Wittgenstein, mind and meaning: Toward a social conception of mind (Book review)



Publication Details

Hutto, D. (2000). Wittgenstein, mind and meaning: Toward a social conception of mind (Book review). Philosophical Investigations, 23 (2), 177-181.


I once heard a Wittgensteinian philosopher compare the philosophy of mind to a lovely, serence duck pond which had now become overwhelmed by a group of boorish swans. He was referring, of course, to the technical, yet philosophically naive, movements that have dominated the field of late. Indeed it is frequently lamented that Wittgenstein's key insights are too oftern ignored and misunderstood in contemporary anglophone philosopphy; that his relevance to today's problems is not properly appreciated. Nowehere is this more apparent than in the burgeoning discipline that goes under the alias 'cognitive science'. At the same time, purists complain that whwere attempts have benn made to apply Wittgenstein's insight to specialised branches of philosophy, they are taken out of context and thereby misrepresented. The charge is that one cannot understand Wittgenstein's philosophical ends and method by piecemeal borrowings from his writings. The result is standardly that good books on Wittgenstein's philosophy of mind focus on carefully explicating his views without attempting to show how they relate to the concerns of cognitive scientists. Meredith William's collection of essays admirably bridges this gap.

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