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(2009) Psychology and philosophy, Dordrecht, Springer.

Philosophy of mind with and against Wittgenstein

Frederick Stoutland

pp. 285-305

The chapter investigates the discussion of twentieth century analytical philosophy of mind, focusing on Wittgenstein's and Davidson's criticism of physicalism. Wittgenstein's most significant contribution was his rejection of the Cartesian mind–body distinction, the accompanying conception of philosophy, and the idea of primacy of action over intellection. Physicalism, the view that the mental must either be an explanatory physicalist theory or vindicated by such a theory, is exemplified in the chapter by the theories of Fodor and Churchland. Fodor accepts the mental because it can be made scientifically respectable; Churchland rejects it because it cannot. The chapter argues that both views assume the Cartesian distinction (manifested in what they call "folk psychology") between the physical – conceived as physicalistic – and the mental – conceived as a realm of inner entities. Davidson, however, rejects physicalism and the Cartesian mental–physical distinction that underlies it. By elucidating his philosophy of action the chapter shows that it is unjustified to equate his monism with physicalism. Davidson makes a sharp distinction between rational explanations of action (which are interpretative, normative, and first-person) and physical scientific explanations. Most importantly, he does not claim that rational explanations of action must be grounded in physical laws. In spite of Davidson's recurrent reference to theories, his work is non-theoretical in Wittgenstein's sense.

Publication details

DOI: 10.1007/978-1-4020-8582-6_15

Full citation:

Stoutland, F. (2009)., Philosophy of mind with and against Wittgenstein, in S. Heinämaa & M. Reuter (eds.), Psychology and philosophy, Dordrecht, Springer, pp. 285-305.

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