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his project as a prolegomenon to Hegel’s Phenomenology of Spirit.42  But it is crucial to see that this form of idealism is perfectly compatible with realism; a pair of muddy boots does not become ethereal or insubstantial by appearing as a constitutive part of the judgeable content that there’s a pair of muddy boots on the porch.43

Mises writes:

Following in the wake of Kant’s analyses, philosophers raised the question: How can the human mind, by aprioristic thinking, deal with the reality of the external world? As far as praxeology is concerned, the answer is obvious. Both, a priori thinking and reasoning on the one hand and human action on the other, are manifestations of the human mind. The logical structure of the human mind creates the reality of action. Reason and action are congeneric and homogeneous, two aspects of the same phenomenon.44

The fact that reason and action are “congeneric and homogeneous” explains why reason can deal with action; but it leaves unexplained why reason can deal with other aspects of the external world.  What McDowell shows us is that reason and fact are congeneric and homogeneous as well.

42 McDowell, op. cit., p. ix.

43 Incidentally, it is interesting to note that Mises in his final years became interested in Christian Science, describing it as the “truly scientific religion I have been searching for all my life.”  (As reported by Mises’ widow, Margit von Mises, to his student Peggy Crump; I owe this information to Frank P. Biggs, professor of economics at Principia College, and to subsequent conversation with Crump.)  The possible significance of this for present purposes is that Christian Science espouses a form of metaphysical idealism, but one that seems closer to the Hegelian than to the subjective variety; the Christian Science version of the doctrine that all is Mind or in Mind seems to take “Mind” in something like the sense Frege intended in referring to logic as the study of the mind, not of minds.

44 Ludwig von Mises, The Ultimate Foundation of Economic Science (Foundation for Economic Education, 2002), p.43

R. T. Long – Wittgenstein, Praxeology, and Frege’s Three Realms – p. 30

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