Friday, March 25, 2011

Wittgenstein on "Mental Processes"

306. Why should I deny that there is a mental process? But "There has just taken place in me the mental process of remembering . . . ." means nothing more than: "I have just remembered . . . . " To deny the mental process would mean to deny the remembering; to deny that anyone ever remembers anything.

307. "Are you not really a behaviourist in disguise? Aren't you at bottom really saying that everything except human behaviour is a fiction?"If I do speak of a fiction, then it is of a grammatical fiction.

308. How does the philosophical problem about mental processes and states and about behaviourism arise?The first step is the one that altogether escapes notice. We talk of processes and states and leave their nature undecided. Sometime perhaps we shall know more about themwe think. But that is just what commits us to a particular way of looking at the matter. For we have a definite concept of what it means to learn to know a process better. (The decisive movement in the conjuring trick has been made, and it was the very one that we thought quite innocent.)And now the analogy which was to make us understand our thoughts falls to pieces. So we have to deny the yet uncomprehended process in the yet unexplored medium. And now it looks as if we had denied mental processes. And naturally we don't want to deny them.

(Philosophical Investigations, I)