By David Hume, Eric Steinberg, J. B. Schneewind
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Extra resources for An Enquiry Concerning the Principles of Morals (Hackett Classics)
The explanation would be intended to be therapeutic. The solipsist needs to be brought to see that he began to go wrong after he noticed that he could exercise the capacity to make discriminating references to individuals without even having to ask himself who he was. This independence of the identity of the mind is really impressive. He wakes up in a plane and knows that this half-written page belongs to the manuscript of his book, and that that piece of coast below is part of Ireland, but his own identity, on which these references are based, is something vouched for by his memories.
Perhaps the best way to appreciate Wittgenstein's later conception of philosophy is to start from the Tractatus and to assess the effects of the subsequent change in his method. He began by taking over the traditional idea that philosophy explains the whole range of phenomena—‘the world as we ﬁnd it’26—by revealing the deep structure of things. What had to be explained was the appropriateness of language to the world—not its truth, of course, but its capacity for truth. The proposed explanation was that language can be deduced to be, at the ultimate level of analysis, a system exhibiting the same structure as the world.
So they do, at least, talk about familiar things. However, he still criticizes them on the ground that they are really only pseudo-scientiﬁc. 44 The criticism is appropriate to both types of theory, because it is just as unscientiﬁc to give some ordinary thing powers which transcend possibility as it is to postulate something whose existence transcends experience. Both procedures result in a theory conﬁned to the limbo of pseudo-science. In both cases the remedy is the same: take the words used to identify the transcendent thing, or to characterize the empirical thing in a way that transcends possibility, and bring them back to their ordinary use as parts of our language in its place in our lives.