Facts and Values

  • David Cockburn
Part of the Swansea Studies in Philosophy book series


I suggested in Chapter 2 that our inclination to say that the real person ‘lies behind the surface’ that we observe — where that phrase is understood in a way that creates a place for philosophical scepticism — may be partially explained in the following way. We feel that it is only in so far as this is so — only in so far as the real person is not to be found in this world — that our distinctive responses to each other could possibly be in place. Now in so far as we are influenced by that idea the proposal that these responses should be given a central place in philosophical discussions of the notion of a person will be vindicated: if we want to understand why people are tempted by certain views within the philosophy of mind we will need to keep these reactions in mind. It will be clear from my discussion in Chapter 1, however, that I take Wittgenstein’s suggestion here to be considerably richer than this would indicate. For Wittgenstein is not simply reminding us that there is a very close connection between these responses and our understanding of those around us as people. He is, in addition, offering us a picture of the kind of connection that is. In speaking in terms of ‘an attitude towards a soul’ he is rejecting the idea that these responses are based on something more basic: ‘a recognition that these others around me are people’.


Normal Attitude Philosophical Discussion Distinctive Response Real Person Moral View 
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Copyright information

© David Cockburn 1990

Authors and Affiliations

  • David Cockburn
    • 1
  1. 1.Saint David’s University CollegeUniversity of WalesUK

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