Article

Wittgenstein on Criteria and The Problem Of Other Minds

Edward Witherspoon

in The Oxford Handbook of Wittgenstein

Published in print October 2011 | ISBN: 9780199287505
Published online January 2012 | | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/oxfordhb/9780199287505.003.0022

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Philosophy

Wittgenstein on Criteria and The Problem Of Other Minds

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In Philosophical Investigations, Ludwig Wittgenstein explores the grammar of our concepts — especially the grammar of concepts that describe the mind — by looking at the grounds on which we apply them. Wittgenstein usually employs the term ‘criteria’ for the grounds on which we apply a concept, so we may say that a major aim of Wittgenstein's philosophical enterprise is to understand and clarify the logic of psychological concepts through an examination of their criteria. This article examines two very different interpretations of Wittgenstein on criteria. The first reader is Rogers Albritton, who interprets criteria as conventions linking behaviour with mental states. The second is John McDowell, who identifies the defects of that approach and offers a radically different way of thinking about criteria of mental concepts. The article concludes by arguing that Wittgenstein's remarks about criteria are a crucial part of his critique of skepticism.

Keywords: Philosophical Investigations; Ludwig Wittgenstein; criteria; Rogers Albritton; behaviour; mental states; John McDowell; skepticism; concepts; grammar

Article.  14708 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy ; Philosophy of Mind ; History of Western Philosophy

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