Wittgenstein and Skepticism About Expression

Stina Bäckström


I argue that a neglected aspect of the later Wittgenstein’s interest in the notion of
expression is that it can help us see what is wrong with a pervasive conception of
the epistemology of other minds. On the inferential model of our access to other
minds, outer signs afford an inferential basis for attributing attitudes and feelings
to others. By extending a discussion from Philosophical Investigations, I propose
that conceiving of our knowledge of other minds as being—even its most paradigmatic
form—based on inference fails to recognize the distinctive way in which expression
affords knowledge. In a sense I will explain, the inferential model thereby qualifies
as a form of skepticism about expression.


philosophy; 20th century philosophy; Wittgenstein Ludwig; expression; other minds; inferential model

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