Date of Award
Master of Arts (MA)
The purpose of this thesis is to examine Wittgenstein's treatment of the mind-body relationship and the problems associated with articulating this relationship. It is important to note that Wittgenstein does not attack Cartesian dualism in the typical materialist fashion, by arguing against the likelihood that there might be causality across metaphysical gaps, or by insisting that psychological terms in fact refer to the body. His strategy, rather, is to reject the conception of the body that is at the heart of both dualism and materialism: a picture of the human form and its behaviour as expressively vacant, with no significant role to play in our account of mentality, of the mind as a realm of private experience behind that behaviour, and of our experience of one another as mediated by hypotheses. I argue that Wittgenstein calls into question the assumptions of the: mechanical body and the hidden mind by reminding us of our ability to just see others as minded, to see their behaviour as expressive of a mind. Recognizing this expressive relation between our mental states and our outer behaviour, a relation that is neither that of a contingent causal connection nor that of identity, I suggest, is vital to dissolving the whole complex of mind-body problems, at least insofar as this can be done.
Murphy, Jessica, "Wittgenstein on the Mind-Body Relationship" (2006). Open Access Dissertations and Theses. Paper 5705.
McMaster University Library