Wittgensteinian 'Therapy', Experimental Philosophy, and Metaphilosophical Naturalism

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review


An important strand of current experimental philosophy promotes a new kind of methodological naturalism. This chapter argues that this new ‘metaphilosophical naturalism’ is fundamentally consistent with key tenets of Wittgenstein’s metaphilosophy, and can provide empirical foundations for therapeutic conceptions of philosophy. Metaphilosophical naturalism invites us to contribute to the resolution of philosophical problems about X by turning to scientific findings about the way we think about X – in general or when doing philosophy. This new naturalism encourages us to use resources from psychology that can empirically vindicate precisely some of the most controversial aspects of Wittgenstein’s conception of philosophy: They can establish the need, and provide key tools, for something worth calling ‘therapy’, in philosophy. As ‘pudding proof’ this chapter shows how methods and findings from psycholinguistics motivate and facilitate a therapeutic approach to a characteristically philosophical problem: ‘the problem of perception’.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationWittgenstein and Naturalism
EditorsKevin Cahill, Thomas Raleigh
Place of PublicationNew York and Abingdon
Number of pages27
ISBN (Electronic)9781315301594
ISBN (Print)9781138236868
Publication statusPublished - 15 Dec 2017


  • Wittgenstein
  • experimental philosophy
  • naturalism
  • philosophy of philosophy
  • therapeutic philosophy
  • Philosophical therapy

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