding to facts. In a word, KW is understood as offering (...) a nonfactualist account of MAs. And given that KW's sceptical challenge to the possibility of meaning rests on his negative assertions that there are no meaning facts, and that KW offers a sceptical solution to the sceptic's claim that meaning is impossible, i.e., a solution that by definition "begins . . . by conceding that the sceptic's negative assertions are unanswerable" (K, p. 66), it seems impossible that there would be any doubts about the accuracy of the "almost universal" reading of KW as a nonfactualist. (shrink)
Quelles sont les relations entre naturalisme et scepticisme, après Hume, chez trois philosophes contemporains, trois « nouveaux sceptiques », héritiers de la philosophie du langage ordinaire ? Nous est-il naturel de douter de notre accès au monde ? Le naturalisme doit-il permettre de rejeter la question sceptique comme nonnaturelle, ou au contraire de reconnaître la façon dont le scepticisme traverse notre langage ordinaire ? En distinguant différents naturalismes d'après le concept de nature auquel ils font appel et selon leur position (...) vis-à-vis de la menace sceptique, l'auteur est conduit à réenvisager l'ambiguïté des références contemporaines à Hume, et à mettre au jour l'héritage inattendu de Hume dans la lecture cavellienne des paragraphes des Recherches philosophiques de Wittgenstein sur « suivre une règle ». What relations hold between naturalism and scepticism, after Hume, in the work of three contemporary philosophers, three « new sceptics », who inherit ordinary language philosophy ? Is it natural to us to doubt our access to the world ? Does naturalism aim at allowing the rejection of the sceptical question, or the acknowledgment of the way scepticism infuses ordinary language ? In distinguishing different kinds of naturalism according to the concept of nature they appeal to and according to their position towards the threat of scepticism, the author is led to reconsider the ambiguities of contemporary references to Hume, and to shed light on an unexpected inheritance of Hume that appears in the Cavellian reading of the rule following paragraphs, in Wittgenstein's Philosophical Investigations. (shrink)
What role does ‘ordinary language philosophy’ play in the defense of common sense beliefs? J.L. Austin and Ludwig Wittgenstein each give central place to ordinary language in their responses to skeptical challenges to common sense beliefs. But Austin and Wittgenstein do not always respond to such challenges in the same way, and their working methods are different. In this paper, I compare Austin’s and Wittgenstein’s metaphilosophical positions, and show that they share many metaphilosophical commitments. I then examine Austin and Wittgenstein’s (...) respective takes on the problem of other minds and the problem of our knowledge of the external world. Interestingly, we find Wittgenstein employing methods more frequently associated Austin and vice versa. Moreover, we find that a variety of defenses of common sense beliefs are compatible with ‘ordinary language philosophy.’. (shrink)
In this paper I consider the plausibility of developing anti-skepticism by framing the question in linguistic terms: instead of asking whether we know, we ask what falls within the extension of the word “know”. I first trace two previous attempts to develop anti-skepticism in this way, from Austin (particularly as presented by Kaplan) and from epistemic contextualism, and I present reasons to think that both approaches are unsuccessful. I then focus on a more recently popular attempt to develop anti-skepticism from (...) the “function-first” approach associated with Craig, which I also show to be problematic. I then argue that the apparent prima facie plausibility of fighting skepticism on linguistic grounds is due to a methodological spill-over from linguistics. Once we recognize this, it becomes clear that debate around skepticism should not be conducted in linguistic terms. (shrink)
There is a standard story told about the rise and fall of ordinary language philosophy: it was a widespread, if not dominant, approach to philosophy in Great Britain in the aftermath of World War II up until the early 1960s, but with the development of systematic approaches to the study of language—formal semantic theories on one hand and Gricean pragmatics on the other—ordinary language philosophy more or less disappeared. In this paper we present quantitative evidence to evaluate the standard story (...) of the rise and fall of ordinary language philosophy, building on the topic model of over 30,000 philosophy articles in Weatherson (2022). Using a combination of qualitative judgment and a topic-model-based measurement of similarity between individual articles, we find evidence that supports the first part of the standard story, according to which ordinary language philosophy arises in the 1940s, peaks between the early 1950s and the late 1960s, and then rapidly declines. But we argue that there is also evidence of a "new wave" of ordinary language philosophy in the early 21st century that defies the second part of the standard story. (shrink)
This article develops a logical (or semantic) response to scepticism about the existence of an external world. Specifically, it is argued that any doubt about the existence of an external world can be proved to be false, but whatever appears to be doubt about the existence of an external world that _cannot_ be proved to be false is nonsense, insofar as it must rely on the assertion of something that is logically impossible. The article further suggests that both G. E. (...) Moore and Ludwig Wittgenstein worked towards the same solution but left their work unfinished. (shrink)
Much has been said about Moore’s proof of the external world, but the notion of proof that Moore employs has been largely overlooked. I suspect that most have either found nothing wrong with it, or they have thought it somehow irrelevant to whether the proof serves its antiskeptical purpose. I show, however, that Moore’s notion of proof is highly problematic. For instance, it trivializes in the sense that any known proposition is provable. This undermines Moore’s proof as he conceives it (...) since it introduces a skeptical regress that he goes at length to resist. I go on to consider various revisions of Moore’s notion of proof and finally settle on one that I think is adequate for Moore’s purposes and faithful to what he says concerning immediate knowledge. (shrink)
In ordinary circumstances in which we know there is a goldfinch on a branch in the garden, do we know that the thing on the branch isn’t stuffed? Austin’s methodology is perfectly compatible with holding both that we do and that we wouldn’t know it’s a goldfinch if we didn’t. Moreover, Austin’s methodology supports the claim that if we had no information whatsoever about whether it is stuffed, we wouldn’t know the thing on the branch is a goldfinch. Finally, Mark (...) Kaplan’s claim that P is part of your evidence if and only if you know that P leaves him with good reason to agree that in ordinary circumstances, you do know that the goldfinch isn’t stuffed. This result suggests a distinctive way of approaching arguments for external world skepticism with the structure of the so-called Argument from Ignorance. And it highlights just how much can be learned from approaching epistemological issues in an Austinian spirit. (shrink)
The ‘between Wars’ period in England in the early twentieth century was extraordinary, philosophically. It was marked by a profusion of new, controversial, and revolutionary ideas. Developments in formal logic, the rise of the method of ‘analysis’, and logical atomism were already changing the face of philosophy in England. From this mix emerged two distinctive views about language and its connection to philosophical methodology: one championing the concept of an ideal language; and one rejecting this and favoring appeal to ordinary (...) language. The origin of both views is to be found in the (earlier and later) work of Ludwig Wittgenstein. In this paper, I will examine the emergence of these views in relation to one another: an ideal language conception represented by A.J. Ayer in his Language, Truth and Logic, and the reaction against this conception in the early phases of ordinary language philosophy, in particular in the work of John Wisdom. (shrink)
I develop a new version of the ordinary language response to skepticism. My version is based on premises about the practical functions served by our epistemic words. I end by exploring how my argument against skepticism is interestingly non-circular and philosophically valuable.
From time to time philosophers and scientists have made sensational, provocative claims that certain things do not exist or never happen that, in everyday life, we unquestioningly take for granted as existing or happening. These claims have included denying the existence of matter, space, time, the self, free will, and other sturdy and basic elements of our common-sense or naïve world-view. Around the middle of the twentieth century an argument was developed that can be used to challenge many such skeptical (...) claims based on linguistic considerations, which came to be known as the Paradigm Case Argument ... (shrink)
This paper defends a challenge, inspired by arguments drawn from contemporary ordinary language philosophy and grounded in experimental data, to certain forms of standard philosophical practice. The challenge is inspired by contemporary philosophers who describe themselves as practicing “ordinary language philosophy”. Contemporary ordinary language philosophy can be divided into constructive and critical approaches. The critical approach to contemporary ordinary language philosophy has been forcefully developed by Avner Baz, who attempts to show that a substantial chunk of contemporary philosophy is fundamentally (...) misguided. I describe Baz’s project and argue that while there is reason to be skeptical of its radical conclusion, it conveys an important truth about discontinuities between ordinary uses of philosophically significant expressions (“know”, e.g.) and their use in philosophical thought experiments. I discuss some evidence from experimental psychology and behavioral economics indicating that there is a risk of overlooking important aspects of meaning or misinterpreting experimental results by focusing only on abstract experimental scenarios, rather than employing more diverse and more ecologically valid experimental designs. I conclude by presenting a revised version of the critical argument from ordinary language. (shrink)
This is the second book by Baz that aims to show that a big chunk of contemporary philosophy is fundamentally misguided. His first book, When Words Are Called For: A Defense of Ordinary Language Philosophy (2012) adopted a therapeutic approach (in the Wittgensteinian style) to problems in contemporary epistemology, arguing that when properly thought through, the way philosophers talk about ‘knowing’ that something is the case ultimately does not make sense. Baz’s goal in his second book is less therapeutic and (...) more constructive: he aims to start a methodological revolution (in the Kuhnian sense)—to shake contemporary philosophers out of the unconscious habits of normal science and provoke them into making a radical change in the methods they use to do philosophy and the basic assumptions that motivate those methods. (shrink)
Erin Plunkett draws from both analytic and continental sources to argue for the philosophical relevance of style, making the case that the essay form is uniquely suited to address the sceptical problem. The authors examined here-Montaigne, Hume, the early German Romantics, Kierkegaard and Stanley Cavell-bring into relief the relationship between scepticism and ordinary life and situate the will to know within a broader frame of meaningful human activity. The formal features of the essay call attention to time, subjectivity, and language (...) as the existential conditions of knowledge. -/- In contrast to foundationalist approaches, which expect philosophy to reach empirical or rational certainty, Plunkett demonstrates through these writings the philosophical advantages of a fragmentary, non-dogmatic style of writing. A Philosophy of the Essay shows how this medium can help us come to terms with the contingency and uncertainty of life. (shrink)
Many contextualist accounts in epistemology appeal to ordinary language and everyday practice as grounds for positing a low-standards knowledge (knowledgeL) that contrasts with high-standards prevalent in epistemology (knowledgeH). We compare these arguments to arguments from the height of “ordinary language” philosophy in the mid 20th century and find that all such arguments face great difficulties. We find a powerful argument for the legitimacy and necessity of knowledgeL (but not of knowledgeH). These appeals to practice leave us with reasons to accept (...) knowledgeL in the face of radical doubts raised by skeptics. We conclude by arguing that by relegating knowledgeH to isolated contexts, the contextualist fails to deal with the skeptical challenge head-on. KnowledgeH and knowledgeL represent competing, incompatible intuitions about knowledge, and we must choose between them. A fallibilist conception of knowledge, formed with proper attention to radical doubts, can address the skeptical challenge without illicit appeal to everyday usage. (shrink)
Epistemic contextualism is the theory that “knows” is a context sensitive expression. As a linguistic theory, epistemic contextualism is motivated by claims about the linguistic behavior of competent speakers. This chapter reviews evidence in experimental cognitive science for epistemic contextualism in linguistic behavior. This research demonstrates that although some observations that are consistent with epistemic contextualism can be confirmed in linguistic practices, these observations are also equally well explained both by psychological features that do not provide support for contextualism and (...) by rival theories that are inconsistent with contextualism. I conclude that the motivation for epistemic contextualism is underdetermined by existing experimental evidence, yielding little reason to accept it as an account of our actual linguistic practices. (shrink)
Is ruling out the possibility that one is dreaming a requirement for a knowledge claim? In “Philosophical Scepticism and Everyday Life” (1984), Barry Stroud defends that it is. In “Others Minds” (1970), John Austin says it is not. In his defense, Stroud appeals to a conception of objectivity deeply rooted in us and with which our concept of knowledge is intertwined. Austin appeals to a detailed account of our scientific and everyday practices of knowledge attribution. Stroud responds that what Austin (...) says about those practices is correct in relation to the appropriateness of making knowledge claims, but that the skeptic is interested in the truth of those claims. In this paper, we argue that Stroud’s defense of the alleged requirement smuggles in a commitment to a kind of internalism, which asserts that the perceptual justification available to us can be characterized independently of the circumstances in which we find ourselves. In our reading of Austin, especially of Sense & Sensibilia, he rejects that kind of internalism by an implicit commitment to what is called today a “disjunctive” view of perception. Austin says that objectivity is an aspect of knowledge, and his disjunctivism is part of an explanation of why the alleged requirement is not necessary for a knowledge claim. Since both Stroud and Austin are committed to the objectivity of knowledge, Stroud may ask which view of perceptual knowledge is correct, whether the internalist or the disjunctive. We argue that by paying closer attention to what Austin says about our practices of knowledge attribution, one can see more clearly that it is grounded not only on a conception of objectivity, but also on a conception of ourselves as information agents, a conception that is as deeply rooted as that of the objectivity of knowledge. This gives us moral and practical reasons to favor the disjunctive view of perception. (shrink)
There is a widespread assumption that ordinary language philosophy was killed off sometime in the 1960s or 70s by a combination of Gricean pragmatics and the rapid development of systematic semantic theory. Contrary to that widespread assumption, however, contemporary versions of ordinary language philosophy are alive and flourishing, but going by various aliases—in particular (some versions of) "contextualism" and (some versions of) "experimental philosophy". And a growing group of contemporary philosophers are explicitly embracing the methods as well as the title (...) of ordinary language philosophy and arguing that it has been unfairly maligned and was never decisively refuted. In this overview, I will outline the main projects and arguments employed by contemporary ordinary language philosophers, and make the case that updated versions of the arguments made by ordinary language philosophers in the middle of the twentieth century are attracting renewed attention. (shrink)
Предлагается виттгенштайновское решение скептического парадокса Крипке, который возникает в результате пренебрежения прагматикой и нормативным измерением производимых операций. Парадокс Крипке указывает на то, что натурализация смысла и проблемы следования правилу в рамках классического (ненормативного) натурализма невозможна. Анализируется и критикуется недавно предложенная Гинзборг интерпретация парадокса. Хотя её натуралистический «срединный путь» между диспозиционализмом и ментализмом и близок к нормативному виттгенштайновскому натурализму, вводимое ею понятие примитивной нормативности неудовлетворительно. Правильнее говорить не о натурализме с минимальным добавлением нормативности, как это делает Гинзборг, а о нормативном натурализме.
Epistemic invariantism is the view that the truth conditions of knowledge ascriptions don’t vary across contexts. Epistemic purism is the view that purely practical factors can’t directly affect the strength of your epistemic position. The combination of purism and invariantism, pure invariantism, is the received view in contemporary epistemology. It has lately been criticized by contextualists, who deny invariantism, and impurists, who deny purism. A central charge against pure invariantism is that it poorly accommodates linguistic intuitions about certain cases. In (...) this paper I develop a new response to this charge. I propose that pure invariantists can explain the relevant linguistic intuitions on the grounds that they track the propriety of indirect speech acts, in particular indirect requests and denials. [Note: this paper was written in 2010-11.]. (shrink)
Although Kripke’s skepticism leads to the conclusion that meaning does not exist, his argument relies upon the supposition that more than one interpretation of words is consistent with linguistic evidence. Relying solely on metaphors, he assumes that there is a multiplicity of possible interpretations without providing any strict proof. In his book The Taming of the True, Neil Tennant pointed out that there are serious obstacles to this thesis and concluded that the skeptic’s nonstandard interpretations are “will o’ wisps.” In (...) this paper, contra Tennant, I demonstrate how to construct alternative interpretations of the language of algebra. These constructed interpretations avoid Tennant’s objections and are shown to be interdefinable with the standard interpretation. Kripke’s skepticism is, as it were, an incarnate demon. In contrast, it is currently uncertain whether the same technique is generally applicable to the construction of an alternative interpretation of natural language. However, the reinterpretation of those aspects of natural language that directly relate to numbers seems to be a promising candidate for the development of nonstandard interpretations of natural language. (shrink)
This paper highlights the philosophical and educational significance of expression in Ludwig Wittgenstein's Philosophical Investigations. When the role of expression is highlighted, we will be better able to appreciate Stanley Cavell's insistence that: (i) Wittgenstein offers ways of responding to, though not a refutation of, the problem of skepticism concerning other minds, and (ii) Wittgenstein's writing style is an important aspect of his philosophy. The educational implications of this appreciation will be explored with reference to the lives of adolescences.
This paper argues that most of the alleged straight solutions to the sceptical paradox which Kripke ascribed to Wittgenstein can be regarded as the first horn of a dilemma whose second horn is the paradox itself. The dilemma is proved to be a by‐product of a foundationalist assumption on the notion of justification, as applied to linguistic behaviour. It is maintained that the assumption is unnecessary and that the dilemma is therefore spurious. To this end, an alternative conception of the (...) justification of linguistic behaviour is outlined, a conception that vindicates some of the insights behind Kripke's Wittgenstein's sceptical solution of the paradox. This alternative conception is defended against two objections (both familiar from McDowell's works): (1) that it would imply that for the linguistic community there is no authority, no standard to meet and, therefore, no possibility of error and (2) that it would lead to a kind of idealism. (shrink)
I critically discuss two claims which Hannah Ginsborg makes on behalf of her account of meaning in terms of ‘primitive normativity’: first, that it avoids the sceptical regress articulated by Kripke's Wittgenstein; second, that it makes sense of the thought—central to Kripke's Wittgenstein—that ‘meaning is normative’, in a way which shows this thought not only to be immune from recent criticisms but also to undermine reductively naturalistic theories of content. In the course of the discussion, I consider and attempt to (...) shed light on a number of issues: the structure of the sceptical regress; the content of the thought that ‘meaning is normative’, and its force against reductive theories; the connection between meaning and justification; and the notion of ‘primitive normativity’. (shrink)
In his final notebooks, published as On Certainty , Wittgenstein offers a distinctive conception of the nature of reasons. Central to this conception is the idea that at the heart of our rational practices are essentially arational commitments. This proposal marks a powerful challenge to the standard picture of the structure of reasons. In particular, it has been thought that this account might offer us a resolution of the traditional scepticism/anti-scepticism debate. It is argued, however, that some standard ways of (...) filling out the details of this proposal ultimately lead to an epistemology which is highly problematic. The goal here is to present a more compelling version of Wittgenstein’s account of the structure of reasons which can evade these difficulties. (shrink)
’ The Significance of Philosophical Scepticism has been widely read and discussed by philosophers who are interested in skepticism about our knowledge of the external world.1 Some of his later writings on the topic (such as Stroud (1989) and (1994)) are considered essential reading too. This does not, however, mean that what Stroud says about skepticism2 has as much impact on the discussion of skepticism as it deserves. It seems that his insights into the nature of skepticism have been (...) largely misunderstood or missed. Although Stroud has never argued for skepticism or claimed that skepticism is true, he has been ” ( 2001 37) The Significance of Philosophical Scepticism is, as the title says so clearly, that skepticism is philosophically significant and should be considered seriously, but skepticism is still felt by most philosophers. (shrink)
Does scepticism threaten our common sense picture of the world? Does it really undermine our deep-rooted certainties? Answers to these questions are offered through a comparative study of the epistemological work of two key figures in the history of analytic philosophy, G. E. Moore and Ludwig Wittgenstein.
In?201 of Philosophical Investigations, Ludwig Wittgenstein puts forward his famous? rule - following paradox.? The paradox is how can one follow in accord with a rule? the applications of which are potentially infinite? when the instances from which one learns the rule and the instances in which one displays that one has learned the rule are only finite? How can one be certain of rule - following at all? In Wittgenstein: On Rules and Private Language, Saul Kripke concedes the skeptical (...) position that there are no facts that we follow a rule but that there are still conditions under which we are warranted in asserting of others that they are following a rule. In this paper, I explain why Kripke?s solution to the rule - following paradox fails. I then offer an alternative. (shrink)
The aim of this paper is to resist four arguments, originally developed by Mark Siebel, that seem to support scepticism about reflexive communicative intentions. I argue, first, that despite their complexity reflexive intentions are thinkable mental representations. To justify this claim, I offer an account of the cognitive mechanism that is capable of producing an intention whose content refers to the intention itself. Second, I claim that reflexive intentions can be individuated in terms of their contents. Third, I argue that (...) the explanatory power of the theory of illocutionary reflexive intentions is not as limited as it would initially seem. Finally, I reject the suggestion that the conception of reflexive communicative intentions ascribes to a language user more cognitive abilities than he or she really has. (shrink)
I first argue that the skeptic needs an internalist conception of justification for her argument for skepticism. I then argue that the skeptic also needs to show that we do not have perceptual access to the world if her skepticism is to be a real threat to human knowledge of the world. This, I conclude, puts the skeptic in a dilemma, for internalist conceptions of justification presuppose that we have perceptual access to the world.
"Mente e mondo", il libro che raccoglie le tanto celebrate quanto discusse "John Locke Lectures" di John McDowell, appartiene ad un genere filosofico classico, quello dell'"indagine sui poteri della mente umana". Secondo McDowell, un'indagine di questo tipo è necessaria alla risoluzione di alcuni fra i principali problemi epistemologici e semantici. Attraverso una dettagliata analisi dei lavori di McDowell ed un'approfondita discussione del problema del "seguire una regola" e del connesso paradosso di Kripke-Wittgenstein, questo volume cerca di dimostrare che la posizione (...) di McDowell è la conseguenza di una concezione errata delle nozioni normative ed una forma di quello che Sellars chiamava "Il mito del dato". (shrink)
I defend the hypothesis that organisms that produce and recognize meaningful utterances tend to use simpler procedures, and should use the simplest procedures, to produce and recognize those utterances. This should be a basic principle of any naturalist theory of meaning, which must begin with the recognition that the production and understanding of meanings is work. One measure of such work is the minimal amount of space resources that must go into storing a procedure to produce or recognize a meaningful (...) utterance. This cost has an objective measure, called Kolmogorov Complexity. I illustrate the use of this measure for a naturalist theory of meaning by showing how it offers a straight solution to one of the most influential arguments for meaning irrealism: the skeptical challenge posed by Kripke. (shrink)
A person skeptical about other minds supposes it is possible in principle that there are no minds other than his. A person skeptical about an external world thinks it is possible there is no world external to him. Some philosophers think a person can refute the skeptic and prove that his world is not the solitary scenario the skeptic supposes might be realized. In this paper I examine one argument that some people think refutes solipsism. The argument, from Wittgenstein, is (...) grounded in a thesis about language. Some people believe that in using language a person necessarily is linked to persons other than himself. Some people think a person can use the ‘communalist’ principle to refute forms of solipsism. I show that people do not refute solipsism with the Wittgensteinian, language-necessarily-is-shared principle. (shrink)
It is argued that the intuition driving Kripke’s famous version of Wittgenstein’s meaning skepticism is precisely the one that prompted Hume to despair of his bundle theory of the self: there are no necessary connections between distinct mental states. This interpretation is shown to throw light on Wittgenstein’s notorious idea that all proofs “create concepts.” Wittgenstein has invented a new form of skepticism. Personally I am inclined to regard it as the most radical and original skeptical problem that philosophy has (...) seen to date[.] – Saul Kripke. (shrink)