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The world is not enough: shared emotions and other minds

Chapter


Abstract


  • Philosophers are all too familiar with the standard epistemological worry

    that our belief that feelings and emotions lurk behind the outward

    behaviour of others cannot be justified. Yet there is a more fundamental

    puzzle about other minds, which asks: How is it possible for us to have

    developed psychological concepts that apply to both ourselves and others at

    all? This latter sceptical problem has become known as the conceptual

    problem of other minds. It is a conundrum precisely because the two most

    natural ways of addressing it are doomed to failure.

    For example, on the one hand, if we learn our psychological concepts

    of experience by making essential reference to our own experiences then it

    is logically impossible to apply the very same concepts to others. The

    problem is that any attempt to do so would require reconceiving what is

    essential to concepts of experience; that is the idea that experiences have an

    essentially subjective character. Given this, the mere fact of others being

    'other' makes ascribing experiences to them a conceptual impossibility.

    Following this line of thinking to its natural solipsistic end, if this were the

    basis of our concepts of experience then the only ones I could understand

    would be my own. It would be literally inconceivable that experiences,

    other than mine, could even exist.

Publication Date


  • 2002

Citation


  • Hutto, D. (2002). The world is not enough: shared emotions and other minds. In P. Goldie (Eds.), Understanding Emotions: Mind and Morals (pp. 37-53). Aldershot, United Kingdom: Ashgate.

Ro Metadata Url


  • http://ro.uow.edu.au/lhapapers/838

Book Title


  • Understanding Emotions: Mind and Morals

Start Page


  • 37

End Page


  • 53

Abstract


  • Philosophers are all too familiar with the standard epistemological worry

    that our belief that feelings and emotions lurk behind the outward

    behaviour of others cannot be justified. Yet there is a more fundamental

    puzzle about other minds, which asks: How is it possible for us to have

    developed psychological concepts that apply to both ourselves and others at

    all? This latter sceptical problem has become known as the conceptual

    problem of other minds. It is a conundrum precisely because the two most

    natural ways of addressing it are doomed to failure.

    For example, on the one hand, if we learn our psychological concepts

    of experience by making essential reference to our own experiences then it

    is logically impossible to apply the very same concepts to others. The

    problem is that any attempt to do so would require reconceiving what is

    essential to concepts of experience; that is the idea that experiences have an

    essentially subjective character. Given this, the mere fact of others being

    'other' makes ascribing experiences to them a conceptual impossibility.

    Following this line of thinking to its natural solipsistic end, if this were the

    basis of our concepts of experience then the only ones I could understand

    would be my own. It would be literally inconceivable that experiences,

    other than mine, could even exist.

Publication Date


  • 2002

Citation


  • Hutto, D. (2002). The world is not enough: shared emotions and other minds. In P. Goldie (Eds.), Understanding Emotions: Mind and Morals (pp. 37-53). Aldershot, United Kingdom: Ashgate.

Ro Metadata Url


  • http://ro.uow.edu.au/lhapapers/838

Book Title


  • Understanding Emotions: Mind and Morals

Start Page


  • 37

End Page


  • 53