Philosophy and Analysis

Philosophy and Analysis

Philosophy and Analysis

Philosophy and Analysis




[AN author re-reading his philosophical juvenalia is apt to say "I wonder what I meant when I wrote that". But another curious thing can happen. He finds that he agrees with his younger self, but now means by the words he uses something very different from what he meant before. This latter is what has happened in the case of my paper on "Representation and Expression" . I would even now try to defend most of what I wrote in that paper, but what I should be defending would differ from what I think I thought I was defending in 1934.

In 1934, I was just going into "Behaviourism" (of a kind). In 1954 I am coming out on the other side. I was taking into Behaviourism much that I had learnt from Brentano (or from Brentano as he had been ingested by Stout). And I am now taking it all out again. But, oh, how different it all feels !

It was also in 1934 that John Wisdom published his Mind and Matter . In this book he attributes to Stout and to myself the doctrine, which he himself doubted, that "every mental fact, not only does but must contain a material fact". Neither I nor (possibly) he would be happy to-day with that way of stating the issue, but the thesis which I defended and Wisdom doubted is assumed in this paper; and I could still defend it subject to the reservation noted in the text.

In 1934 I had not been trained to translate statements from the "material mode of speech" to the "formal mode", and maybe I did think then that I was stating some important truth about the nature of the universe. Now, I am more inclined to agree that part of what I was saying is something that follows from a system of verbal habits prevailing in 1934 but which may not follow from the verbal habits of 1954--or, for that matter from the verbal habits of earlier centuries. In those days there was a consistent and attractive use of the word 'mental' such that the things to which this word was most obviously to be applied were . . .

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