Wittgenstein on the duration and timing of mental phenomena: episodes, understanding and rule-following

British Journal for the History of Philosophy 26 (6):1153-1175 (2018)
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Wittgenstein’s later works are full of questions about the timing and duration of mental phenomena. These questions are often awkward ones, and Wittgenstein seems to take their awkwardness to be philosophically revealing, but if we ask what it is that these questions reveal then different interpretations are possible. This paper suggests that there are at least six different ways in which the timing of mental phenomena can be awkward. By identifying these we can give sense to some of Wittgenstein’s more cryptic remarks, and doing this enables us to clarify some obscure elements in his picture of the mind, including the distinction between sensations and feelings, and his account of the rational status of those processes out of which rule-following is built.

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Christopher Mole
University of British Columbia


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