Experience and expression: The inner-outer conceptions of mental phenomena

Indian Philosophical Quarterly 4 (36):77-112 (2014)
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Expression is the central concept in Wittgenstein’s philosophy of mind, and our experiences are reflected in our bodily expressions or gestures, facial expressions, behaviors and linguistic expressions. It seems true that we have no access of other people’s experiences but we can know or talk about them in so far as they are the common experiences of all. This inaccessibility of other’s experiences may create a genuine thinking that one’s experiences are private and the first person present tense psychological utterances are not descriptive at all. They are understood solely as expressive and expression is the outer concept of a mental phenomenon. In this paper, an attempt will be made on the basis of Wittgenstein’s critique of the relationship between the concepts of experience and expression we shall argue that certain uses of the dichotomy between the inner and the outer are mistakes. According to Wittgenstein, the inner is not a set of experiences which are or are not expressed by our immediate (primitive) expressions or linguistic expressions rather it is the capacity of the subject to express himself genuinely.
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