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Resignation of Feelings and Will

Norberto Abreu e Silva Neto

(Published in Johannessen, Kjel S. and Nordenstam, Tore (ed.), 1995 Culture and Value: philosophie und die Kulturwissenschaften, Kirchberg am Wechsel: Die Österreichische Ludwig Wittgenstein Society, pp. 453-458)

Aiming to know my way about the enigmatic 'will' I wrote this paper taking as a point of departure the remarks Wittgenstein made in TS 213 (*l*) regarding the relation of it to philosophical activity which I sumarized as follows: the difficulty of philosophy is different from intellectual difficulties faced by scientists, because it demands a changing of point of view. When a philosopher tries to understand the significance of an object he must overcome resistances of will, that means, in order to change his perspective a resignation of feelings is demanded from him. What makes an object hardly understandable, he stresses, is not that we need to learn a particular language that would give a frame of reference for its general understandability, but, it is the opposition between our wish to understand it and that comprehension most people want to see. Consequently, out of this conflict between our wish for a 'perspicuous view' of the object and the vision imposed by a certain majority it would result that objects we have nearby could become the most difficult ones to understand.

Further on, Wittgenstein points out how the resistances of will could be overcome by a philosopher and to my understanding the recommendations he makes implies some kind of self-analysis by means of which the philosopher would recognize how the will of a majority hinders his own perception of the object whose significance he wants to known (*2*). But how to proceed in doing such self-analysis?

A hint for this proceeding is given by him in the next section of TS 213, where discussing the possibility of philosophical errors he points out as a source for them our thinking orientated by certain analogies we do not recognize as such. This ignorance would make us integrate false analogies in our language which in turn would be responsible for the missteps given by thought in the accomplishment of philosophical activity. The integration of false analogies into language, he asserts, 'means a constant fight and restlessness' (*3*). Very well, since we do not integrate false analogies in our language because of magical powers where then to search for their origins?

The first movement I made led me to the recognizing of the false analogies I have acquired by living in a society which ascribes a high value to scientific explanations, and in what refers to the will that the most valued explanations in use could be found in the theories of human motivation grounded upon Freudian psychoanalytic thought, the dominant trend in psychology in our fin-de-siècle.

As a trained psychotherapist, and this means as the bearer of a particular scientific language grounded upon the developments of Freudian psychoanalytic thought, I could be tempted to understand the use Wittgenstein makes of the expression 'resistance of will' as referred to a psychic phenomenon, and could also be induced to think that when he is calling the attention of philosophers to the need of overcoming the resistances of will as an important step of philosophical activity he is recommending Freudian psychoanalytic treatment of human motivation as a way of solving philosopher's confusions. It seems to me this was the mistake made by John Wisdom in his Other Minds, because he takes the two activities, the philosophical and the psychoanalytical, as identical (*4*)

In fact, Wittgenstein criticizes the interpretation of the will as identified or seen as a psychic mechanism causing voluntary actions, because underlying this idea, he says, there is a misleading analogy between the funcioning of man and machine. From the Notebooks to Philosophical Investigations, he fights against this false analogy and against the idea which explains voluntary actions as having psychic causes that could be identified in the act of will. Among the many arguments of offers his readers for challenging this idea I would like to bring here the comparison he makes between 'will' and 'phenomenon':

The will can't be a phenomenon, for whatever phenomenon you take is something that simply happens, something we undergo, not something we do. The will isn't something I see happen, it is more like my being involved in my actions, my being my actions (*5*)

Willing cannot be confused with a phenomenon, because logically these words belong to different logical spaces. While a phenomenon simply happens and is in the scope of the experiencing, the voluntary act is something we perform, and is in the space of doing.

It is not uncommon that psychotherapists get mixed up in dealing with the interchange between the two scopes. This is a point of interest for any reflection about the use of techniques designed to stimulate the expression of feelings in psychotherapy. One can think, for example, of the techniques developed by the so many bodily orientated psychotherapies grounded upon the parallelism body-mind. They believe they can provide the patients a setting and techniques for the expression and 'experiencing of will'.

My second movement was guided by my need of clearing up the ethical sense in which the word will is used by Wittgenstein. And this addressed me back to the problem of the scientific explanations we use. The young Wittgenstein developed the idea of will as the bearer of ethics. Asking about the difference in principle between the will in its ethical sense and what puts human body in movement (desire) he comes to the conclusion it is the will which gives significance to the things, and that without it there would not exist also this center of the world we name "I" which results to be the bearer of ethics.

Will and I are united. Firstly he names will above all the bearer of good and evil (*6*), and further on he asserts good and evil are in essence the I. But the I is not an object. We never stand in face of the I as we objectively stand in face of all objects. This leads him to the conclusion that in philosophy we can and should speak of the I in a non-psychological sense:

The philosophical I is not the man, neither the human body nor the human soul, of which psychology is concerned with, but the metaphysical subject, the boundary - not one part - of the world (*7*)

Yet, being ethics a condition of the world of which there is nothing that can be said because it is transcendental, the same would be valid to will as identified with its bearer. Thus, it would remain a use of the word will of which we could talk about: the psychological sense. And such conclusion seems to be in agreement with his final proposal in the Tractatus: the right method in philosophy would have properly nothing to say, except those propositions that can be said: the propositions of natural science (*8*),(* 9*).

Despite this verdict on propositions of natural science as being the only ones that could be discussed, it is well known Wittgenstein was not interested in scientific questions but in philosophical ones. He makes clear that the spirit in which he wrote his works could not be understood by the typical western scientist, because he was not aiming at the same target they have, that means, he was not interested in building complicated structures and, as he says, because of his way of thinking was different from theirs (*10*).

Besides, in different places of his work we can find how the so called scientific explanations could act as hindrances to philosophical activity, and naturally as fuel to resistances of will. For example, from his Conversations on Freud we can understand a philosopher must take care of morbid habits that can be settled down in his vision by a 'certain way of thinking' grounded upon the notions of causal law and determinism (*11*).

We can also learn from a report of Rush Rhees (*12*) that the philosopher cannot follow the scientists' attitude and simply let his philosophical activity to run on the 'railway tracks' of 'scientific method', because the results someone obtains working under pressure of and believing in it as the best method of acquiring knowledge could be different from the results he would obtain through philosophical methods. On the other hand, referring to the method of reducing the explanation of natural phenomena to the least possible number of primitive natural laws by means of generalizations, Wittgenstein advises us that our concern about the methods of science feeds our wish of generality, and that this desire could lead the philosopher to the irresistible temptation of asking and answering questions in the same way as scientists do. This tendency, he says, is the real source of metaphysics and leads the philosopher to complete darkness (*13*).

I do not desagree with Wittgenstein's remarks about the tragic consequences that results from using the 'railway tracks' of scientific methods, that I understand as the highly valued 'railway tracks' of a deterministic point of view in science. Behaviorism in psychology is a good example of that. However, due to resistances of my will which were imposed to me by this sort of scientific education, at this point of the work I found it would be impossible to go on without comparing his position with another one which considers scientific methods in a more positive way. So I confronted his position with Carnap's perspective, without of course understanding it as a deterministic one.

Carnap and Wittgenstein had the same definition of philosophy: the logical clarification of thoughts but they did not have the same aim for the work in this activity. Although Wittgenstein shared with the Vienna Circle its aims, that means, the factual anti-metaphysical research and the fight for a scientific conception of the world, he and Carnap gave different interpretations of the definition of philosophy. While Wittgenstein had as a target bringing into practice logical clarification of thoughts as having an aim in itself, on his side Carnap was interested in the use of clarity aiming at the building of complex structures (*14*).

Carnap recognized and discussed the divergence between Wittgenstein and the Vienna Circle regarding the question of building language systems in symbolic logic. The divergence can be found, he says, in the very fact that in the Vienna Circle mathematics and empirical sciences were taken as models of the best and most systematized form of knowledge to which all philosophical work about the problem of knowledge should be orientated (*15*). Taking the 'scientific method' as being 'the best way of acquiring knowledge (*16*), Carnap fought strongly for its use, and made very clear his position: Cultivate philosophy can only consist of clarifying the concepts and propositions of science through logical analysis (*17*). From this perspective on he criticized Wittgenstein for having an indifferent and sometimes negative attitude towards mathematics and science that he considered harmful to the fruitfulness of his philosophical task.

Well then, if Wittgenstein's position is that the only propositions which we can talk about are those of natural sciences and if these should be a result of an analysis that uses the method of clarification of thoughts, it seems to me hard to understand where is its difference with Carnapien perspective. I cannot see them both doing anything different than exploring the world of logical possibilities.

Wittgenstein said he was not interested in constructing a build but he also said his interest was in having a surveyable view of the foundations of possible buildings (*18*). On his side, Carnap investigated the logical development of possible systems and structures. To my understanding they both represent a non-deterministic way of doing science in which I see each one according to his own 'perspicuity'.

In favour of this idea I would like to mention what Carnap tells us in his Intellectual Autobiography. He reports that in order to uphold conversations with his diverse friends he used different philosophical languages because he felt necessary to adjust himself to their forms of thinking and speaking. In doing so he realized his neutral attitude regarding the diverse forms of philosophical language and formulated it as the 'principle of tolerance', which he recognized as central to his own mode of thinking and as his way of dealing with the many influences he received (*19*).

Shortly, it seems to me they both offer variations of one and the same method: language criticism as developed by Austrian philosophical tradition, and the way they used it reflects nothing more than their personal views to deal with grammatical facts. In this sense I cannot agree that Wittgenstein's negative attitude had been harmful to his philosophical task because nothing could be more fruitful than the medicine he gave for healing psychology from the disease he diagnosed: In psychology there exists precisely experimental methods and conceptual confusion (*20*).

In what refers to Carnap, is my opinion that following a different road from that of Wittgenstein but having in mind his suggestions about positive modes of seeing Metaphysics he was able to leave us a useful conception for the analysis of our 'metaphysical inclinations'. According to K. T. Fann, it was suggested by Wittgenstein that despite their absurdity the ideas expressed by metaphysical statements were of greater importance because they show clearly the grammar of some important words in our language (*21*). I think I can see this positive mode of seeing Metaphysics as developed in Carnap's The Overcoming of Metaphysics through Logical Analysis of Language.

In my opinion, his search for distinguishing diverse components of meaning in the metaphysical (pseudo)propositions was for him a plunge into the grammar of the important metaphysical statements pointed out by Wittgenstein. And Carnap's conception of metaphysics as the expression of an emotive attitude towards life whose components of meaning can have deep psychological effects (*22*) results to be a very important instrument in the therapeutic work to be done for healing psychology from its disease.

Taking up again the beginning of this paper for reaching a conclusion. If a change of perspective is the way we see objects is a condition of philosophical activity that requires facing resistances of will, and if willing is identified with ethics, then what has to be changed is the philosopher values. And since ethics is nothing more than a "form of living", what alternative could a philosopher have to solve his philosophical problems without changing his way of living?

And taking Carnap's conception of metaphysical (pseudo)propositions as expressions of an emotional attitude towards life and understanding the 'railway tracks' of deterministic scientific methods as the real sources of metaphysics, as Wittgenstein pointed out, what could be the results of an analysis that took into consideration the scientist's intellectual difficulties? Are not they also resistances of will?


01. I am quoting from an integral reproduction of Ludwig Wittgenstein "Philosophie", edited by Heikki Nyman (1989) which was published in 1981 Critica, Lisboa: n. 6, May.

02. TS-213, # 86, 406-407.

03. Id. #87, 408-409.

04. PG, #97.

05. NB, 171. The quotations from NB, TLP and PI are from 1984 Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp Taschenbuch Verlag.

06. NB, 175.

07. TLP, 5.461.

08. Id., 6.423.

09. Ibid., 6.53.

10. CV, 7. I am quoting from the English edition by G. H. von Wright, 1980 Oxford: B. Blackwell.

11. LCA, 41 and 52. I quote here the American edition by University of California Press.

12. RHEES, R., "Postscript". In Rush RHEES (ed.), 1984 Recollections of Wittgenstein, Oxford University Press, 207-208.

13. BB, 49. I am quoting from the Portuguese edition. 1992 O Livro Azul, Lisboa: Edições 70.

14. HALLER, R., 1988 Questions on Wittgenstein, London: Routledge, 14. And HALLER, R., Wittgenstein in between - a fragment. Lecture given at Instituto de Psicologia (University of São Paulo), November (Typewritten copy unpublished).

15. CARNAP, R., 1992 Autobiografia Intelectual, Barcelona: Paidós, 123.

16. Id., 144.

17. CARNAP, R. "La Antigua e la Nueva Logica". In Alfred J. AYER, 1965 El Positivismo Logico, Madrid: Fondo de Cultura Económica (3. repr.), 151.

18. CV, 7.

19. CARNAP, R., Autobiografia Intelectual, 50.

20. PI, 580.

21. FANN, K. T., 1992 El Concepto de Filosofia en Wittgenstein, Madrid: Tecnos (2. ed.), 117.

22. CARNAP, R., "La superación de la Metafísica mediante el Analysis Lógico del Lenguage". In Alfred AYER, 1965 El Positivismo Lógico, Madrid: Fondo de Cultura Económica (3. repr.), 85.


The Knowledge of Other Minds: Wittgenstein and Carnap

Norberto Abreu e Silva Neto

São Paulo, Novembro 1994.

(Publication in preparation by Universidad de Castilla - La Mancha, Toledo)

This Symposium has among others these two aims: first, to dissolve the difficulties that arose during the relation between the two poles, Wittgenstein and the Vienna Circle, and second, the purpose of repassing the end of our century in the light of what happened in its beginning. Having this in mind and also the assessment Wittgenstein made of the state of conceptual confusion in psychology (1), I will try here to compose a picture of the difficulties between these two poles in what refers to some questions of philosophy of psychology. My aim is to contribute to the conceptual clarification of this field where Metaphysics is the dominant trend. So, in order to accomplish this task I will take for confrontation the positions of Carnap and Wittgenstein in what refers to three questions: the definition of philosophy and the aim of this work, the way they dealt with the concept of experience, and the way they saw the problem of the knowledge of other minds.


Carnap and Wittgenstein, seem to have the same definition of philosophy (the logical clarification of thoughts), but they did not have the same aim for the work in philosophy. According to Haller, although Wittgenstein shared with the Vienna Circle its aims, that means, the factual antimetaphysical research and the fight for a scientific conception of the world, he did not stress the building of systems and strucutures. Haller says that Wittgenstein's definition of philosophy was one of the three basic conceptions that the Vienna Circle incorporated in the new positivism (2). But the example of Carnap (the constitution of a system that aims at presenting a way of describing the 'logical construction of the world') shows that there were at least two possible interpretations of the definition. On one side, Wittgenstein was bringing into practice the logical clarification of thoughts as having an aim in itself, and on the other clarity was used aiming at the building of complex structures, as it is represented in the Carnapien perspective. From Haller's point of view we could find here one of the vital differences between the Wittgeinsteinian program and that developed by Carnap during the beginning of the thirties (3).

In his Intellectual Autobiography Carnap recognizes and discusses the divergence between Wittgenstein and the Vienna Circle regarding the question of building language systems in symbolic logic. He says the divergence could be found in the very fact that in the Vienna Circle mathematics and empirical sciences were taken as models of the "best and most systematized form of knowledge, to which all philosophical work about the problem of the knowledge should be orientated"(4). Carnap fought strongly for the use of the "scientifical method" that he considers "the best method of acquiring knowledge"(5), and this seemed to determinate the use he made of "philosophical clarity", when he declares his conception of philosophy at the end of his The Old and the New Logics: "Cultivate philosophy can only consist of clarifying the concepts and propositions of the science through logical analysis"(6). From this perspective he criticized Wittgenstein for having an attitude of indiference and sometimes negative towards mathematics and science which he considered harmful to the fruitfulness of his philosophical task.

It is well known Wittgenstein was not interested in scientific questions but in philosophical ones, and much could be said about his positions regarding to the so called scientific explanation. To him the spirit which he wrote his works could not be understood by the typical western scientist, because he was not aiming at the same target as the scientists (to build an ever more complicated structure) and because, he says, "my way of thinking is different from theirs"(7).

Carnap was very conscious of thisand discusses their differences in his Autobiography. To him, Wittgenstein's perspective and attitudes looked like much more to those of a creative artist than those of a scientist. When he formulated an opinion about a philosophical problem, says Carnap, his answer "seemed to us like a newly created work of art or like a divine revelation"(8). But he adds further the attitude they ( he and Schlick) had to philosophical problems was not very different from the scientists' attitude. To them the best way of investigating in philosophy, Carnap says, "was to discuss the doubts and objections of others, in the same way that it happens in the scientific sphere"(9) . Carnap's position regarding to philosophy is made very clear when he declares that "philosophy must be replaced by the logic of science, that is, by the logical analysis of concepts and statements of the sciences"(10).

The results someone else obtains working under the pressure of "railway tracks"(11) and believing in it as "the best method of acquiring knowledge" could be nothing but something very different from the results an artist obtains through his methods. The explanation Carnap gives of the divergence (what divides is to use or not to use scientific methods) can be complemented by the comments he made refering to an aspect of his intelectual development.

In his Intelectual Autobiography Carnap reports that in order to uphold conversations with his diverse friends he used different philosophical languages, adjusting himself to their forms of thinking or of speaking (12). In the face of so many influences, at a certain moment, he felt himself unable to declare his own philosophical positions, and "only gradually, with the passing of the years," he says he realized his way of thinking "was neutral in what refers to the traditional controversies, as for example, realism versus idealism" (13), etc. This neutral attitude regarding the diverse forms of philosophical language Carnap declares to have formulated it as "principle of tolerance", and that he was in support of it.

Of course this difference in the use of "philosophical clarity" would lead both philosophers to antagonic roads. So, this antagonism can be seen in the way they dealt with the concept of experience. While Carnap, because the experientially given constitutes the structural basis of the empirical knowledge, explores various languages in search of the conceptual ground of "experience", Wittgenstein on his part doubts if this concept could serve as a ground for a scientific conception.

To elaborate his systematic reconstructions of the basis of our knowledge of reality, Carnap tries at first to build a system exploring the phenomenalist language. In this perspective the "elementary experiences" are the unities of the construction. The experientially given will not be seen as abstractions like the elements of sensations, but, it will be considered as an indivisible whole. It will be seen as segments of a primary continuum stream of experiences that constantly changes, and which at some moments constitute indivisible wholes(14).

According to Viktor Kraft, from the analysis of these "wholes", following a "properly synthetic way", Carnap was led to the point of view that: "In the experiential stream positions can be distinguished and among such positions relations can be found, for example, the relation that a position is alike to another one in a certain aspect", and also consequently to define the elementary experiences as "relational members in the experiential stream, punctuated and without properties"(15). Kraft also points out that in what refers to the statements about these relations, they only can be made regarding the relations between themselves, therefore, he states that the basis of Carnaps' system will not be in the "primitive classes of elements" but in the "primitive relations upon which the order of experience lays down" . And the fundamental relation which is sufficient for the construction of the system, concludes Kraft, will be the remembrance of the similarities between elementary experiences (present and earlier ones)(16).

What is the perspective Wittgenstein offers us to see the concept of "experience"? In the Philosophical Investigations we can read that there are different concepts of experience and that only in a certain context a determined action is considered an "experience"(17). Expressions like "experience of meaning", of "understanding", of "comparison", of "seeing an aspect", of "calculating", and of "toothache", can be considered expressions of "experience" only in relation to the context they appear.

Wittgenstein considered the possibility of admiting the concept of experience (Erlebnis) as basis and axis of his thought, and also as a ground to all methods and language games. The conclusion of his search can be read in his Remarks on the philosophy of psychology I (# 648) : "Here we think we are standing on the hard bedrock, deeper than any special methods and language-games. But these extremely general terms have an extreme blurred meaning. They relate in practice to innumerable special cases, but that does not make them any solider; no, rather it makes them more fluid." Therefore, such a blurred concept could not serve as ground. But Wittgenstein was not for the contrary of this extreme generality. According to Joachim Schulte, he did not want this fluid concept as a ground, nor did he want "that in our philosophical grounding we should come back to the concrete single case, to the individual, because the singular is at best just an example"(18).

In Remarks on the philosophy of Psychology I (# 109), Wittgenstein expresses his perplexity before the formulation of the concept of 'content' of a experience, when this concept is understood like "the private object, the sense-datum, the 'object' that I grasp immediately with the mental eye, ear, etc. The inner picture.". In his argumentations he poses two questions that change the direction of the enquiry: from where do we get this concept of a 'content' of experience? And, out of what do we find we need it? It seems to me that, if we try to answer these questions we could come to the conclusion they belong to the metaphysical "inclinations" we learn and cultivate. Out of what is our identification of the 'content' of a experience with the 'private object' or the 'inner picture' made? Could these sort of "inclinations" be explained through Freudian psychoanalysis?

When Wittgenstein outlines a plan for the classification of the psychological concepts, he considers the possibility of the psychological field to be defined as that of "experience'. In the passage # 836 of his Remarks on the philosophy of psychology I he is very clear about his linguistic treatment of "experience". He asks himself: "Ought I to call the whole field of the psychological that of 'experience'?" And he adds that being this the case we ought to call "all psychological verbs 'verbs of experience'. ('Concepts of experience.')." So, he states it very clear that he deals with a linguistic phenomenon and not with some sort of "indivisible wholes", or something named "my experience", when he concludes that the characteristic of these verbs is "that their third person but not their first person is stated on grounds of observation. That observation is observation of behaviour." In his plan "experience" is a basic class with subclasses and so many divisions.


The question about the knowledge of another's mind is treated by Carnap as belonging to the higher stages of the structure of the empirical knowledge. In his Intelectual Autobiography he summarizes the steps he followed in his logical construction of entities which normally were conceived as components of the experience. Taking some primitive relations between experiences as a point of departure he arrived first to the sensorial fields, then to the construction of things in the tridimensional perceptive space, and among these things that one which normally is called body, and the bodies of another persons. And later, he states, "the so-called other minds were constructed, that means, the states of mind ascribed to other bodies as functions of his behaviour, analogous to the experience of the own states of mind" (19). From this the difficult question resulted: "How is it possible the knowledge of 'another's psychism' grounded on the egocentric perspective of phenomenalism?" In order to escape the criticism that he was constructing the external world of the experience grounded on the "subjective" or on "private experiences", Carnap made use of the physicalist language.

According to Haller, the ground for Carnap's change from phenomenalism to physicalism is laid down in two components: the first one refers to "the inner problems of the very phenomenalistic perspective, with the simultaneous discovery of the incommunicability by Wittgenstein and also the emergence to surface of the impossibility of a private language"; the second component refers to "the consequent use of the principle of the intersubjectivity to all empirical statements, which beforehand must have become suspect a strict subjetivist position"(20).

So, if Carnap intended to define the concept of "psychic" as an intersubjectively understandable concept (that it could describe observable intersubjective objects and events), then the physicalist language could be his sole guarantee of intersubjective understanding. Haller demonstrates also that the solution Carnap gave to the problem of the "another's psychism" is the same one in both books, Der logische Aufbau der Welt and Scheinprobleme in der Philosophie. Das Fremdpsychische und der Realismusstreit. It is given in the direction of making all the statements dependent upon physical criteria. Therefore, says Haller, in the physicalist language Carnap linked the two ways he had at his disposal to describe the psychism: the behaviorism and the identity theory between psychic phenomena and neurophysiological events.

As a complement to this we can read in Heiner Rutte that Carnap's fundamental argument against the mentalist conception would be found in the proposition "Every phrase about the own psychic must let itself be conceived as a phrase about another's psychism"(21). And in Wittgenstein is written "the human body is the best image of the human soul"(22). Therefore the 'psychic' can be characterized only in coordinate relation to the bodily. And this applies to 'another's psychism', which can be grasped only through bodily symptoms. Or in the physicalistic language of Carnap: "A proposition referring to the minds of others asserts that a physical process of a certain character takes place in the body of the person in question" (23). Then, being so, the problem of knowing if it is possible to translate the psychological statements in terms of bodily states and processes as prescribed by the unitarian physicalist language arises.

Carnap's analogical argument was discussed by Viktor Kraft. After remarking that in the physicalist perspective "in a specific sense the concept of psychic cannot absolutely be scientifically formulated"(24), he justifies the analogical argument arguing that since the qualitative contents of experience cannot be communicated, and since any kind of telephatic hypothesis is out of question, what we then apprehend of another persons are "structures". And finally, asserting that: "What can be communicated is only the position of the qualitative inside an order. But only to the extent that they refer themselves to this order, the expression of the qualitative contain something that can be commom to all; only in this way they are intersubjective", Kraft concludes that this is valid to any kind of psychology, that means, the expression of psychology "cannot contain intersubjectively any other than order relations, 'structures'"(25).

According to the analogical argument a person can understand through an analogical process of thought what the other person means by his psychic states without meaning his bodily expressive behaviour. This was understood and criticized as the presence of metaphysics in Carnap's position. Against this attack, Heiner Rutte (26) explains that Carnap pressuposes we can learn to know the intersubjective meaning of experiential terms independent of those behavioral terms. Hutte also considers that the mentalist ought to deal with the proposition about another's psychism treating it as an hypothesis capable of clarifying the bodily behaviour, and that allows the making of prognosis suitable of being indirectly confirmed. Stegmüller(27) also stresses the independence of experiential terms from behavioral terms. To him the concepts related to experiences cannot be reduced to concepts related to behaviour.

It would transcend the limits of this work to compare the perspectives of both (Carnap und Wittgenstein) to Metaphysics. So, in what follows I would like to register for future development an idea which suggested me the reading of K.T.Fann's book El Concepto de Filosofia en Wittgenstein. According to him, various positive modes of seeing Metaphysics were suggested by Wittgenstein. Despite their absurdity, he says, he considered of greater importance the idea expressed by the metaphysical statements, because "they show with clarity the grammar of some important words of our language" (28). Well then, the work of Carnap La Superación de la Metafísica mediante el Análisis Lógico del Lenguage reflects this positive mode of seeing Metaphysics. It seems to me that in his search for distinguishing diverse components of meaning in these (pseudo)propositions was for him a plunge into the grammar of important metaphysical words, and his conception of metaphysics as "expression of an emotive attitude before life" (29), whose components of meaning "can have deep psychological effects" (30), is to me a very positive way of dealing with these sort of statements.


In what measure can the treatment Wittgenstein gave to the question about the "knowledge of another's mind" help us to get rid of this deadlock, that means, without an appeal to the analogical argument, how can this problem be solved?

Perhaps we could better say Wittgenstein shows us not only how to solve and but also how to dissolve the problem. In his perspective we should treat the question as a language-game, and in doing so we could begin by analysing the so many images which language imposes on us: the image of man as split into body and soul, the image of the thought in head, the image of the thought in soul, the image of psychism as mechanism --for example, Freud uses as a model to describe the 'psychic apparatus' something that would result from the combination of two instruments: microscope and telescope; and recently Stanislav Grof takes holography as an image to the understanding of the mind(31)--.

So, the psychologists should not forget they are using images and be cautious against the illusions brought by images the language describes. Even the neurophysiological explanation, according to Wittgensteins' argument, cannot say anything about the immediate experience. The experiment serves only to classify the immediate experience into a particular class of phenomena, in this case processes in the brain. Therefore, the neurophysiological explanation shows us an image, in the same way as the expressions: "She can read thoughts", and "I cannot imagine what he is thinking about".

The question about the "knowledge of another's psychism" can also be analysed in the light of the distinctions Wittgenstein made between "seeing" and "interpreting". These distinctions sprung from his experiences with visual forms whose best known example is the examination of the philosophical problem of the Jastrow figure (the duck-rabbit). Through these experiences with forms he demonstrates in a concrete way the intimate relation between "seeing" and "interpreting", which consequently will allow him to assert that we see one thing in accordance with how we interpret it, that means, in a moment I see the figure of Jastrow as rabbit and in another one I see it as a duck. "Interpreting", says Wittgenstein, is to make a conjecture, is to express an hypothesis, "which may subsequently turn out false"(32). He demonstrates yet that we are capable of using "the words of the interpretation also to describe what is immediately perceived!"(33), and that "interpreting" is "the primary expression of experience."(34).

However, we shall not imagine that by means of this analogy we could reduce everything to a subjective basis that is implied in "interpreting". Wittgenstein makes it very clear that the phenomenon in what "seeing" becomes "interpreting" results to be a combination of the possibilities of the object seen in the perceptual context with those of imagination.

Wittgenstein does not reject the subjective aspect, on the contrary, he asserts the subjective character of our ascription of experiences to other human beings, as we can read in his Philosophical Investigations, that we can be absolutely certain about the state of mind of another person, "but that this certainty "is always a subjective and not objective certainty"(35).

In the same direction we read in Remarks on the philosophy of psychology I (# 21): "Unless we supply something extra to the figure in our fancy (Phantasie), we can't possibly have an experience essentially tied up with things that are quite outside the sphere of immediate perception". But to admit this aspect of imagination in the "interpretation" of figures and objects cannot be seen without attending to the perceptive characteristics of the "interpreted"object. And this because in "seeing" an object according to the way we "interpret" it, says Wittgenstein, "the aspects, in the changing of aspect, are those that the figure could always have, depending on the circumstances, in an image"(36), or saying it in another way, because the proper object of the immediate experience ( the image or the figure) determines completely its possibilities of being combined with other objects. ("A triangle can really be standing in a painting, in another it can be hanging down, and in a third one it can represent something fallen.") (37).

Well then, if "interpreting" is to make an hypothesis, and if the verbal expressions by which the interpretations are communicated are nothing but images, then the psychologists should consider that in researching the "knowledge of other minds" they have firstly to investigate the phantasies (not those of freudian psychonalysis) contained in the images of man disseminated by the so many languages of psychology. Perhaps they could separate what in essence pertains and what does not belong to the description he makes of the experiences. And, they could take as example the distinction Wittgenstein made referring to the rectangular illustration that could appear in a text-book of physics, and to which one of the possible interpretations is to say: "I see the figure as a wire frame". In Remarks on the philosophy of psychology I (# 21) he observes: "One might say, e.g.: "You assert that you see the figure as a wire frame. Do you perhaps also know if it is a copper wire or an iron wire? And why then has it got to be a wire? --- This shews that the word 'wire' doesn't actually belong essencially to the description of the experience."

Wittgenstein offers us another possibility of seeing the question of the "knowledge of another's mind". Beginning with the statement "You can, in fact, be absolutely certain about another's state of mind, but it is always a subjective, not objective certainty", he develops the idea that we can learn how to know the human beings and that the question about the knowledge of another's mind can be seen as a case of 'specialized' judgement about the authenticity of the expression of feelings.

To introduce this perspective, Wittgenstein points out firstly that , if there is a total agreement among people that have normal vision about the statements on colours, and that this will characterize the 'concept of statement of colours', however, it does not happen the same when we deal with another's 'state of mind', that means, in general when it is a question of knowing if a 'soul manifestation' is authentic or not this agreement does not exist. We could always doubt if what we see is not a simulation. So, Wittgenstein asks and answers the question: "Does a judgement of specialist about the authenticity of the expression of feelings exist?"(38).

This specialist is named by him as "men knowers" (Menschenkenners), and he establishes also a criterium to the assessment of 'better' and 'worst' judgements ("In general, from the judgment of the best men knowers results more correct predictions"(39). It is remarkable that in this passage Wittgenstein uses the word man ("Can we learn to know the human being?"), and not "mind" or "soul" etc. I think that by using this notion of 'human being', Wittgenstein hints to a perspective of description which is different from that in what we use any particular image, for example, the image of man as an entity split into body and soul. The concept of human being is to Wittgenstein a primitive concept and as such it serves as fundament. It is not like the concept of soul that needs to be grounded.

According to A. García Suárez, if we want to understand the comprehension Wittgenstein has of the problem of 'ascribing experiences to other human beings' we need to understand the concept of persona as a primitive concept, that means, as a concept that denotes individuals to which should be ascribed both: states of conciousness and bodily and physical characteristics. He compares the concepts of persona and of 'human being' in what refers to the problem of 'ascribing experiences to other human beings' and concludes that: "If the concept of human being is a primitive concept that is an integral part of our conceptual scheme and not analysable in further terms, then the entirety of experiential qualities applicable to other persons does not need further grounding"(40)

Thus, how can we then learn to know human beings? Are there teachers for this? Yes, says Wittgenstein, "some persons can learn it. But not by means of a course, but through the experience". And adds that in this process we can have a teacher that at intervals makes corrections, but he stresses we do not learn a technique, "we learn the right judgement".

To conclude, aiming at the repassing of our fin-de-siècle in the light of what happened in its beginning, I hope to have shown how the problem of the knowledge of other human beings can be dissolved if we "interpret" it in terms of Wittgenstein's perspective: as language-games that are expressive of 'forms of life', and which should be analysed in terms of learning judgement standards, if the psychologist wishes to avoid the use of entities and remain in the concrete world.


(1) L. Witgenstein. Philosophische Untersuchungen. (Suhrkamp Taschenbuch, Frankfurt, 1984), p. 580 : "Es bestehen nämlich, in der Psychologie, experimentelle Methoden und Begriffsverwirrung."

(2) R. Haller. Questions on Wittgenstein. ( Routledge, London, 1988). At p. 14 we read that the two other basic conceptions are: Wittgenstein's "interpretation of logic and of logical propositions, and its theory of empirical propositions".

(3) R. Haller. Wittgenstein in between - a fragment. Lecture given at Institute of Psychology of the University of São Paulo (november 1992). (Typewritten copy).

(4) R. Carnap. Autobiografia Intelectual. Trad. Carmen Castells (Paidós, Barcelona, 1992), p. 123: "A mi entender, se puede encontrar una explicación de esta divergencia en el hecho de que, en el Círculo de Viena, las matemáticas y la ciencia empírica se tomaban como modelos que representaban la mejor y mas sistematizada forma de conocimiento, hacia la qual debía orientarse todo trabajo filosófico sobre el problema del conocimiento."

(5) Ibid., p. 144: "el metodo científico es el mejor metodo de adquirir conocimiento".

(6) R. Carnap. "La Antigua y la Nueva Lógica", in A. J. Ayer, El Positivismo Lógico. (Fondo de Cultura Económica, Madrid, 1965, 3. repr.), p. 151: "Cultivar la filosofia sólo puede consistir en aclarar los conceptos y proposiciones de la ciencia por medio del análisis lógico."

(7) L. Wittgenstein. Culture and Value, ed. G.H. von Wright, trans. P. Winch. (Basil Blackwell, Oxford, 2. ed., 1988), p. 6.

(8) R. Carnap. Autobiografia Intelectual, p. 61: "Cuando finalmente emergía su respuesta ( la de Wittgenstein), muchas veces tras un esfuerzo prolongado y arduo, ésta aparecia ante nosotros como una obra de arte recién creada o como una revelación divina, y no porque hablase de manera dogmática."

(9) Ibid., p. 62: "A nosotros nos parecía que la mejor manera de examinar una idea, en el campo filosófico, era discutir las dudas y las objeciones de los demás, al igual que sucede en los ámbitos científicos".

(10) M. Garrido. "Dos maneras de hacer filosofía". Introdución a la Autobiografia Intelectual de Carnap. P. 17: "En el prólogo a la Logische Syntax der Sprache declara Carnap solemnemente que 'la filosofía debe ser reemplazada por la lógica de la ciencia, es decir, por el análisis lógico de los conceptos y enunciados de las ciencias, porque la lógica de la ciencia no es otra que la sintaxis lógica del lenguage de la ciencia'".

(11) R. Rhees. "Postscript", in Recollections of Wittgenstein, ed. Rush Rhees. (Oxford University Press paperback, 1984), p. 202: "'In fact, nothing is more conservative than science. Science lays down railway tracks' ... Wittgenstein spoke at other times of 'railway tracks' as the image behind the way people thought and spoke of 'scientific laws' or 'natural necessity'; or, as in this case, 'scientific method'."

(12) R. Carnap. Autobiografia Intelectual, p. 51.

(13) Ibid., p. 50: "Solo gradualmente, con el transcurrir de los años, me he dado cuenta de que mi forma de pensar era neutral con respcto a las controvesias tradicionales, como por ejemplo realismo versus idealismo..."

(14) V. Kraft. El Círculo de Viena. Trans. Francisco Gracia.(Taurus, Madrid, 1966), p. 104.

(15) Ibid., p. 105.

(16) Ibid., p. 106: "...y puesto que se reconoce la semejanza comparando una vivencia elemental con una anterior; o sea, con una vivencia recordada, es el recuerdo de la semejanza el que constituye la relación fundamental."

(17) L. Wittgenstein. Philosophische Untersuchungen, Teil II, Kap. XI.

(18) J. Schulte, Erlebnis und Ausdruck. ( Philosophia Verlag, München, 1987), p. 26: "Er (Wittgenstein) wird nicht behaupten, dass wir bei unseren philosophischen Begründungen auf den konkreten Einzelfall, das Individuell, zurückgehen sollten, denn das Einzelne ist bestenfalls Beispiel."

(19) R. Carnap, Autobiografia Intelectual, p. 49: "Y posteriormente se construían las llamadas otras mentes, es decir, los estados mentales atribuidos a otros corpos en función de su comportameiento, en analogia con la experiencia de los estados mentales proprios".

(20) R. Haller, Neopositivismus: eine historische Einführung in die Philosophie des Wiener Kreises. (Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft, Darmstadt, 1993), p. 202: "Zum einen waren es die internen Probleme der phänomenalistischen Position selbst, die mit Wittgenstein gleichzeitiger Aufdeckung der Unkommunizierbarkeit bzw. der Unmöglichkeit einer privaten Sprache mehr und mehr an die Oberfläche traten. Zum anderen war es die konsequente Anwendung des Prinzips der Intersubjektivität für alle empirischen Aussagen, das eine strikt subjetivische Position von vornherein verdächtig machen musste."

(21) H. Rutte, "Physikalistische und mentalistische Tendenzen", in Paul Kuntorad (ed.) Jour Fixe der Vernunft: Der Wiener Kreis und die Folgen. (Hölder-Pichler-Tempsky, Wien, 1991), p. 179: "Jeder Satz über etwas Eigenpsychisches muss sich als Satz über Fremdpsychisches auffassen lassen."

(22) L. Wittgenstein, Philosophische Untesuchungen, p. 496: "Der meschliche Körper ist das beste Bild der menschlichen Seele."

(23) R. Carnap, "Psicologia en Lenguage Fisicalista", in Alfred J. Ayer (ed.) El Positivismo Lógico. (Fondo de Cultura Económica, Madrid, 1965, 3. Repr.), p. 180: "una proposition referente a las mentes de otros afirma que um processo físico de determinada índole se realiza en el cuerpo de la persona en cuestión."

(24) V. Kraft, op. cit., p. 186: "De acuerdo con el fisicalismo, el concepto de psiquico en sentido espezifico no puede en absoluto formularse cientificamente."

(25) Ibid., p. 57.

(26) H. Rutte, p. 179 ss.

(27) W. Stegmüller, "O Moderno Empirismo: Rudolf Carnap e o Círculo de Viena", in A Filosofia contemporânea (vol. 1). Transl. Nelson Gomes. (Editora da Universidade de São Paulo, São Paulo, 1977, pp. 274-329). Brasilian edition of Hauptströmungen der Gegenwartsphilosophie. (Alfred Kroner Verlag, Stuttgart, 1976, 6. ed.).

(28) K.T. Fann, El Concepto de Filosofía en Wittgenstein. Trad. Miguel Angel Beltran. (Tecnos, Madrid, 1992, 2. ed.), p. 117: "Wittgenstein sugirió varios modos positivos de mirar a la metafísica. Hizo hincapié en que aunque los enunciados metafísicos tomados al pie de la letra son absurdos, la 'idea expressada por ellos es de gran importancia'-- exibem con claridad la gramática de algunas palavras importantes de nuestro lenguage--."

(29) R. Carnap, "La Superación de la Metafísica mediante el Análisis Lógico del Lenguage", in Alfred J. Ayer (ed.) El Positivismo Lógico. ( Fondo de Cultura Económica, Madrid, 1965, 3. Repr.), p. 85.

(30) R. Carnap, Autobiografia Intelectual, p. 89.

(31) S. Freud. "Compendio del Psychoanálisis" In Obras Completas, Tomo III, CXCVI. Trad. Luis Lopes-Ballesteros y de Torres.(Madrid, Ed. Biblioteca Nueva), pp. 3379-3418. Stanislav Grof. A Mente Holotrópica. Trad. Wanda de Oliveira Roselli (Rio de Janeiro, Rocco, 1994). Brazilian edition of The Holotropic Mind:The Three Levels of Human Consciousness and How They Shape our Lives.

(32) L. Wittgenstein. Remarks on the Philosophy of Psychology I, Edit. G.E.M. Anscombe and G.H. von Wright. (Basil Blackwell, Oxford, 1980), #8.

(33) Ibid., # 9.

(34) Ibid., # 20.

(35) L. Wittgenstein. Philosophische Untersuchungen, p. 571: "'Du kanst zwar über den Seelenzustand des Andern völlige Sicherheit haben, aber sie ist immer nur eine subjektive, keine objektive.' -- Diese beiden Wörter deuten auf eine Unterschied zwischen Sprachspielen."

(36) Ibid., p. 531: "Die Aspekte im Aspektwechsel sind die, die die Figur unter Umständen ständig in einem Bild haben könnte."

(37) Ibid., p. 531: "Ein Dreieck kann ja wirklich in einem Gemälde stehen, in einem anderen hängen, in einem dritten etwas Umgefallenes darstellen."

(38) Ibid., p. 575: "Gibt es über die Echtheit des Gefühlsausdrucks ein >fachmänniches< Urteil?"

(39) Ibid., p. 574: "Aus dem Urteil des besseren Menschenkenners werden, im allgemeinen, richtigere Prognosen hervorgehen."

(40) A. Garcia Suárez. La Lógica de la Experiencia. (Technos, Madrid, 1976), p. 171: "Si el concepto de ser humano es un concepto primitivo que es parte integrante de nuestro esquema conceptual y no es analizable en términos ulteriores, entonces el conjunto de los predicados experienciales aplicables a las personas no está en necessidade de posterior fundamentación".



Wittgenstein and John Wisdom: What is the Place of Psychoanalysis in Philosophy?

(Published in Hintikka, Jaakko and Puhl Klaus (eds.), 1994 Die britische Tradition in der Philosophie des 20, Jahrhunderts, Kirchberg am Wechsel: Die Österreichische Ludwig Wittgenstein Gesellschaft, pp. 1-7.)

In two occasions Alfred J. Ayer asserted Wittgenstein's method was identical to psychoanalytic method. The first one was in 1946 and because of his comparison he received from an offended Wittgenstein a 'strongely worded letter of rebuke' (*1*). Afterwards, in his Ludwig Wittgenstein (1985) through his comments on the influence of Wittgenstein upon John Wisdom he maintains the same opinion. Ayer says Wisdom was the only one of Wittgenstein's colleagues 'to display any marked sign of his influence', which would have been the transmission of the psychoanalytic method. Wisdom admits this influence, he says, but not Wittgenstein who quarrelled with him for suggesting it. What chiefly offended Wittgenstein was the suggestion that his philosophical technique bore any close resemblance to psycho-analysis, a kinship which Wisdom was disposed to claim for his own work (*2*)

What sort of influence had Wittgenstein on Wisdom? Seeing it from the perspective of John Wisdom this question is unanswerable, because he himself was not sure of both, neither that the claimed influence could be assessed nor that Wittgenstein would recognize it as legitimate. He utters his immense debt to Wittgenstein, but this debt, he says, will be appreciated only by people who have listened to him. And next adds to it: At the same time, I do not think that my way of doing things would quite meet with his approval - it's not sufficiently hard working - a bit cheap and flash (*3*).

Also Ayer avoids to measure this debt. He only suspects it to be minor than Wisdom tributes to Wittgenstein. Yet the really interesting thing is not Wittgenstein's influence upon Wisdom but the suggestion of a kinship between the philosophical technique of Wittgenstein and psychoanalysis. Thus, let us see what is proposed by Wisdom.

In his Preface to Other Minds, Wisdom states that the central aim of his book is the philosopher's motivation. He is concerned with what has led philosophers to say things about one person's knowledge of the mind of another and similar things. In order to accomplish his task he makes use of psychoanalytic theory because he believes it could give us a better understanding of what is wanted by the philosopher who raises questions as to the nature of this or that sort of knowledge (*4*).

As an adherent of psychoanalysis Wisdom exposes, in the words of his character "White", the thesis that all of our wishes, expectancies, beliefs etc. (all of them unconscious) are the roots of our philosophical difficulties (confusions) (*5*), and in the speech of the character "Black" the explanations that our talk about causation is dominated by an unconscious phantasy. The words of his characters are complemented by a note of Wisdom explaining the use of this technical expression. He says that he puts the psychoanalytic expression "an unconscious phantasy dictating our conscious life" instead of Wittgenstein's "We have the idea that...", "We have the picture of..." (*6*).

In the same direction of these statements the reader finds out that to solve philosophical difficulties, instead of recommending language criticism as an instrument to be used in the clarification of philosophical confusions, Wisdom prescribes psychoanalytic treatment (on behalf of Wittgenstein's analogy of philosophy as therapy). The treatment of these difficulties, he says, is like psychoanalytic treatment (to enlarge Wittgenstein's analogy) in that the treatment is the diagnosis and the diagnosis is the description, the very full description, of the symptoms. In short, what Wisdom emphasizes in his book is the identity of both works: the philosophical and the psychoanalytical.

Is it true that both methods are identical? Of course Wittgenstein proposed the analogy of philosophy as therapy, and also said that some "inclinations" we have could be understood through psychoanalytic means. But, I do not think that by giving us this perspective to see the philosophical work he meant the philosopher's activity to become a psychoanalytic one. In view of his criticism of psychoanalysis whoever tried to enlarge his analogy could not have as a result the proposal of a psychoanalysis of philosophy, that means, to consider the philosophical doubts, the questions and answers of philosophers as determinated by "unconscious phantasies", expression of fundamental significance to the theory of Melanie Klein (1882-1960), who fully developed this Freudian concept and whose ideas were in the center of the dabates carried out in the British Society of Psychoanalysis in the forties.

Out of her "child psychoanalysis" Klein establishes the "unconscious phantasy" as the mental expression of instincts or as the psychic representation of the instinct. This concept is the basis of the complex theoretical structure she elaborated where all the varieties of mental mechanisms are related to specific phantasies or species of phantasies (*8*).

It is known that Wittgenstein recommended the study of primitive forms of language (particularly of the children) as a source to the understanding of the language games, but he did not say that the "pre-verbal" modes of behaviour (the "primitive reactions") to which the language games are referred could be explained by these sort of mental mechanisms.

Since Wittgenstein was not an adherent but a critic of Freudian metaphysics, what sort of kinship could exist between his method and psychoanalysis? Perhaps the answer to this question could give elements to a better understanding of Wisdom's point of view.

First of all we can say they were both recommended in the Manifesto of the Vienna Circle. They were explanations to be considered in the rejection of metaphysical philosophy. Psychoanalysis was considered to be the beginnings of more penetrating explanation for research in a psychological direction, and the work of Wittgenstein an advanced clarification of the logical origins of metaphysical aberration (*9*). But, significant as it is, to point out this common juncture of the two enterprises in intellectual and cultural history is to mention only part of the picture in composition. So, let us go into some other aspects.

Two aspects of the kinship between Freud and Wittgenstein were pointed out by Ray Monk (*10*). According to him, what brings them near is the common ability to form a synoptic view by constructing illuminating similes and metaphors, and also an attitude Wittgenstein shared not only with Freud but with his friend Engelmann. This attitude consisted of the tendency they had to seek the source of the discrepancy between the world as it is and as it ought to be according to their lights within, rather than outside oneself. It is exactly this tendency that psychoanalysis uses as a technique to explore the unconscious thoughts and wishes, and which is the today so called "psychoanalytical attitude".

As it is well known today, this similarity of gifts and attitudes, or this "analytical affinity", to use the expression of Paul-Laurent Assoun (*11*), refers to a common belonging of Wittgenstein and Freud to the Viennese culture of the Fin-de Siècle. This common attitude of self-analysis would explain the kinship. And, following the road suggested by Haller (*12*) this methodical similarity would include Spengler and could go up to the same "line of thinking" as origin. Different was the use they (Freud and Wittgenstein) made of the gift.

Although Freud does not state it, his technique makes use of something related to Wittgenstein's concept of "perspicuous representation", but not of course with identical objective. While in Wittgenstein "perspicuity" can be associated to the maxim of the Arbeit an Einem selbst (*13*), what we see in Freud is a gathering of phenomena and connections which are worked through analogies and metaphors in order "to make the patient see" where their hidden "resistances" are, and to prove the psychoanalytic truth. So, in order to clarify himself the reader of Wittgenstein is asked to see all connections of a question while Freud shows his reader only the unconscious determinations of it.

Though Freud uses the methodological tool to give us the opportunity to discover things about ourselves, he uses it also to demonstrate his hypothesis that there is only one reason to explain the tragic destiny of his patients and readers. And, in what refers to ethics how different are the perspectives. Wittgenstein describes it as a mistery and Freud proposes the psychoanalytic ethics as the correct worldview. But, despite the differences John Wisdom states that:

It isn't that people can't resolve philosophical difficulties but that they won't. In philosophy it is not a matter of making sure that one has got hold of the right theory but of making sure that one has got hold of them all. Like psychoanalysis it is not a matter of selecting from all our inclinations some which are right, but of bringing them all to light by mentioning them and in the process creating some which are right for this individual in these circumstances (*14*).

However, the kinship of both methods did not represent an hindrance to Wittgenstein's criticism of the theory and technique of psychoanalysis. According to Rhees (*15*) and to McGuiness (*16*) the criticism comprises the demarcation of differences with Freud on what refers to three main themes: science, symbolism and mythology. Thus, let us approach this demarcation from the point of view of Wittgenstein's attack against the basis of psychoanalytical work, the technique of "free association" (the rule according to which the patient must not judge what he says once in the "analytic setting"). In the notes of Rhees we read: To learn with Freud one has to uphold the critical attitude, and psychoanalysis generally hinders this (*17*).

What is proposed by the fundamental psychoanalytic rule is in essence not judging. This contradicts what is inherent to the analytical rationality because not judging is to interrupt or to paralise the critical attitude which results to be the tool by means of which the criterium of certainty is questioned. It must also be said that to follow this rule is an unattainable aim. However, despite Freud's knowledege of the impossibility of "free association" of ideas he imposed his rule. In order to overcome the contradiction he called into play the power of scientific authority. Thus, to follow this rule is to become an adherent of a proposition which Freud's authority says to be true.

So, what Wittgenstein questions is the argument for the scientific authority of the analytic method while at the same time asking his reader to consider the logic of consent which is involved in the use of psychoanalytic technique. Another object of his criticism refers to the technique of dream interpretation. According to Wittgenstein nothing scientific is to be seen in the Freudian theory of dreams. To say that the dreams are the (disguised) accomplishment of (repressed) wishes, our philosoph explains to Rhees, is nothing else than pure "speculation". And as regards to the "unconscious thoughts" it is remarkable what Wittgenstein stresses in the Blue Book when he says the psychoanalysts were induced in error by thinking they had discovered something else than new psychological reactions (*18*).

The hypothesis of the existence of an unconscious consciousness was categorically rejected by Franz Brentano. Nevertheless, this was not an hindrance to Freud. He divided the thoughts and feelings in conscious and unconscious and laid down his psychoanalysis in the metaphysical notions of wish and unconscious. If we remember that in psychoanalysis every thing, every person, every relation is simply the appearance of another reality then we could apply to Freud the criticism Brentano made to Herbart:

Herbart's big error, and before him Kant's, was to consider the phenomena of the inner perception in the same way as he treated the phenomena to which is directed the so called outward perception, like simple appearances which refer to one Being instead of seeing there actual realities, and upon this ground he laid down his research (*19*).

Considering then that Wittgenstein belongs to the Austrian philosophical tradition founded by Brentano (*20*), his fierce criticism of Freud's theoretical chatter, and despite the "similar gifts" and "analytical affinities", it seems to me that there is a big difference between Wittgenstein and Freud which is in Freud's deviation of Brentano's principles and Wittgenstein's kinship to Brentano's School.

Thus taking into account what was above mentioned it is possible to conclude that Wittgenstein had nothing to do but feel himself offended by Ayer's assertion that his method and psychonalysis were identical. And regarding the psychoanalytical philosophy of John Wisdom what seems to me of importance in his unending enquire in search of the knowledge of another's mind is the fact that he calls our attention to the question of the position of psychoanalysis in the context of philosophy. Considering then that Wittgenstein did not see in the psychoanalysis a science (and significant of it is also that he does not say a word about Freud and psychoanalysis in his Remarks on the Philosophy of Psychology), but, as pointed out by Assoun (*21*), he sees in it a particular teaching which conveys an "aesthetic knowledge", psychoanalysis would be then best epistemologically placed in this field.

And to conclude, being this the case, what to think about the unconventional laboratory of experimental psychology which is created by the "analytical setting"?


01. R. MONK, Wittgenstein: The duty of Genius. (Penguin Books, 1st. American ed., 1990), p. 357.

02. A. J. AYER, Ludwig Wittgenstein. (Penguin Books, 1985), p. 132.

03. J. WISDOM, Other Minds. (Basil Blackwell, Oxford, 2nd. ed., 1965), p. 1.

04. Ibid., Preface.

05. Ibid., pp. 151-153.

06. Ibid., p. 145.

07. Ibid., p. 2.

08. M. KLEIN, Developments in Psycho-Analysis. (The Hogarth Press, London, 1952).

09. The quotation is contained in K. R. Fischer, "Wittgenstein and Freud: Philosophical Analysis and Psychoanalysis". In Wittgenstein - eine Neubewertung: Akten des 14. Internationalen Wittgenstein-Symposiums, Feier der 100. Geburtstags, 13. bis 20. August 1989, Kirchberg am Wechsel (Österreich)/ Hrsg. Rudolf HALLER and Johannes BRANDL. (Wien, Hölder-Pichler-Tempsky, 1990), p. 133.

10. R. MONK, Ibid., pp. 149 and 357.

11. P.-L. ASSOUN, Freud e Wittgenstein. (Ed. Campus, Rio de Janeiro, 1990). Originally published as Freud et Wittgenstein. (Presses Universitaires de France, 1988).

12. R. HALLER, Questions on Wittgenstein. (Routledge, London, 1988).

13. L. WITTGENSTEIN, Culture and Value, ed. G. H. von Wright, trans. Peter Winch. (Basil Blackwell, Oxford, 2nd. ed., 1988), p. 16: "Working in philosophy - like work in architecture in many respects - is really more a work on oneself. On one's own interpretation. On one's way of seeing things. (And what one expects of them.)."

14. J. WISDOM, Ibid., p. 124.

15. R. RHEES, "Conversações sobre Freud". In L. WITTGENSTEIN, Estética, Psicologia e Religião. Org. Cyril Barret, trans. José Paulo Paes. (Cultrix, São Paulo, 1970), pp. 73-88. Brazilian edition of Lectures and conversations on Aesthetics, Psychology and Religious Belief (Basil Blackwell, Oxford).

16. B. MCGUINNES, "Wittgenstein and Freud". In Ludwig Wittgenstein, ed. Jean-Pierre Cometti. (Sud-Revue Litteraire, Marseille, 1986), pp. 135-155.

17. R. RHEES, Ibid., p. 74. ("Para aprender com Freud, a pessoa tem de manter a atitude crítica; e a Psicanálise em geral impede isso.")

18. L. WITTGENSTEIN, O Livro Azul, trans. Jorge Mendes. (Edições 70, Portugal, 1992), pp. 102-103. Portuguese edition of The Blue and Brown Books (Basil Blackwell, 1958).

19. F. BRENTANO, Psychologie vom empirischen Standpunkt, Hrsg. Oskar Kraus. (Felix Meiner Verlag, Hamburg, 1971), Band I, p. 233: ... und das war der grosse Fehler Herbart's und vor him Kant's, dass sie die Phänomene der inneren Wahrnehmung sich richtete, als einen blossen Schein, der auf ein Sein hinweise, nicht als etwas, was selbst wirklich sei, annerkannten und ihren Forschungen zu Grunde legten.

20. R. HALLER, Ibid.

21. P.-L. ASSOUN, Ibid., p. 83.

[After Post-Modernism Conference. Copyright 1997.]

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