Stanley Cavell: Philosophy's Recounting of the Ordinary

By Stephen Mulhall | Go to book overview

5
Criteria, Scepticism, and Other Minds

In the previous chapter, I focussed on Cavell's view of concepts in their application to the external world; in this chapter, I want -- in effect -- to narrow that focus even further and look at his view of concepts in their application to a certain sort of denizen of the external world, namely, creatures we regard as possessed of a mind. Since, however, the application of psychological concepts to such creatures amounts to acknowledging them as being in some way kin to ourselves (i.e. as fellow human beings), it is only to be expected that this narrowing of focus will highlight complexities and confusions whose treatment will require more than a mechanical application of lessons acquired through the study of external-world scepticism in the previous chapter. In short, scepticism about other minds should be seen neither as an instance of, nor as something entirely distinct from, scepticism about the external world.


Withholding Concepts of the Inner: Knowledge and Acknowledgement

The central respect in which Cavell's treatment of these two kinds of scepticism manifests a sense of their kinship is his initial acknowledgement that the criteria governing the application of psychological concepts do not confer certainty. If we understand the criteria for pain as determining when a given stretch of human behaviour is pain-behaviour (i.e. behaviour expressive of pain), then the possibility of such criteria being satisfied and pain none the less being absent cannot be excluded: indeed, situations in which someone is feigning pain can be characterized precisely as ones in which behaviour expressive of pain is not expressive of real pain. On the other hand, and as we noted in the previous chapter, criteria do none the less impose very precise limits on the ways in which such situations can intelligibly be invoked or described; for satisfaction of the criteria for pain entails that the absence of pain can only be accounted for in certain ways (e.g. by claiming that the person concerned is feigning pain or rehearsing the part of a

-108-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Stanley Cavell: Philosophy's Recounting of the Ordinary
Table of contents

Table of contents

Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this book
  • Bookmarks
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
/ 351

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.