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We can never fully access another person’s perspective, but to what extent do our individual private experiences matter when it comes to language and shared understanding? According to the early 20th-century Austrian-British philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein, the answer is ‘not at all’. A distilled rendering of Wittgenstein’s so-called ‘private language argument’, Wittgenstein’s Beetle in the Box Analogy explains why he believed that the meaning behind language inevitably lay in our shared understanding, and not in our private minds, because we simply can’t access each other’s experiences or sensations.
Values and beliefs
A funeral director takes in bodies that social stigma leaves unclaimed
Philosophy of religion
What Zen Buddhist riddles reveal about knowledge and the unknowable
Revisiting ‘Powers of Ten’ – what we’ve learned about the Universe since 1977
Dance and theatre
Technology, philosophy, randomness – how Merce Cunningham pushed dance to its limits
Philosophy of mind
Embodied cognition seems intuitive, but philosophy can push it to some strange places
Animals and humans
An unflinching look at a provocative public dissection of a ‘surplus’ zoo lion
Beauty and aesthetics
Not just a meme, but a masterpiece – why the Mona Lisa earns its exalted place in art
How the Hindu myth of Annapurna, goddess of food, connects sustenance with spirituality
Computing and artificial intelligence
Who, exactly, authored this AI-generated spin on Alfred Hitchcock’s Vertigo?