Philosophy as naive anthropology: Comment on Bennett and Hacker

In M. Bennett, D. C. Dennett, P. M. S. Hacker & J. R. & Searle (eds.), Neuroscience and Philosophy: Brain, Mind, and Language. Columbia University Press (2007)
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Abstract

Bennett and Hacker’s _Philosophical Foundations of Neuroscience_ (Blackwell, 2003), a collaboration between a philosopher (Hacker) and a neuroscientist (Bennett), is an ambitious attempt to reformulate the research agenda of cognitive neuroscience by demonstrating that cognitive scientists and other theorists, myself among them, have been bewitching each other by misusing language in a systematically “incoherent” and conceptually “confused” way. In both style and substance, the book harks back to Oxford in the early 1960's, when Ordinary Language Philosophy ruled, and Ryle and Wittgenstein were the authorities on the meanings of our everyday mentalistic or psychological terms. I myself am a product of that time and place (as is Searle, for that matter), and I find much to agree with in their goals and presuppositions, and before turning to my criticisms, which will be severe, I want to highlight what I think is exactly right in their approach–the oft-forgotten lessons of Ordinary Language Philosophy

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Daniel C. Dennett
Tufts University

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