Words from Nowhere - Limits of Criticism

“Words from Nowhere - Limits of Criticism”
Philosophical Investigations (Vol. 31, Issue 2, Page 161-181, Apr 2008)

In the present essay, I aim to accentuate an analogy between the patterns of thought articulated by Berkeley’s Hylas and those of Nagel in his philosophy of bats and aliens. The comparison has a critical purpose, with Philonous playing a role similar to that of Wittgenstein. I argue that Nagel’s central claim comes down to statements that are marked by a peculiar form of emptiness. Towards the end, though, I will concede that this kind of Wittgensteinian criticism runs up against certain limits. The fantasies produced by Hylas or Nagel have as counterparts genuine philosophical expressions of experience, which are not vulnerable to the charges levelled at their theoretical parallels.