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Politeia

Volume 1, Issue 4, Fall 2019

Franco Manni
Pages 238-260

Herbert Mac Cabe’s Philosophical Anthropology

From the ideas of Aristotle, De Saussure and Wittgenstein, philosopher Herbert McCabe elaborated an original anthropology. 'Meaning' means: the role played by a part towards the whole. Senses are bodily organs and sensations allow an animal to get fragments of the external world which become 'meaningful' for the behaviour of the whole animal Besides sensations, humans are ‘linguistic animals’ because through words they are able to 'communicate', that is, to share a peculiar kind of meanings: concepts. Whereas, sense-images are stored physically in our brain and cannot be shared, even though we can relate to sense-images by words (speech coincides with thought). However, concepts do not belong to the individual human being qua individual, but to an interpersonal entity: the language system. Therefore, on the one hand, to store images is a sense-power and an operation of the brain, whereas the brain (quite paradoxically!) is not in itself the organ of thought. On the other hand, concepts do not exist on their own.