Abstract

This paper argues that Dostoevsky's Notes from Underground makes a fundamental point that runs directly counter to the received popular image of the work; i.e. the understanding that Notes describes a consciousness reflecting on itself, hermetically sealed within its own Cartesian interior. In truth, a closer reading shows that the mind depicted therein is profoundly relational and situated in a particularized context, and that this discursive mind characterizes what Wittgenstein says about mental privacy in the context of the private language argument. The upshot is that language is not secondary, not an afterthought, and thus not posterior to pure subjectivity of the kind that many who celebrate "inferiority" take as a given human experience.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1086-329X
Print ISSN
0190-0013
Pages
pp. 379-392
Launched on MUSE
2004-11-15
Open Access
No
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