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EXPLANATION AND ANALYSIS IN THE PHILOSOPHICAL INVESTIGATIONS

From: 2017-10-10 To:2017-10-10

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  • Thematic Line


    Modern & Contemporary Philosophy
  • Research Group


    Mind, Language & Action
  • MLAG RESEARCH SEMINAR 2017-2018

    EXPLANATION AND ANALYSIS IN THE PHILOSOPHICAL INVESTIGATIONS

    José Pedro Correia
    (PhD Student - Universidade do Porto)

     

    10 de outubro 2017 (terça-feira)

    11h00 | Sala do Departamento de Filosofia (Torre B - Piso 1)

    Entrada livre

     

    Nota: Este Research Seminar destina-se a praticar uma apresentação a ser feita no estrangeiro, portanto será toda em inglês. A discussão e o feedback poderão ser tanto em português como em inglês, dependendo da audiência.

     

    Abstract: In Ludwig Wittgenstein’s Philosophical Investigations, we can find a characterization of semantic explanation (i.e. clarification of meaning) that is antithetical with classical philosophical analysis. There are remarks rejecting the ideals of concept decomposition, regression to first principles, and semantic substitution as useful tasks for philosophy. This picture is contrasted with a deeply pragmatic vision of semantic explanation that can inform different perspectives of analysis. Wittgenstein reminds us that an explanation does not need to be complete or exact in order to be successful. He portrays explanations as conversational tools situated in a context of use; they are successful insofar as they fulfill their purpose. There are, thus, no objective a priori criteria to judge their value. Whether an explanation is good or not in a given context depends on whether it works, and this depends on what it is used for by the agents involved, and how the agents judge its success for achieving their particular purposes.

    What are the implications of this picture for philosophical practice? The metaphilosophical remarks in the Philosophical Investigations seem to explicitly reject explanation as adequate philosophical method. This, however, could be argued to depend on an ambiguous use of explanation as both semantic clarification and causal theory building. Whereas the latter is rejected as a valid method for philosophy, the former, if understood in the pragmatist terms just adumbrated, is perfectly compatible with Wittgenstein's endorsed notion of description. What is at stake, I would also like to argue, is not whether this or that particular method of analysis is best, but what kind of attitude towards philosophical practice and its achievements is more useful.

     

    Imagem: Lyubov Popova, Portrait of a Philosopher (1915). The State Russian Museum

     

    Programa MLAG Research Seminars: http://ifilosofia.up.pt/activities/mlag-research-seminar-2017-2018

     

    Organização:
    Research Group Mind Language and Action Group (MLAG)
    MLAG Seminars 2017-2018 (Sofia Miguens, Luís Veríssimo, Diana Couto, José Pedro Correia)

    Instituto de Filosofia da Universidade do Porto - FIL/00502
    Financiamento: FCT

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