September 14, 2015

Standing Before a Sentence

Yrsa Neuman is defending her doctoral thesis in philosophy at Åbo Akademi on Friday, 18 September (in Auditorium Arken, Fabriksgatan  2, Åbo/Turku), at 12 noon. The opponent (external examiner) is Dr Kevin Cahill, Bergen.

Short summary:
Standing Before a Sentence
Moore’s paradox and a perspective from within language

Ludwig Wittgenstein once wrote to G.E. Moore that he had stirred up a philosophical wasps’ nest with his paradox, associated with the sentence “I believe it’s raining and it’s not raining”. The problem is that it would be odd for a speaker to assert this thought about herself, although it could be true about her, and although the sentence is well-formed and not contradictory.

Making use of the notion of a sentence having sense in a context of significant use (inspired by Ludwig Wittgenstein), the author explores the responses of some of the “wasps” who responded to the paradox, and the background of their reactions.

By using the metaphor of philosophizing from within language rather than outside of language the author explores what she calls “the user perspective” on philosophical problems. In this investigation, Moore’s paradox functions as a test case, by which the author elucidates differences in view of the role and powers of philosophical terminology.

The contribution of this work is meta-philosophical in being concerned with philosophical method. Its point of departure is in the therapeutic strand of the tradition after the later Wittgenstein.

The full text of the thesis is found here:

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