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Wittgenstein and the Philosophy of Mind$
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Jonathan Ellis and Daniel Guevara

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780199737666

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199737666.001.0001

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Conceiving of Conscious States

Conceiving of Conscious States

Chapter:
(p.145) Chapter 7 Conceiving of Conscious States
Source:
Wittgenstein and the Philosophy of Mind
Author(s):

Christopher Peacocke

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199737666.003.0008

This chapter investigates what it is to grasp concepts of conscious states, such as the concept of pain. These concepts have taken center stage in the philosophy of mind recently, in large part due to the conviction that understanding their nature can help undermine some persistent objections to materialism about the mind. The chapter’s author himself is not concerned here with materialism, though his chapter is bound to have a significant impact on discussions of it. The chapter argues that we should explain a subject’s grasp of the concept of pain in terms of the subject’s understanding of an identity: in terms of the subject’s understanding that what it is for someone else to be in pain--what it is for the concept of pain to apply to someone else--is for that person to be in a state identical to the state that the subject himself is in when he is in pain. While the chapter employs a number of Wittgensteinian insights in arguing for his position, it believes this position is one that Wittgenstein would reject. In fact, this chapter’s author understands himself as steering a middle way between the classic rival positions on conscious states of the later Wittgenstein and of Frege.

Keywords:   Wittgenstein, conscious state, concept, concept of pain, phenomenal concept, identity condition, first-person, Frege

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