DREAMING, CALCULATING, THINKING: WITTGENSTEIN AND ANTI-REALISM ABOUT THE PAST
Author: Child, William
Source: The Philosophical Quarterly, Volume 57, Number 227, April 2007 , pp. 252-272(21)
For the anti-realist, the truth about a subject's past thoughts and attitudes is determined by what he is subsequently disposed to judge about them. The argument for an anti-realist interpretation of Wittgenstein's view of past-tense statements seems plausible in three cases: dreams, calculating in the head, and thinking. Wittgenstein is indeed an anti-realist about dreaming. His account of calculating in the head suggests anti-realism about the past, but turns out to be essentially realistic. He does not endorse general anti-realism about past thoughts; but his treatment does in some cases involve elements of anti-realism, unacceptable in some instances but possibly correct in others.
Document Type: Research Article
Publication date: April 1, 2007