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Skepticism Unrefuted Strawson Stroud and Other MindsProf Stroud uses PF Strawsons Persons to refute skepticism about other minds But does the refutation succeed I doubt it Strawson is correct that in order to ascribe experiences to oneself in the way that one does one must also ascribe them or be prepared to ascribe them other others who are not oneself but his analysis of the meaning of person doesnt follow And even if it did Strawsons work is completely irrelevant to the problem of other minds for all that he does is provide a conceptual analysis of person without proving that the concept has any real-world referents other than oneself - hence skepticism remains untouched Put another way before one could know that there were other persons one would first have to know that they had minds Hence to use the concept of a person to solve the problem of other minds in Humes famous words must be evidently going in a circle and taking that for granted which is the very point in question12 Strawson on Ascription of Mental PredicatesStrawson states that if we ascribe mental predicates to ourselves we must at least be prepared to ascribe them to others It means for example that the ascribing phrases should be used in just the same sense when the subject is another as when the subject is oneself The dictionaries do not give two sets of meanings for every expression which describes a state of consciousness2 And presumably since we do in fact ascribe mental predicates to ourselves we must in fact be prepared to ascribe them to others I see no objectionStrawsons troubles begin once he tries to use this principle to establish that the concept of a person is primitive Let us first hear the argument in his own words 1 one can ascribe states of consciousness to oneself only if one can ascribe them to others 2 one can ascribe them
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