Language, Mind, and Value: Philosophical Essays

Language, Mind, and Value: Philosophical Essays

Language, Mind, and Value: Philosophical Essays

Language, Mind, and Value: Philosophical Essays

Excerpt

The articles collected in this volume were written over the last twenty years: I have selected them for republication because they seem to me to make some points that are still worth making, and because they have in some cases interested and influenced others. The opening articles, Some Reactions to Recent Cambridge Philosophy (1940-1) and Time: a Treatment of Some Puzzles (1941), represent the impact of Wittgenstein on my thought, after I had spent some time attending his courses in 1939, and had brooded over the Blue Book, Brown Book and what had then been written of the Philosophical Investigations. They have seemed to me worth re-publishing because they reflect sides of Wittgenstein's teaching not usually stressed: his deep love for the philosophical puzzles he tried to liquidate, as well as his valuable doctrine (mainly used by him to excuse his own penchant for solipsism) that the special notations of philosophers serve to bring out important likenesses and differences (or to suppress these or falsely suggest their presence), in other words to 'illuminate' or 'mislead'. In this last doctrine Wittgenstein seems to me to have suggested that 'truth' in philosophy is no mere question of correctness or incorrectness, but for the most part a question of goodness and badness in speaking, a view which seems to me of incalculable importance, and which has inspired all the articles in this volume, including the somewhat homiletic 'Values in Speaking' (my inaugural address at Newcastle). I hope that I have also testified indirectly to Wittgenstein's personal inspiration, to the liberating intellectual light he seemed to diffuse. I do not now think that this personal influence was a wholly good thing, as it made one blind to the unquestioned background, the unfinished performance and the unclear tendency of some of his thinking.

The articles which follow represent my gradual return to an orbit more natural to myself, but, I think, more sensitive to the many pulls which render a philosophical orbit 'reasonable'. I have included my review (1955) of Wittgenstein's Philosophical Investigations to indicate the extent of my disengagement, and the later articles include a tribute to G. E. Moore, a philosopher whom I rank above any other British thinker in the present century. I

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