The problem of other minds: Wittgenstein's phenomenological perspective

Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 5 (1):53-73 (2006)
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This paper discusses Wittgenstein's take on the problem of other minds. In opposition to certain widespread views that I collect under the heading of the “No Problem Interpretation,” I argue that Wittgenstein does address some problem of other minds. However, Wittgenstein's problem is not the traditional epistemological problem of other minds; rather, it is more reminiscent of the issue of intersubjectivity as it emerges in the writings of phenomenologists such as Husserl, Merleau-Ponty, and Heidegger. This is one sense in which Wittgenstein's perspective on other minds might be called “phenomenological.” Yet there is another sense as well, in that Wittgenstein's positive views on this issue resemble the views defended by phenomenologists. The key to a proper philosophical grasp of intersubjectivity, on both views, lies in rethinking the mind. If we conceive of minds as essentially embodied we can understand how intersubjectivity is possible



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Søren Overgaard
University of Copenhagen

Citations of this work

Direct perception in the intersubjective context.Shaun Gallagher - 2008 - Consciousness and Cognition 17 (2):535-543.
Extended cognition and the space of social interaction.Joel Krueger - 2011 - Consciousness and Cognition 20 (3):643-657.
Other minds.Alec Hyslop - 2008 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
Direct Social Perception.Joel Krueger - forthcoming - In Albert Newen, Leon de Bruin & Gallagher Shaun (eds.), The Oxford Handbook of 4E Cognition.

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References found in this work

Phenomenology of perception.Maurice Merleau-Ponty - 1945 - Atlantic Highlands, New Jersey: The Humanities Press. Edited by Donald A. Landes.
Philosophy and the Mirror of Nature.Richard Rorty - 1979 - Princeton University Press.
Phenomenology of Perception.Maurice Merleau-Ponty - 1962 - New York: Routledge. Edited by Donald A. Landes.
Phenomenology of Perception.Maurice Merleau-Ponty - 1945/1962 - New York: Routledge. Edited by Donald A. Landes.

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