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Getting clear about perspicuous representations: Wittgenstein, Baker and Fodor

Chapter


Abstract


  • Deciding what role perspicuous representations play in Wittgenstein's

    philosophy matters, not only for determining what one thinks of the

    contributions of this great figure of twentieth-century philosophy but also

    for recognizing the 'live options' for conducting philosophical enquiries,

    full stop. It is not surprising, given this importance, that perspicuous

    representations is the topic of the opening chapter of Gordon Baker's

    posthumous collection of essays on philosophical method. In that contribution

    he offers grounds for thinking that the relevant passage in which

    the notion is explicitly mentioned (cited above) should be read as promoting

    a strongly therapeutic approach to philosophy: he exposes 'this possibility'

    in the modest hope of persuading receptive readers to explore it

    further for themselves (see Baker, 2004: 46). I endorse some of Baker's

    central insights about understanding and use of perspicuous representations,

    but I firmly reject his conclusions about the end of philosophy.

    Spedfically, I agree with him that Wittgenstein set his face against the very

    idea of philosophical 'theorizing', but I deny that this led him (or ought to

    lead anyone) to promote a purely therapeutic philosophy, In the first three

    sections, I supply reasons for preferring an account of Wittgenstein's

    approach to philosophy that emphasizes its clarificatory ambitions, In

    doing so, I say something about: (i) what I take perspicuous representations

    to be and how they function: (ii) what motivates Baker's reading and its

    implications; and (iii) how perspicuous and other forms of representations

    have been misused in attempts at so-called philosophical theorizing,

    I conclude by proposing that in steering clear of both theory and extreme

    therapy, it is possible to prosecute a positive philosophy - one that

    employs perspicuous representations to bring 'relevant connections' to

    light for the purposes of enabling us to understand and reflect on aspects

    of various domains of human being.

Publication Date


  • 2007

Citation


  • Hutto, D. D. (2007). Getting clear about perspicuous representations: Wittgenstein, Baker and Fodor. In D. Moyal-Sharrock (Eds.), Perspicuous Presentations: Essays on Wittgenstein''s Philosophy of Psychology (pp. 299-322). Basingstoke, United Kingdom: Palgrave Macmillan.

Ro Metadata Url


  • http://ro.uow.edu.au/lhapapers/799

Book Title


  • Perspicuous Presentations: Essays on Wittgenstein's Philosophy of Psychology

Start Page


  • 299

End Page


  • 322

Abstract


  • Deciding what role perspicuous representations play in Wittgenstein's

    philosophy matters, not only for determining what one thinks of the

    contributions of this great figure of twentieth-century philosophy but also

    for recognizing the 'live options' for conducting philosophical enquiries,

    full stop. It is not surprising, given this importance, that perspicuous

    representations is the topic of the opening chapter of Gordon Baker's

    posthumous collection of essays on philosophical method. In that contribution

    he offers grounds for thinking that the relevant passage in which

    the notion is explicitly mentioned (cited above) should be read as promoting

    a strongly therapeutic approach to philosophy: he exposes 'this possibility'

    in the modest hope of persuading receptive readers to explore it

    further for themselves (see Baker, 2004: 46). I endorse some of Baker's

    central insights about understanding and use of perspicuous representations,

    but I firmly reject his conclusions about the end of philosophy.

    Spedfically, I agree with him that Wittgenstein set his face against the very

    idea of philosophical 'theorizing', but I deny that this led him (or ought to

    lead anyone) to promote a purely therapeutic philosophy, In the first three

    sections, I supply reasons for preferring an account of Wittgenstein's

    approach to philosophy that emphasizes its clarificatory ambitions, In

    doing so, I say something about: (i) what I take perspicuous representations

    to be and how they function: (ii) what motivates Baker's reading and its

    implications; and (iii) how perspicuous and other forms of representations

    have been misused in attempts at so-called philosophical theorizing,

    I conclude by proposing that in steering clear of both theory and extreme

    therapy, it is possible to prosecute a positive philosophy - one that

    employs perspicuous representations to bring 'relevant connections' to

    light for the purposes of enabling us to understand and reflect on aspects

    of various domains of human being.

Publication Date


  • 2007

Citation


  • Hutto, D. D. (2007). Getting clear about perspicuous representations: Wittgenstein, Baker and Fodor. In D. Moyal-Sharrock (Eds.), Perspicuous Presentations: Essays on Wittgenstein''s Philosophy of Psychology (pp. 299-322). Basingstoke, United Kingdom: Palgrave Macmillan.

Ro Metadata Url


  • http://ro.uow.edu.au/lhapapers/799

Book Title


  • Perspicuous Presentations: Essays on Wittgenstein's Philosophy of Psychology

Start Page


  • 299

End Page


  • 322