Authors
Bastian Reichardt
Universität Bonn
Abstract
Are persons rational because they are self-conscious or are they self-conscious because they are rational? Wittgenstein's remarks on the grammatical peculiarities of first-person expressions are not only a criticism of the conception of a Cartesian Ego but also give rise to systematical extensions which help to answer our question. The distinction between subject- and object-usage of ,,I” – which is made in the ,,Blue Book” – enables Wittgenstein to conceive of sentences like ,,I am in pain” as non-referential expressions. With this distinction, Wittgenstein criticizes the ontological commitment to an Ego which results from the referential usage of ,,I”. Nevertheless, Wittgenstein's distinction stands in need of an addition: We will distinguish an epistemic form of expression from a phenomenal form. On this basis, we can show that self-consciousness systematically builds on rationality – and not the other way around. Competent usage of epistemic-expressive I-sentences is antecedent to talking meaningfully of a self-conscious person. In turn, the competent usage of such sentences is embedded in a social structure. Self-consciousness has a social place.
Keywords Wittgenstein  Self-Knowledge  Expression
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DOI 10.3196/004433017820875783
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