New Publications, The Concept of Mind and the Concept of Soul

Two new publications from Centre researchers came out this past month!

Lesley Jamieson's "Paradox and discovery: Iris Murdoch, John Wisdom, and the practice of linguistic philosophy" appeared in the European Journal of Philosophy.

  • Abstract: This article argues that Iris Murdoch, who was supervised by John Wisdom during her 1947–48 fellowship at Newnham College Cambridge, went on to practice philosophy in a recognizably Wisdomian manner in her earliest paper, “Thinking and Language” (1951). To do so, I first describe how Wisdom understood philosophical perplexity and paradox. One task that linguistic philosophers should take up is to investigate the concrete cases that give paradoxical philosophical statements their sense and to sift the truth they contain from the distortion. I then show how this vision informed his critical reception of Gilbert Ryle's The Concept of Mind as well as his own investigation of the Hidden Stream Paradox. Finally, I trace a similar approach to Murdoch's discussions of a paradox I call the Coarse Net Paradox. Recognizing Murdoch's intellectual inheritance from Wisdom enables us to see a thus-far overlooked connection between Murdoch and the tradition of linguistic philosophy.

Ondřej Beran's "Ailments of the Soul" appeared in Blackfriars.

  • Abstract: The paper aims to trace the distinctive character of the talk of the soul and to disentangle it from the talk of the mind. The key context will be the way in which we talk about souls that are ailing. As a point of departure, I use the later Wittgenstein's notion of the soul as anti-dualist and anti-substantive, which brings it close to Dennett's or Davidson's philosophy of mind, but which Wittgensteinian ethicists have elaborated upon as concerned with matters of good and evil, and beauty. In relation to these concerns, the sense of the ailing soul is different from issues relating to mental health. I then discuss cases of ailments of the soul that would be misleading to analyse as matters of mental health (issues): addiction, racism, and environmental grief. I conclude with a plea for maintaining the talk of the soul as helpful for making sense of existential or beauty- or morality-related ailments, yet as something that does not necessarily subscribe to any doctrine of the soul as a substance. In support, I also use arguments from the spheres of eco-theology and public theology.