Wittgenstein on Dissimulation and the Constitution of the Inner

Antonio Marques


The topic of dissimulation (Verstellung, Heuchelei) occurs recurrently in
Wittgenstein's writings and plays certainly an important role in his last philosophy
of psychology. It is obviously related to the concepts of inner and outer and also
plays a relevant role to a deeper understanding of the logic of both concepts
relationship. There are very well known declarations, which seem to confirm a clear
prevalence of the outer, such as "nothing is hidden" or "An inner process requires
external criteria" (PI 435, 580). But such claims must not be interpreted as if
Wittgenstein reduces the inner to the outer or implicitly wished to mean that the
inner processes are an illusion and in all cases we must try to study psychological
concepts through verifiable external criteria. First of all it is a fact of my
relationship with others that mere external criteria don't resolve the problem of the
uncertainty related to the eventual in-authenticity of their exteriorizations
(Ă„usserungen) or behaviour. More precisely these are non-existent criteria.
Nonetheless it's true that this uncertainty exists and in a certain sense it is not
possible to overcome it. Which type is this uncertainty? "Uncertainty: whether a man
really has this feeling, or is merely putting up an appearance of it. But of course
it is also uncertain whether he is not merely putting up an appearance of pretending.
This pretence is merely rarer and does not grounds that are so easily understood"
(RPP I 137).


philosophy; 20th century philosophy; Wittgenstein Ludwig; expression; will; description; intentionality; communication; understanding

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