This issue of Philosophical Investigations honors the philosopher D.Z. Phillips (1934-2006). Here are two abstracts from this issue.
In the Temple of the Passions: D. Z. Phillips and the Possibility of Philosophical Contemplation
Richard Amesbury (Claremont School of Theology)
D. Z. Phillips’work in philosophy was animated by his interest in the diversity and heterogeneity of moral and religious perspectives and his antipathy towards philosophical theories that afford this variety little or no conceptual space. In contrast to what he perceived as essentialist efforts to promote certain viewpoints and to disparage others, Phillips championed a “contemplative conception” of philosophy, according to which the philosopher’s aim is neither to underwrite nor to undermine but to understand. This paper argues that philosophy, while disinterested in its aims, nevertheless derives its elucidatory force from the normative contexts within which it is practised and read.
D. Z. Phillips and Wittgenstein’s On Certainty
Guy Stock (University of Dundee)
I start from Phillips’ discussion of Rhees’s dissatisfaction with the idea of a language-game. Then, from a rereading of Moore, I go on to exemplify interconnected uses of the expressions “language-game,” “recurrent procedure,” “world-picture,” “formal procedure,” “agreement in judgment,” “genre picture” and “form of life.” The discussion is related to sense perception, our knowledge of time and space, and the picture-theory. These topics connect with Wittgenstein’s earlier treatment of the will – which changed markedly later. The subtext (in footnotes) confronts (i) the sceptical methods of Descartes and Hume with the grammatical methods of Leibniz, Kant and Wittgenstein, and (ii) the realism of Leibniz and the Tractatus with the transcendental idealism of Kant. My conclusion is that, although the method of Wittgenstein’s later work remains in a sense grammatical, (i) in its new form it can free us from the conviction that the intellect can and must resolve one way or the other the conflicts that arise in the course of the latter confrontation, and that (ii), although release from such a conviction is to be seen as the aim of philosophical discourse in general, it allows philosophy to retain its overriding significance. A positive element in that lies in the respect the method demands for that in a human life which is transcendental to the activity of scientific theorising: respect, therefore, for the unique perspective of the individual historical agent.