Sokuler Z.A., Kosilova E.V., Tolstov A.B. Consciousness and Understanding: Dennett, Husserl, Wittgenstein

DOI: https://doi.org/10.15688/lp.jvolsu.2023.3.10

Zinaida A. Sokuler
Doctor of Sciences (Philosophy), Professor, Department of Ontology and Theory of Knowledge, Lomonosov Moscow State University
Leninskie gory, 1, 119991 Moscow, GSP-1, Russian Federation
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https://orcid.org/0000-0002-0602-4295

Elena V. Kosilova
Doctor of Sciences (Philosophy), Associate Professor, Department of Ontology and Theory of Knowledge, Lomonosov Moscow State University
Leninskie gory, 1, 119991 Moscow, GSP-1, Russian Federation
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https://orcid.org/0000-0002-2261-7680

Alexey B. Tolstov
Candidate of Sciences (Philosophy), Associate Professor, Department of Ontology and Theory of Knowledge, Lomonosov Moscow State University
Leninskie gory, 1, 119991 Moscow, GSP-1, Russian Federation
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
https://orcid.org/0009-0006-3720-6282


Abstract. The article deals with the problem of understanding in the mentalist and naturalist traditions. For comparison, two extreme approaches are considered: Husserl and Dennett. Husserl's mentalistic philosophy interprets understanding as a special experience that can only be described from the first person's point of view. Husserl distinguishes two levels of understanding: more superficial linguistic and deeper mental ones. Dennett, as a prominent representative of naturalism, considers understanding to be the highest degree of competence, i.e., from a third person's point of view. In his evolutionist interpretation of consciousness, the appearance of understanding can be inherent in any organism or inanimate being, and human understanding differs from other stages only quantitatively. In the literature devoted to Wittgenstein, there is an opinion that his philosophy of understanding is anti-mentalist, and this is confirmed by some of his statements. However, Wittgenstein did not argue that understanding cannot be an inner experience. His indications of the criterion of understanding, which is the right action, are connected with the philosophical grammar of the word "understanding" itself. He points out that the nature of mathematical normativity, truth and falsity lies in the joint, intersubjective understanding of mathematicians, which is always mediated by language and activity. In connection with the theme of understanding, attention is drawn to Wittgenstein's concept of "seeing aspect". One can see in it something in common with Husserl's notion of the constitution of sense. To see something in an aspect (spots as an image of an object, a grimace as an expression of a certain emotion) means to place it in a certain environment, in a network of new connections. This is not only a way of seeing but also of understanding. Wittgenstein is interested in the language games associated with such experiences. These language games are not descriptions of inner experience but an integral part of it. At the same time, the philosophical grammar of such games leads us to the intersubjective and normative and forces us to comprehend consciousness from this perspective.
Key words: understanding, Husserl, Wittgenstein, Dennett, first-person perspective.

Citation. Sokuler Z.A., Kosilova E.V., Tolstov A.B. Consciousness and Understanding: Dennett, Husserl, Wittgenstein. Logos et Praxis, 2023, vol. 22, no. 3, pp. 84-96. (in Russian). DOI: https://doi.org/10.15688/lp.jvolsu.2023.3.10

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