Wittgenstein on the Fallacy of the Argument from Pretence

Contributions of the Austrian Wittgenstein Society (2004)
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This paper is concerned with the answer Wittgenstein gives to a specific version of the sceptical problem of other minds. The sceptic claims that the expressions of feelings and emotions can always be pretended. Wittgenstein contrasts this idea with two arguments. The first argument shows that other-ascriptions of psychological states are justified by experience of the satisfaction of criteria. The second argument shows that if one accepts the conclusion of the first argument, then one is compelled to accept the idea that pretence is justifiably ascribed on the same evidential basis, which justifies any other-ascriptions. The two arguments show that other-ascriptions of psychological states and pretence-ascriptions share the same evidential basis. This allows Wittgenstein to say that the sceptic’s appeal to the possibility of pretence implies a contradiction.
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