Queen Victoria’s Dying Thoughts

Timothy William Child

Abstract



Wittgenstein suggests that we can understand ascriptions of thoughts that we have
no means of verifying: thoughts that not only are not but could not be
manifested in behaviour. For example, we can understand claims about what Queen
Victoria was thinking about as she lay dying. But how do we understand such
claims? The paper explores Wittgenstein’s answer to that question. Three
possible accounts are examined. It is argued that there are traces of each
account in Wittgenstein; that Wittgenstein himself did not clearly favour one of
these accounts over the others; but that one of these accounts is
philosophically preferable to the others.

Keywords


philosophy; 20th century philosophy; Wittgenstein Ludwig; thinking; verificationism; anti-realism; exception concept; secondary sense

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