1st Edition

Wittgenstein and Naturalism

Edited By Kevin M. Cahill, Thomas Raleigh Copyright 2018
    348 Pages
    by Routledge

    348 Pages 5 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    Wittgenstein was centrally concerned with the puzzling nature of the mind, mathematics, morality and modality. He also developed innovative views about the status and methodology of philosophy and was explicitly opposed to crudely "scientistic" worldviews. His later thought has thus often been understood as elaborating a nuanced form of naturalism appealing to such notions as "form of life", "primitive reactions", "natural history", "general facts of nature" and "common behaviour of mankind". And yet, Wittgenstein is strangely absent from much of the contemporary literature on naturalism and naturalising projects.

    This is the first collection of essays to focus explicitly on the relationship between Wittgenstein and naturalism. The volume is divided into four sections, each of which addresses a different aspect of naturalism and its relation to Wittgenstein's thought. The first section considers how naturalism could or should be understood. The second section deals with some of the main problematic domains—consciousness, meaning, mathematics—that philosophers have typically sought to naturalise. The third section explores ways in which the conceptual nature of human life might be continuous in important respects with animals. The final section is concerned with the naturalistic status and methodology of philosophy itself. This book thus casts a fresh light on many classical philosophical issues and brings Wittgensteinian ideas to bear on a number of current debates-for example experimental philosophy, neo-pragmatism and animal cognition/ethics-in which naturalism is playing a central role.

    Introduction Thomas Raleigh and Kevin M. Cahill

    Part I. Varieties of Naturalism

    1. Wittgenstein and Naturalism Paul F. Snowdon

    2. Wittgenstein’s Liberal Naturalism of Human Nature David Macarthur

    3. Naturalism in the Goldilocks Zone: Wittgenstein’s Delicate Balancing Act Daniel D. Hutto and Glenda Satne

    Part II. Language: Self, Truth, and Mathematics

    4. Sensations, Natural Properties, and the Private Language Argument William Child

    5. Wittgenstein, Self-Knowledge and Nature Annalisa Coliva

    6. The End of an Affair Charles Travis

    7. Later Wittgenstein and the Genealogy of Mathematical Necessity Sorin Bangu

    Part III. Animal Minds, Human Psychology

    8. Minding the Gap: In Defense of Mind-mind Continuity Dorit Bar-On

    9. Rational Animals Julia Tanney

    10. Modes of a "Complicated Form of Life": Expression and Human-Animal Continuity Stina Bäckström

    Part IV. Naturalism and Meta-Philosophy

    11. Wittgenstein, Hume and Naturalism Benedict Smith

    12. Wittgensteinian ‘Therapy’, Experimental Philosophy, and Metaphilosophical Naturalism Eugen Fischer

    13. Representationalism, Metaphysics, Naturalism: Price, Horwich and Beyond Jonathan Knowles

    14. Do Pragmatic Naturalists Have Souls? Should Anyone be Paid to Worry about it? Bjørn Torgrim Ramberg


    Kevin M. Cahill is Professor of Philosophy at the University of Bergen. He works mainly on Wittgenstein’s Philosophy and the Philosophy of the Social Sciences. His publications include The Fate of Wonder: Wittgenstein’s Critique of Metaphysics and Modernity (2011).

    Thomas Raleigh is Post-Doctoral Fellow at the Ruhr-University, Bochum. His research is primarily in Philosophy of Mind and Epistemology with particular interest in the work of Wittgenstein. As well as the present volume, he is also the co-editor, together with Jonathan Knowles, of Acquaintance: New Essays (forthcoming).

    "This collection fills a lacuna, as the first volume focusing on the relationship between Wittgenstein and naturalism. It addresses important topics in current philosophical debates and is philosophical rather than exegetical in focus. The essays cover a wide variety of themes and are pertinent both to Wittgenstein scholarship and current debates concerning naturalism."Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews