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William Child
Oxford University
  1.  34
    Wittgenstein, Seeing-As, and Novelty.William Child - 2018 - In Michael Beaney, Dominic Shaw & Brendan Harrington (eds.), Aspect Perception After Wittgenstein: Seeing-As and Novelty. Abingdon: Routledge. pp. 29-48.
    It is natural to say that when we acquire a new concept or concepts, or grasp a new theory, or master a new practice, we come to see things in a new way: we perceive phenomena that we were not previously aware of; we come to see patterns or connections that we did not previously see. That natural idea has been applied in many areas, including the philosophy of science, the philosophy of religion, and the philosophy of language. And, in (...)
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  2.  24
    Economics, Agency, and Causal Explanation.William Child - 2020 - In Peter Róna & László Zsolnai (eds.), Agency and Causal Explanation in Economics. Springer Verlag. pp. 53-67.
    The paper considers three questions. First, what is the connection between economics and agency? It is argued that causation and explanation in economics fundamentally depend on agency. So a philosophical understanding of economic explanation must be sensitive to an understanding of agency. Second, what is the connection between agency and causation? A causal view of agency-involving explanation is defended against a number of arguments from the resurgent noncausalist tradition in the literature on agency and action-explanation. If agency is fundamental to (...)
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  3.  25
    Does the Tractatus Contain a Private Language Argument?William Child - 2013 - In Peter Sullivan Michael Potter (ed.), Wittgenstein's Tractatus. History and Interpretation. Cambridge: Oxford University Press. pp. 143-169.
    Cora Diamond has claimed that Wittgenstein’s Tractatus contains an early ‘private language argument’: an argument that private objects in other people’s minds can play no role in the language I use for talking about their sensations. She further claims that the Tractatus contains an early version of the later idea that an inner process stands in need of outward criteria. The paper argues against these claims, on the grounds that they depend on an unwarranted construal of the Tractatus’s notion of (...)
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  4.  46
    Meaning, Use, and Supervenience.William Child - 2019 - In James Conant & Sebastian Sunday Grève (eds.), Wittgenstein on Philosophy, Objectivity, and Meaning. Cambridge University Press. pp. 211-230.
    What is the relation between meaning and use? This chapter first defends a non-reductionist understanding of Wittgenstein’s suggestion that ‘the meaning of a word is its use in the language’; facts about meaning cannot be reduced to, or explained in terms of, facts about use, characterized non-semantically. Nonetheless, it is contended, facts about meaning do supervene on non-semantic facts about use. That supervenience thesis is suggested by comments of Wittgenstein’s and is consistent with his view of meaning and rule-following. Semantic (...)
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  5.  28
    Sensations, Natural Properties, and the Private Language Argument.William Child - 2018 - In Kevin Cahill & Thomas Raleigh (eds.), Wittgenstein and Naturalism. Abingdon: Routledge. pp. 79-95.
    Wittgenstein’s philosophy involves a general anti-platonism about properties or standards of similarity. On his view, what it is for one thing to have the same property as another is not dictated by reality itself; it depends on our classificatory practices and the standards of similarity they embody. Wittgenstein’s anti-platonism plays an important role in the private language sections and in his discussion of the conceptual problem of other minds. In sharp contrast to Wittgenstein’s views stands the contemporary doctrine of natural (...)
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  6.  23
    'Two Kinds of Use of "I"': The Middle Wittgenstein on 'I' and The Self.William Child - 2018 - In David G. Stern (ed.), Wittgenstein in the 1930s: Between the Tractatus and the Investigations. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. pp. 141-157.
    The paper discusses two aspects of Wittgenstein’s middle-period discussions of the self and the use of ‘I’. First, it considers the distinction Wittgenstein draws in his 1933 Cambridge lectures between two ‘utterly different’ uses of the word ‘I’. It is shown that Wittgenstein’s discussion describes a number of different and non-equivalent distinctions between uses of ‘I’. It is argued that his claims about some of these distinctions are defensible but that his reasoning in other cases is unconvincing. Second, the paper (...)
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  7.  43
    “‘We Can Go No Further’: Meaning, Use, and the Limits of Language”.William Child - 2020 - In Hanne Appelqvist (ed.), Wittgenstein and the Limits of Language. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. pp. 93-114.
    A central theme in Wittgenstein’s post-Tractatus remarks on the limits of language is that we ‘cannot use language to get outside language’. One illustration of that idea is his comment that, once we have described the procedure of teaching and learning a rule, we have ‘said everything that can be said about acting correctly according to the rule’; ‘we can go no further’. That, it is argued, is an expression of anti-reductionism about meaning and rules. A framework is presented for (...)
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  8.  38
    Wittgenstein, Scientism, and Anti-Scientism in the Philosophy of Mind.William Child - 2017 - In Jonathan Beale & Ian James Kidd (eds.), Wittgenstein and Scientism. Abingdon: Routledge. pp. 81-100.
    Part 1 of this paper sketches Wittgenstein’s opposition to scientism in general. Part 2 explores his opposition to scientism in philosophy focusing, in particular, on philosophy of mind; how must philosophy of mind proceed if it is to avoid the kind of scientism that Wittgenstein complains about? Part 3 examines a central anti-scientistic strand in Wittgenstein’s Last Writings on the Philosophy of Psychology volume II: his treatment of the ‘uncertainty’ of the relation between ‘outer’ behaviour and ‘inner’ experiences and mental (...)
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