What is it that Wittgenstein denies in his philosophy of psychology?

Hans Julius Schneider
Hans Julius Schneider


Taking up some of W.’s paradoxical remarks about the existence of ‘mental things’ the paper investigates, what exactly he is criticizing. After a discussion of the mistaken idea of a private baptizing of one’s own ‘mental events’ W.’s general criticism of the ‘object-and-name model’ is treated with a view on the consequences it has for our understanding of the mental. This treatment includes a discussion of figurative kinds of language use as well as a discussion of the difference between ‘things’ and ‘objects of reference’: With respect to figurative uses of language it often makes no sense to treat constituent expressions as names of objects, and not all objects of reference are things in an unproblematic ordinary-life sense. So what at first sight appears to be a limitation of our understanding of the nature of an object and consequently seems to ask for more empirical research often turns out to be a limitation of our understanding of how we use our language. The paper concludes that one important aspect of what the later W. opposes is dualism: The mental cannot be conceived of as an additional ‘something’ a description of which could be just added to a description of a person as a physical being. Thus W.’s anti-dualism can also be read as turning against a dualism in his Tractatus: The mental realm as well as other provinces of ‘the higher’ are no longer seen as areas of entities about which we have to be silent.

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The yearbook is designed as an annual forum for Wittgenstein research. Wittgenstein-Studien [Wittgenstein Studies] publishes articles and materials on Ludwig Wittgenstein’s life, work and philosophy and on his philosophical and cultural environment.