Cover: Expression and the Inner, from Harvard University PressCover: Expression and the Inner in PAPERBACK

Expression and the Inner

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$37.00 • £32.95 • €33.95

ISBN 9780674030442

Publication Date: 12/15/2008


194 pages

6-1/8 x 9-1/4 inches


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Finkelstein’s book opens up new and promising directions of thought on some old philosophical topics.—Ram Neta, Philosophical Review

What begins as a discussion of a somewhat suburban issue in the philosophy of mind—the problem of first-person authority—turns out to have surprisingly far-reaching implications. Expression and the Inner brings out the fatefulness of a host of deeply entrenched assumptions about a wide range of philosophical topics—topics such as what it takes to understand an utterance or to read a facial expression, the relation between sentience and sapience, the nature of psychoanalytic discovery, and the character of an animal’s mental life. Finkelstein shows that making sense of first-person authority requires that one give up these assumptions and that doing so transforms the entire landscape of philosophy of mind in a dramatically illuminating way. Many of the book’s central arguments draw upon Wittgenstein’s writings. It is a strange feature of contemporary philosophy of mind that Wittgenstein is usually taken to have been among the most significant philosophers of the twentieth century, and much of his writing concerns philosophy of mind, yet we have no good understanding of what the importance of his work for philosophy of mind really is. This book is a major contribution to filling that gap. In the scope of its reach, the extent of its ambition, the thoroughness of its conception, and the elegance of its presentation, it is an exemplary piece of philosophy.—James Conant, Professor of Philosophy, University of Chicago

This book is an important contribution to a group of problems which have a central place in philosophy of mind. Here I am taking ‘philosophy of mind’ in a broad sense; Finkelstein’s book and the problems he discusses have implications for philosophy of language, metaphysics, and epistemology. The book is written with intelligence and verve. Very few works in philosophy have anything describable as ‘narrative tension,’ but Finkelstein’s certainly does. He draws the reader into the problems he is attempting to solve with the skill of a writer of detective stories; he leads his readers down paths that appear inviting, only then to demonstrate why the apparent solutions on offer down those paths won’t do; and his arguments for the solution he himself offers at the end have the force, and the place in the book, of the denouement of a good thriller.—Cora Diamond, Professor of Philosophy, University of Virginia

This delightful book takes the reader on an entertaining tour of some of the key issues in the philosophy of mind and language, while offering an appealing new account of self knowledge and consciousness. I loved this book!—Martha J. Farah, Professor of Psychology and Director of the Center for Cognitive Neuroscience, University of Pennsylvania

This is an excellent product of philosophical reflection.—Jennifer Hornsby, Professor of Philosophy, University of London

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