e-book Wittgenstein-Arg Philosophers: Volume 37 (Arguments of the Philosophers)

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Editions Previous Next. This third volume of the monumental commentary on Wittgenstein's Philosophical Investigations covers sections , which constitute the heart of the book. Like the previous volumes, it consists of philosophical essays and exegesis. The thirteen essays cover all the major themes of this part of Wittgenstein's masterpiece: the private language arguments, privacy, avowals and descriptions, private ostensive definition, criteria, minds and machines, behavior and behaviorism, the self, the inner and the outer, thinking, consciounesss, and the imagination.

The exegesis clarifies and evaluates Wittgenstein's arguments, drawing extensively on all the unpublished papers, examining the evolution of his ideas in manuscript sources and definitively settling many controversies about the interpretation of the published text. About the Author P. Hacker is a Fellow of St. John's College Oxford. Skepticism: From Antiquity to the Present is an essential point of reference for any student, researcher, or practitioner of philosophy, presenting a systematic and historical survey of this core philosophical topic.

Cyrenaicism, Richard Bett 2. Pyrrho and Timon, Casey Perin 3.

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Arcesilaus, Anna Maria Ioppolo 4. Carneades, Harald Thorsrud 5. Aenesidemus, Luca Castagnol i 6. Philo of Larissa, Harold Tarrant 7. Cicero, J. Wynne 8. Menodotus and Medical Empiricism, James Allen 9. John of Salisbury's Skepticism, David Bloch ; Divine Deception, Henrik Lagerlund Michel de Montaigne, Gianni Paganini Pierre Charron, Gianni Paganini Gassendi on Skepticism, Antonia LoLordo Descartes and the Force of Skepticism, David Cunning The earliest people whom we recognize as philosophers, the Presocratics, were also scientists, and several of them were also religious leaders.

They did not yet think of themselves as belonging to a common profession, the one with which we twenty- Wrst-century philosophers claim continuity.

Ordinary Language Philosophy

Those of us who call ourselves philosophers today can genuinely lay claim to be the heirs of Plato and Aristotle. But we are only a small subset of their heirs. What distinguishes us from the other heirs of the great Greeks, and what entitles us to inherit their name, is that unlike the physicists, the astronomers, the medics, the linguists, we phil-.

If philosophy lies somewhere between the sciences and the arts, what is. The knots into which the undisciplined mind ties itself diVer from age to age, and diVerent mental motions are necessary to untie the knots. A prevalent malady of our own age, for instance, is the temptation to think of the mind as a computer, whereas earlier ages were tempted to think of it as a telephone exchange, a pedal organ, a homun- culus, or a spirit.

Maladies of earlier ages may be dormant, such as belief that the stars are living beings; or they may return, such as the belief that the stars enable one to predict human behaviour. The therapeutic view of philosophy, however, may seem to allow only. But that is not necessarily true. A confusion of thought may be so satisfactorily cleared up by a philosopher that it no longer oVers temptation to the unwary thinker. One such example will be considered at length in the Wrst volume of this history. Plato, in one of his dialogues, sorted out the issues so successfully that there has never again been an excuse for mixing them up: indeed, it now takes a great eVort of philosophical imagination to work out exactly what led Parmenides into confusion in the Wrst place.

2. Zombies and physicalism

Progress of this kind is often concealed by its very success: once a. Philosophy does not progress by making regular additions to a quantum of information; as has been said, what philosophy oVers is not information but understanding. Contemporary philosophers, of course, know some things that the greatest philosophers of the past did not know; but the things that they know are not philosophical matters but the truths. But there are also some things that philosophers of the present day understand which even the greatest philosophers of earlier generations failed to understand. For instance, philosophers clarify language by distinguishing between diVerent senses of words; and once a distinction has been made, future philosophers have to take account of it in their deliberations.

Take, as an example, the issue of free will. At a certain point in the. Even someone who believes that the two kinds of liberty coincide has to provide arguments to show this; he cannot simply ignore the distinction and hope to be taken seriously on the topic. It is unsurprising, given the relationship of philosophy to a canon, that. The great works of the past do not lose their importance in philosophy— but their intellectual contributions are not static.

Each age interprets and applies philosophical classics to its own problems and aspirations. This is, in recent years, most visible in the Weld of ethics. The ethical works of Plato and Aristotle are as inXuential in moral thinking today as the works of any twentieth-century moralists—this is easily veriWed by taking any citation index—but they are being interpreted and applied in ways quite diVerent from the ways in which they were applied in the past.

The new light we receive resembles rather the enhanced appreciation of Shakespeare we may get by seeing a new and intelligent production of King Lear. The historian of philosophy, whether primarily interested in philosophy. A historian of painting does not have to be a painter; a historian of medicine does not, qua historian, practise medicine. But a. It is not just that someone who knows no philosophy will be a bad historian of philosophy; it is equally true that someone who has no idea of how to cook will be a bad historian of cookery.

The link between philosophy and its history is a far closer one. But the supplying of reasons for philosophical conclusions, the detection of hidden premisses in philosophical arguments, and the logical evaluation of philosophical inferences are themselves full-blooded philosophical activities. Consequently, any serious history of philosophy must itself be an exercise in philosophy as well as in history. On the other hand, the historian of philosophy must have a knowledge. If we conclude he did not have good reason, even in his own terms, we have to Wnd, diVerent, more complicated explanations.

What is true of action is true of taking a philosophical view. But if he concludes that the past philosopher has no good reason, he has a further and much more diYcult task, of explaining the doctrine in terms of the context in which it appeared—social, perhaps, as well as intellectual.

In modern times this has been most brilliantly illustrated by the masterpiece of the great nineteenth- century German philosopher Gottlob Frege, The Foundations of Arithmetic. While he is discussing the opinions of others, he ensures that some of his own insights are artfully insinuated, and this makes easier the eventual presentation of his own theory.

But the main purpose of his lengthy polemic is to convince readers of the seriousness of the problems to which he will later oVer solutions.

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Without this preamble, he says, we would lack the Wrst prerequisite for learning anything: knowledge of our own ignorance. Most histories of philosophy, in this age of specialization, are the work. In inviting me to write, single-handed, a history of philosophy from Thales to Derrida, Oxford University Press gave expression to the belief that there is something to be gained by presenting the development of philosophy from a single viewpoint, linking ancient, medieval, early modern, and contemporary philosophy into a single narrative concerned with con- nected themes.

The work will appear in four volumes: the Wrst will cover the centuries from the beginning of philosophy up to the conver- sion of St Augustine in ad The second will take the story from Augustine up to the Lateran Council of The third will end with the death of Hegel in The fourth and Wnal volume will bring the narrative up to the end of the second millennium.

Obviously, I cannot claim to be an expert on all the many philosophers. I hope that the work that went into the writing of these books gave me an insight into the philosophical style of four diVerent eras in the history of philosophy. It certainly gave me a sense of the perennial importance of certain philosophical problems and insights. I hope to write my history in a manner that takes account of the points I. I do not suVer from any Whiggish illusion that the current state of philosophy represents the highest point of philosophical endeavour yet reached.

On the contrary, my primary pur- pose in writing the book is to show that in many respects the philosophy of the great dead philosophers has not dated, and that today one may gain philosophical illumination by a careful reading of the great works that we have been privileged to inherit. The kernel of any kind of historiography of philosophy is exegesis: the. Exegesis may be of two kinds, internal or external. In internal exegesis the interpreter tries to. In external exegesis the interpreter seeks to bring out the signiWcance of the text by comparing it and contrasting it with other texts.

Exegesis may form the basis of the two quite diVerent historical endeav-. In one, which we may call historical philosophy, the aim is to reach philosophical truth, or philosophical understanding, about the matter or issue under discussion in the text. Typically, historical philosophy looks for the reasons behind, or the justiWcation for, the statements made in the text under study. In the other endeavour, the history of ideas, the aim is not to reach the truth about the matter in hand, but to reach the understanding of a person or an age or a historical succession.

Typically the historian of ideas looks not for the reasons so much as the sources, or causes, or motives, for saying what is said in the target text. Both of these disciplines base themselves on exegesis, but of the two, the. It is possible to be a good philosopher while being a poor exegete. But Witt- genstein did not really think of himself as engaged in historical philosophy, any more than he thought of himself as engaged in the historiography of ideas.

The invocation of the great Augustine as the author of the mistaken theory is intended merely to indicate that the error is one that is worth attacking. In diVerent histories of philosophy the skills of the historian and those of. The due proportion varies in accordance with the purpose of the work and the Weld of philosophy in question.

The pursuit of historical understanding and the pursuit of philosophical enlightenment are both legitimate approaches to the history of philosophy, but both have their dangers.

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Historians who study the history of thought without being themselves involved in the philosophical problems that exercised past philosophers are likely to sin by superWciality. Philosophers who read ancient, medieval, or early modern texts without a knowledge of the historical context in which they were.

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Rare is the historian of philosophy who can tread Wrmly without falling into either trap. Each of these errors can nullify the purpose of the enterprise. The philosopher who ignores the historical background of past classics will gain no fresh light on the issues that concern us today, but merely present contemporary prejudices in fancy dress.

The two dangers threaten in diVerent proportions in diVerent areas of. In the area of metaphysics it is superWciality which is most to be guarded against: to someone without a personal interest in fundamental philosophical problems the systems of the great thinkers of the past will seem only quaint lunacy.