Volume 85, Issue 4, Fall 2011
The Myth of Cartesian Privacy
Wittgenstein is often thought to have undermined the view, attributed to Descartes, that the mental is in a special sense private. In fact this idea of privacy
is more plausibly attributed to the empiricists than to Descartes. Nor is Descartes’s own view one that can easily be dismissed. In particular, it can serve to correct a tendency, among Wittgenstein’s followers, to treat the mental in behavioristic terms. The point is illustrated by reference to an issue in Christian theology.