Wittgenstein was one of the most powerful influences on contemporary philosophy, yet he shunned publicity and was essentially a private man. This remarkable, vivid, personal memoir is written by one of his friends, the eminent philosopher Norman Malcolm. Reissued in paperback, this edition includes the complete text of fifty-seven letters which Wittgenstein wrote to Malcolm over a period of eleven years. Also included is a concise biographical sketch by another of Wittgenstein's philosopher friends, Georg Henrik von Wright. 'A reader does (...) not need to care about philosophy to be excited by Mr Malcolm's book; it is about Wittgenstein as a man, and its interest is human interest'. (shrink)
Ludwig Wittgenstein, who died in Cambridge in 1951, is one of the most powerful influences on contemporary philosophy, yet he shunned publicity and was essentially a private man. His friend Norman Malcolm (himself an eminent philosopher) wrote this remarkably vivid personal memoir ofWittgenstein, which was published in 1958 and was immediately recognized as a moving and truthful portrait of this gifted, difficult man.This edition includes also the complete text of the fifty-seven letters which Wittgenstein wrote to Malcolm over a period (...) of eleven years. Apart from the quotations in the Memoir these letters are previously unpublished. They reveal how much friendships mattered to Wittgenstein, and how concerned hewas for the health and well-being of his friends. His human qualities become evident; he advises, warns, jokes. and is grateful and affectionate.The volume also features a concise biographical sketch by another leading philosopher who was a friend of Wittgenstein, Georg Henrik von Wright.Much has been published about Wittgenstein since his death, but nothing brings us closer to the man himself than this modest classic of philosophical biography. (shrink)
Descartes' proof that his essence is thinking.--Thoughtless brutes.--Descartes' proof that he is essentially a non-material thing.--Behaviorism as a philosophy of psychology.--The privacy of experience.--Wittgenstein on the nature of mind.--The myth of cognitive processes and structures.--Moore and Wittgenstein on the sense of "I know."--The groundlessness of belief.
An attempt is made to answer the question why wittgenstein might have found the analogy between speaking and playing games philosophically exciting. It is argued that on the face of it the two are strikingly disanalogous, But that on reflecting further one can find various features of games (9 are distinguished in all) which are also features of some speech episodes, And the awareness of which could be philosophically significant.
In April 1939, G. E. Moore read a paper to the Cambridge University Moral Science Club entitled ‘Certainty’. In it, amongst other things, Moore made the claims that: the phrase ‘it is certain’ could be used with sense-experience-statements, such as ‘I have a pain’, to make statements such as ‘It is certain that I have a pain’; and that sense-experience-statements can be said to be certain in the same sense as some material-thing-statements can be — namely in the sense that (...) they can be safely counted on. When Moore later read his paper to Wittgenstein, Wittgenstein took violent exception to it, and the two entered into a heated exchange. The only known notes of this exchange are a previously unpublished verbatim record of part of it, taken by Norman Malcolm. This paper is an edition of Malcolm’s notes. These notes are valuable for both philosophical and scholarly reasons. They give us a glimpse of a sustained exchange between Wittgenstein and a real-life interlocutor; they contain a defence by Wittgenstein of the idea that a word’s use can illuminate its meaning; and they provide evidence of Wittgenstein’s philosophical engagement with the topic of certainty, and with Moore’s thought on it, long before he began to write the notes which make up On Certainty, in 1949. (shrink)
Recently some philosophers have proposed that the later philosophy of Wittgenstein tends towards idealism, or even solipsism. The solipsism is said to be of a peculiar kind. It is characterized as a ‘collective’ or ‘aggregative’ solipsism. The solipsism or idealism is also said to be ‘transcendental’. In the first part of this paper I will be examining a recent essay by Professor Bernard Williams, in which he presents what he takes to be the grounds for such an interpretation of Wittgenstein. (...) After that I will try to offer convincing evidence that no tendency towards any form of idealism is to be found in Wittgenstein's later philosophy. (shrink)
My main topic will be, roughly speaking, the claim that mental events or conscious experiences or inner experiences are brain processes. I hasten to say, however, that I am not going to talk about “mental events” or “conscious experiences” or “inner experiences.” These expressions are almost exclusively philosophers terms, and I am not sure that I have got the hang of any of them. Philosophers are not in agreement in their use of these terms. One philosopher will say, for example, (...) that a pain in the foot is a mental event, whereas another will say that a pain in the foot certainly is not a mental event. (shrink)
In his book The View from Nowhere , Thomas Nagel says that ‘the subjectivity of consciousness is an irreducible feature of reality’ . He speaks of ‘the essential subjectivity of the mental’ , and of ‘the mind's irreducibly subjective character’ . ‘Mental concepts’, he says, refer to ‘subjective points of view and their modifications’ : The subjective features of conscious mental processes—as opposed to their physical causes and effects—cannot be captured by the purified form of thought suitable for dealing with (...) the physical world that underlines the appearances. Not only raw feels but also intentional mental states—however objective their content—must be capable of manifesting themselves in subjective form to be in the mind at all. (shrink)