An Attitude Towards a Soul: Wittgenstein, Other Minds and the Mind

In Joel Backström, Hannes Nykänen, Niklas Toivakainen & Thomas Wallgren (eds.), Moral Foundations of Philosophy of Mind. Springer Verlag. pp. 159-177 (2019)
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We tend to take for granted that we know what is involved in belief in other minds, and that the real problem lies in justifying that belief. By contrast, this chapter argues that we misunderstand what belief in other minds involves, and that the problem of other minds has its source in that misunderstanding. My aim is to rethink what belief in other minds involves in terms of what Wittgenstein calls ‘an attitude towards a soul’. Doing so not only undermines the problem of other minds as traditionally formulated, but also has significant consequences for our understanding of the mind itself. One such consequence is that ethical considerations have a much more fundamental role to play in thinking about the mind than is typically believed.



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Edmund Dain
Providence College

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