Aspect Perception and Philosophical Difficulty

Avner Baz

in The Oxford Handbook of Wittgenstein

Published in print October 2011 | ISBN: 9780199287505
Published online January 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Philosophy

 Aspect Perception and Philosophical Difficulty

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  • History of Western Philosophy


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This article traces a new line of thought through, or actually to, Ludwig Wittgenstein's writings on aspect perception. Its point of bearing is the second part of the Brown Book. It show that the trail of philosophical reflection that apparently naturally leads Wittgenstein in the Brown Book from questions concerning how we ought to conceive of our various mental states (and processes) — that is, from what is arguably one of the underlying overall concerns of the first part of Philosophical Investigations — to the topic of aspect perception, is in fact philosophically interesting. It is also different from what previous attempts to relate the remarks on aspects to the first part of the Investigations would have made one expect. An important point of departure for Wittgenstein's work was that he found literally incredible the dominating conception of philosophy. This article explores aspect perception, aspect-blindness, and philosophical difficulty. It discusses the ‘illusion’ or ‘delusion’ that Wittgenstein detects in those moments in which we attend to instances of Φing in order to find out what Φing is.

Keywords: Ludwig Wittgenstein; aspect perception; aspect-blindness; philosophical difficulty; Brown Book; Philosophical Investigations; philosophy; mental states; illusion; delusion

Article.  10126 words. 

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

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