University of Hertfordshire

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Making Ourselves Understood: Wittgenstein and Moral Epistemology

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Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 16 Jan 2019


Wittgenstein teaches us that, contrary to current philosophical and scientific trends, the understanding of others is not to be achieved though some kind of emotional tool providing an access-pass to otherwise hidden ‘mental contents’. This insight goes against the popular grain of empathy as a form of informational ‘mindreading’, founded upon John Locke's assumption that understanding another is a matter of obtaining and decoding the stored in their mind. We would do best to replace this radically distorted account of what it takes to understand others with a stance which places priority on sharing aspects of our lives. Only then can we even begin to try and tackle our moral, cultural, religious, and socio-political differences.

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