G. E. M. Anscombe

G. E. M. Anscombe

Overview
Gertrude Elizabeth Margaret Anscombe (18 March 1919 – 5 January 2001), better known as Elizabeth Anscombe, was a British
British people
The British are citizens of the United Kingdom, of the Isle of Man, any of the Channel Islands, or of any of the British overseas territories, and their descendants...

 analytic philosopher
Analytic philosophy
Analytic philosophy is a generic term for a style of philosophy that came to dominate English-speaking countries in the 20th century...

 from Ireland
Ireland
Ireland is an island to the northwest of continental Europe. It is the third-largest island in Europe and the twentieth-largest island on Earth...

. A student of Ludwig Wittgenstein
Ludwig Wittgenstein
Ludwig Josef Johann Wittgenstein was an Austrian philosopher who worked primarily in logic, the philosophy of mathematics, the philosophy of mind, and the philosophy of language. He was professor in philosophy at the University of Cambridge from 1939 until 1947...

, she became an authority on his work and edited and translated many books drawn from his writings, above all his Philosophical Investigations
Philosophical Investigations
Philosophical Investigations is, along with the Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus, one of the most influential works by the 20th-century philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein...

. She wrote on the philosophy of mind
Philosophy of mind
Philosophy of mind is a branch of philosophy that studies the nature of the mind, mental events, mental functions, mental properties, consciousness and their relationship to the physical body, particularly the brain. The mind-body problem, i.e...

, philosophy of action, philosophical logic
Philosophical logic
Philosophical logic is a term introduced by Bertrand Russell to represent his idea that the workings of natural language and thought can only be adequately represented by an artificial language; essentially it was his formalization program for the natural language...

, philosophy of language
Philosophy of language
Philosophy of language is the reasoned inquiry into the nature, origins, and usage of language. As a topic, the philosophy of language for analytic philosophers is concerned with four central problems: the nature of meaning, language use, language cognition, and the relationship between language...

, and ethics
Ethics
Ethics, also known as moral philosophy, is a branch of philosophy that addresses questions about morality—that is, concepts such as good and evil, right and wrong, virtue and vice, justice and crime, etc.Major branches of ethics include:...

. Anscombe's 1958 article "Modern Moral Philosophy
Modern Moral Philosophy
Modern Moral Philosophy was an influential article on moral philosophy by G. E. M. Anscombe, originally published in the journal Philosophy, vol. 33, no. 124 ....

" introduced the term "consequentialism
Consequentialism
Consequentialism is the class of normative ethical theories holding that the consequences of one's conduct are the ultimate basis for any judgment about the rightness of that conduct...

" into the language of analytic philosophy; it had a seminal influence on contemporary virtue ethics
Virtue ethics
Virtue ethics describes the character of a moral agent as a driving force for ethical behavior, rather than rules , consequentialism , or social context .The difference between these four approaches to morality tends to lie more in the way moral dilemmas are...

, as did some of her subsequent articles.
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Quotations

Those who try to make room for sex as mere casual enjoyment pay the penalty: they become shallow. At any rate the talk that reflects and commends this attitude is always shallow. They dishonour their own bodies; holding cheap what is naturally connected with the origination of human life.

Contraception and Chastity (1975)
Encyclopedia
Gertrude Elizabeth Margaret Anscombe (18 March 1919 – 5 January 2001), better known as Elizabeth Anscombe, was a British
British people
The British are citizens of the United Kingdom, of the Isle of Man, any of the Channel Islands, or of any of the British overseas territories, and their descendants...

 analytic philosopher
Analytic philosophy
Analytic philosophy is a generic term for a style of philosophy that came to dominate English-speaking countries in the 20th century...

 from Ireland
Ireland
Ireland is an island to the northwest of continental Europe. It is the third-largest island in Europe and the twentieth-largest island on Earth...

. A student of Ludwig Wittgenstein
Ludwig Wittgenstein
Ludwig Josef Johann Wittgenstein was an Austrian philosopher who worked primarily in logic, the philosophy of mathematics, the philosophy of mind, and the philosophy of language. He was professor in philosophy at the University of Cambridge from 1939 until 1947...

, she became an authority on his work and edited and translated many books drawn from his writings, above all his Philosophical Investigations
Philosophical Investigations
Philosophical Investigations is, along with the Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus, one of the most influential works by the 20th-century philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein...

. She wrote on the philosophy of mind
Philosophy of mind
Philosophy of mind is a branch of philosophy that studies the nature of the mind, mental events, mental functions, mental properties, consciousness and their relationship to the physical body, particularly the brain. The mind-body problem, i.e...

, philosophy of action, philosophical logic
Philosophical logic
Philosophical logic is a term introduced by Bertrand Russell to represent his idea that the workings of natural language and thought can only be adequately represented by an artificial language; essentially it was his formalization program for the natural language...

, philosophy of language
Philosophy of language
Philosophy of language is the reasoned inquiry into the nature, origins, and usage of language. As a topic, the philosophy of language for analytic philosophers is concerned with four central problems: the nature of meaning, language use, language cognition, and the relationship between language...

, and ethics
Ethics
Ethics, also known as moral philosophy, is a branch of philosophy that addresses questions about morality—that is, concepts such as good and evil, right and wrong, virtue and vice, justice and crime, etc.Major branches of ethics include:...

. Anscombe's 1958 article "Modern Moral Philosophy
Modern Moral Philosophy
Modern Moral Philosophy was an influential article on moral philosophy by G. E. M. Anscombe, originally published in the journal Philosophy, vol. 33, no. 124 ....

" introduced the term "consequentialism
Consequentialism
Consequentialism is the class of normative ethical theories holding that the consequences of one's conduct are the ultimate basis for any judgment about the rightness of that conduct...

" into the language of analytic philosophy; it had a seminal influence on contemporary virtue ethics
Virtue ethics
Virtue ethics describes the character of a moral agent as a driving force for ethical behavior, rather than rules , consequentialism , or social context .The difference between these four approaches to morality tends to lie more in the way moral dilemmas are...

, as did some of her subsequent articles. Her monograph Intention is generally recognised as her greatest and most influential work, and the continuing philosophical interest in the concepts of intention, action and practical reasoning can be said to have taken its main impetus from this work.

Life


G. E. M. Anscombe was born to Gertrude Elizabeth Anscombe and Alan Wells Anscombe, on 18 March 1919, in Limerick
Limerick
Limerick is the third largest city in the Republic of Ireland, and the principal city of County Limerick and Ireland's Mid-West Region. It is the fifth most populous city in all of Ireland. When taking the extra-municipal suburbs into account, Limerick is the third largest conurbation in the...

, Ireland, where her father had been posted as an officer in the British army during the Irish War of Independence
Irish War of Independence
The Irish War of Independence , Anglo-Irish War, Black and Tan War, or Tan War was a guerrilla war mounted by the Irish Republican Army against the British government and its forces in Ireland. It began in January 1919, following the Irish Republic's declaration of independence. Both sides agreed...

.

She graduated from Sydenham High School in 1937, and went on to read "Mods & Greats" (classics
Classics
Classics is the branch of the Humanities comprising the languages, literature, philosophy, history, art, archaeology and other culture of the ancient Mediterranean world ; especially Ancient Greece and Ancient Rome during Classical Antiquity Classics (sometimes encompassing Classical Studies or...

, ancient history
Ancient history
Ancient history is the study of the written past from the beginning of recorded human history to the Early Middle Ages. The span of recorded history is roughly 5,000 years, with Cuneiform script, the oldest discovered form of coherent writing, from the protoliterate period around the 30th century BC...

, and philosophy
Philosophy
Philosophy is the study of general and fundamental problems, such as those connected with existence, knowledge, values, reason, mind, and language. Philosophy is distinguished from other ways of addressing such problems by its critical, generally systematic approach and its reliance on rational...

) at St Hugh's College, Oxford
St Hugh's College, Oxford
St Hugh's College is one of the constituent colleges of the University of Oxford. It is located on a fourteen and a half acre site on St Margaret's Road, to the North of the city centre. It was founded in 1886 as a women's college, and accepted its first male students in its centenary year in 1986...

, graduating with a First in 1941. During her first undergraduate year she converted to Roman Catholicism
Catholic
The word catholic comes from the Greek phrase , meaning "on the whole," "according to the whole" or "in general", and is a combination of the Greek words meaning "about" and meaning "whole"...

, and remained a lifelong devout catholic. She garnered controversy when she publicly opposed Britain's entry into World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

, although her father had been a soldier, and her brother was to serve during the war.
She married Peter Geach
Peter Geach
Peter Thomas Geach is a British philosopher. His areas of interest are the history of philosophy, philosophical logic, and the theory of identity.He was educated at Balliol College, Oxford...

, like her a Roman Catholic convert, a student of Wittgenstein, and a distinguished British academic philosopher. Together they had three sons and four daughters.

After graduating from Oxford, Anscombe was awarded a research fellowship for postgraduate study at Newnham College, Cambridge
Newnham College, Cambridge
Newnham College is a women-only constituent college of the University of Cambridge, England.The college was founded in 1871 by Henry Sidgwick, and was the second Cambridge college to admit women after Girton College...

 from 1942 to 1945. Her purpose was to attend Ludwig Wittgenstein
Ludwig Wittgenstein
Ludwig Josef Johann Wittgenstein was an Austrian philosopher who worked primarily in logic, the philosophy of mathematics, the philosophy of mind, and the philosophy of language. He was professor in philosophy at the University of Cambridge from 1939 until 1947...

's lectures. Her interest in Wittgenstein's philosophy arose from reading the Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus as an undergraduate: she claimed to have conceived the idea of studying with Wittgenstein as soon as she opened the book in Blackwell's
Blackwell's
Blackwell UK Ltd is a national chain of bookshops, online retail, mail order and library supply services in the United Kingdom, which has an annual turnover of £74 million...

 and read section 5.53, "Identity of object I express by identity of sign, and not by using a sign for identity. Difference of objects I express by difference of signs." She became an enthusiastic student, feeling that Wittgenstein's therapeutic method helped to free her from philosophical difficulties in ways that her training in traditional systematic philosophy could not. As she wrote (in Metaphysics and the Philosophy of Mind, pp. vii-ix, quoted in Monk, 1990, p. 497):
After her fellowship at Cambridge ended, she was awarded a research fellowship at Somerville College, Oxford
Somerville College, Oxford
Somerville College is one of the constituent colleges of the University of Oxford in England, and was one of the first women's colleges to be founded there...

, but during the academic year of 1946 - 1947, she continued to travel to Cambridge once a week, together with her fellow student W. A. Hijab, to attend tutorials with Wittgenstein on the philosophy of religion
Philosophy of religion
Philosophy of religion is a branch of philosophy concerned with questions regarding religion, including the nature and existence of God, the examination of religious experience, analysis of religious language and texts, and the relationship of religion and science...

. She became one of Wittgenstein's favourite students and one of his closest friends (Monk [1990] 497-498). An exception to his general dislike of academic women, Wittgenstein affectionately referred to her by the pet name "old man". His confidence in Anscombe's understanding of his perspective is shown by his choice of her as translator of his Philosophical Investigations before she had learned German, for which purpose he arranged a stay in Vienna.

Anscombe visited Wittgenstein many times after he left Cambridge in 1947, and travelled to Cambridge in April 1951 to visit him on his death bed. Wittgenstein named her, along with Rush Rhees
Rush Rhees
Rush Rhees was a philosopher at Swansea University from 1940 to 1966Rhees is principally known as a student, friend, and literary executor of the philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein. With G. E. M. Anscombe, he edited Wittgenstein's posthumous Philosophical Investigations , a highly influential work...

 and Georg Henrik von Wright
Georg Henrik von Wright
Georg Henrik von Wright was a Finnish philosopher, who succeeded Ludwig Wittgenstein as professor at the University of Cambridge. He published in English, Finnish, German, and in Swedish. Belonging to the Swedish-speaking minority of Finland, von Wright also had Finnish and 17th-century Scottish...

, as his literary executor
Literary executor
A literary executor is a person with decision-making power in respect of a literary estate. According to Wills, Administration and Taxation: a practical guide "A will may appoint different executors to deal with different parts of the estate...

, and after his death in 1951, she was responsible for editing, translating, and publishing many of Wittgenstein's manuscripts and notebooks.

She scandalised liberal colleagues with articles defending the Roman Catholic Church's opposition to contraception
Contraception
Contraception is the prevention of the fusion of gametes during or after sexual activity. The term contraception is a contraction of contra, which means against, and the word conception, meaning fertilization...

 in the 1960s and early 1970s. Later in life, she was arrested twice while protesting outside an abortion clinic in Britain, after abortion had been legalised (albeit with restrictions).

Anscombe remained at Somerville College from 1946 to 1970. She was also known for her willingness to face fierce public controversy in the name of her Catholic faith. In 1956, while a research fellow at Oxford University, she protested against Oxford's decision to grant an honorary degree to Harry S. Truman
Harry S. Truman
Harry S. Truman was the 33rd President of the United States . As President Franklin D. Roosevelt's third vice president and the 34th Vice President of the United States , he succeeded to the presidency on April 12, 1945, when President Roosevelt died less than three months after beginning his...

, whom she denounced as a mass murderer for his use of atomic bombs at Hiroshima
Hiroshima
is the capital of Hiroshima Prefecture, and the largest city in the Chūgoku region of western Honshu, the largest island of Japan. It became best known as the first city in history to be destroyed by a nuclear weapon when the United States Army Air Forces dropped an atomic bomb on it at 8:15 A.M...

 and Nagasaki.

Anscombe was elected Professor
Professor
A professor is a scholarly teacher; the precise meaning of the term varies by country. Literally, professor derives from Latin as a "person who professes" being usually an expert in arts or sciences; a teacher of high rank...

 of Philosophy
Philosophy
Philosophy is the study of general and fundamental problems, such as those connected with existence, knowledge, values, reason, mind, and language. Philosophy is distinguished from other ways of addressing such problems by its critical, generally systematic approach and its reliance on rational...

 at Cambridge University
Faculty of philosophy cambridge
The University of Cambridge was the birthplace of the 'analytical' school of philosophy in the early 20th century.Today it is still a centre for philosophy. The most recent Research Assessment Exercise gave Cambridge the highest possible score...

 in 1970, where she served until her retirement in 1986. She was elected a Foreign Honorary Member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences
American Academy of Arts and Sciences
The American Academy of Arts and Sciences is an independent policy research center that conducts multidisciplinary studies of complex and emerging problems. The Academy’s elected members are leaders in the academic disciplines, the arts, business, and public affairs.James Bowdoin, John Adams, and...

 in 1979.

In her later years, Anscombe suffered from heart disease, and was nearly killed by an automobile accident in 1996. She spent her last years in the care of her family in Cambridge
Cambridge
The city of Cambridge is a university town and the administrative centre of the county of Cambridgeshire, England. It lies in East Anglia about north of London. Cambridge is at the heart of the high-technology centre known as Silicon Fen – a play on Silicon Valley and the fens surrounding the...

. She died, aged 81, with her husband and four of their seven children at her bedside, on 5 January 2001.

She had not said where she was to be buried, and the family chose what is now Ascension Parish
Ascension Parish Burial Ground, Cambridge
The Ascension Parish Burial Ground, formerly St Giles and St Peter's Parish, is a cemetery just off Huntingdon Road near the junction with Storey's Way in the northwest of Cambridge, England. It includes the graves of many Cambridge academics and non-conformists of the 19th and early 20th century...

 burial ground, as it was the nearest one to home. There was some difficulty in getting a full-size plot, where she could be buried without being cremated first. This was not possible in the new part of the cemetery, so the site finally obtained, after negotiation with Ely diocesan authorities, was that of an old grave, corner-to-corner with the plot where Wittgenstein had been buried half a century before.

Debate with C. S. Lewis


As a young philosophy don, Anscombe acquired a reputation as a formidable debater. In 1948, she presented a paper at a meeting of Oxford's Socratic Club
Socratic Club
The Oxford Socratic Club was formed in December 1941, at Oxford University, by Stella Aldwinckle of the Oxford Pastorate and a group of undergraduate students, in order to provide "an open forum for the discussion of the intellectual difficulties connected with religion and with Christianity in...

 in which she disputed C. S. Lewis's
C. S. Lewis
Clive Staples Lewis , commonly referred to as C. S. Lewis and known to his friends and family as "Jack", was a novelist, academic, medievalist, literary critic, essayist, lay theologian and Christian apologist from Belfast, Ireland...

 argument that naturalism was self-refuting (found in the third chapter of the original publication of his book Miracles
Miracles (book)
Miracles is a book written by C. S. Lewis, originally published in 1947 and revised in 1960. Lewis argues that before one can learn from the study of history whether or not any miracles have ever occurred, one must first settle the philosophical question of whether it is logically possible that...

). Some associates of Lewis, primarily George Sayer
George Sayer
George Sydney Benedict Sayer born at Bradfield, Berkshire, England, was a teacher in a famous English school and is probably best known for his biography of the author C. S. Lewis.-Career:...

 and Derek Brewer
Derek Brewer
Derek Stanley Brewer was a medieval scholar, author and publisher.-Life:Born in Cardiff, Wales, the son of a clerk with General Electric, Brewer read English at Magdalen College, Oxford, where he was taught, among others, by C.S. Lewis...

, have remarked that Lewis lost the subsequent debate of her paper and that this loss was so humiliating that he abandoned theological argument and turned entirely to devotional writing and children's literature
Children's literature
Children's literature is for readers and listeners up to about age twelve; it is often defined in four different ways: books written by children, books written for children, books chosen by children, or books chosen for children. It is often illustrated. The term is used in senses which sometimes...

. Anscombe's impression of the effect upon Lewis is somewhat different:

As a result of the contest, Lewis substantially rewrote chapter 3 of Miracles for the 1960 paperback edition.

On Wittgenstein


Some of Anscombe's most frequently cited works are translations, editions and expositions of the work of her teacher Ludwig Wittgenstein. She wrote an introduction (1959) to Wittgenstein's 1921 book, the Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus
Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus
The Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus is the only book-length philosophical work published by the Austrian philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein in his lifetime. It was an ambitious project: to identify the relationship between language and reality and to define the limits of science...

, which brought to the fore the importance of Gottlob Frege
Gottlob Frege
Friedrich Ludwig Gottlob Frege was a German mathematician, logician and philosopher. He is considered to be one of the founders of modern logic, and made major contributions to the foundations of mathematics. He is generally considered to be the father of analytic philosophy, for his writings on...

 for Wittgenstein's thought and, partly on that basis, attacked "positivist"
Logical positivism
Logical positivism is a philosophy that combines empiricism—the idea that observational evidence is indispensable for knowledge—with a version of rationalism incorporating mathematical and logico-linguistic constructs and deductions of epistemology.It may be considered as a type of analytic...

 interpretations of the work. She co-edited his posthumous second book, Philosophische Untersuchungen/Philosophical Investigations
Philosophical Investigations
Philosophical Investigations is, along with the Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus, one of the most influential works by the 20th-century philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein...

(1953) with Rush Rhees
Rush Rhees
Rush Rhees was a philosopher at Swansea University from 1940 to 1966Rhees is principally known as a student, friend, and literary executor of the philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein. With G. E. M. Anscombe, he edited Wittgenstein's posthumous Philosophical Investigations , a highly influential work...

. Her English translation of the book appeared simultaneously and remains standard. She also edited or co-edited several volumes of selections from his notebooks, translating some of them, for example the Remarks on the Foundations of Mathematics (1956).

Intention


Her most important work is indisputably the monograph Intention (1957). Three volumes of collected papers were published in 1981: From Parmenides to Wittgenstein; Metaphysics and the Philosophy of Mind; and Ethics, Religion and Politics. Another collection, "Human Life, Action and Ethics" appeared posthumously in 2005.

The aim of Intention (1957) was to make plain the character of human action and will. Anscombe approaches the matter through the concept of intention
Intention
Intention is an agent's specific purpose in performing an action or series of actions, the end or goal that is aimed at. Outcomes that are unanticipated or unforeseen are known as unintended consequences....

, which, as she notes, has three modes of appearance in our language:
She is X'ing intentionally intentional action
She is X'ing with the intention of doing Y
or ... She is X'ing in order to Y
intention with which
or further intention in acting
She intends to Y
or... She has expressed the intention to do Y
expression of intention for the future;
(what Davidson
Donald Davidson (philosopher)
Donald Herbert Davidson was an American philosopher born in Springfield, Massachusetts, who served as Slusser Professor of Philosophy at the University of California, Berkeley from 1981 to 2003 after having also held teaching appointments at Stanford University, Rockefeller University, Princeton...

 later called a pure intending)


She suggests that a true account must somehow connect these three uses of the concept, though later students of intention have sometimes denied this, and disputed some of the things she presupposes under the first and third headings. It is clear though that it is the second that is crucial to her main purpose, which is to comprehend the way in which human thought and understanding and conceptualization relate to the "events in a man's history", or the goings on of which he is subject.

Rather than attempt to define intentions in abstraction from actions, thus taking the third heading first, Anscombe begins with the concept of an intentional action. This soon connected with the second heading. She says that what is up with a human being is an intentional action if the question 'Why,' taken in a certain sense (and evidently conceived as addressed to him), has application (Intention, par. 5-8). An agent can answer the 'why' question by giving a reason or purpose for her action. "To do Y" or "because I want to do Y" would be typical answers to this sort of "why?"; though they are not the only ones, they are crucial to the constitution of the phenomenon as a typical phenomenon of human life (sections 18-21). The agent's answer helps supply the description
Description
Description is one of four rhetorical modes , along with exposition, argumentation, and narration. Each of the rhetorical modes is present in a variety of forms and each has its own purpose and conventions....

s under which the action is intentional. Anscombe was the first to clearly spell out that actions are intentional under some descriptions and not others. In her famous example, a man's action (which we might observe as consisting in moving an arm up and down while holding a handle) may be intentional under the description 'pumping water' but not under other descriptions such as 'contracting these muscles', 'tapping out this rhythm', and so on. This approach to action influenced Donald Davidson's theory, despite the fact that Davidson went on to argue for a causal theory of action that Anscombe never accepted (see Anscombe (1981) as well as Anscombe (1957)).

Intention (1957) is also the classic source for the idea that there is a difference in 'direction of fit
Direction of fit
The technical term direction-of-fit is used to describe the distinctions that are offered by two related sets of opposing terms:* The more general set of mind-to-world vs. world-to-mind used by philosophers of mind, and* The narrower, more specific set, word-to-world The technical term...

' between cognitive states like belief
Belief
Belief is the psychological state in which an individual holds a proposition or premise to be true.-Belief, knowledge and epistemology:The terms belief and knowledge are used differently in philosophy....

s and conative states like desire
Desire (philosophy)
In philosophy, desire has been identified as a philosophical problem since Antiquity. In Plato's The Republic, Socrates argues that individual desires must be postponed in the name of the higher ideal....

. (This theme is later taken up and discussed by Searle in Intentionality (1983)). Cognitive states describe the world and are causally derived from the facts or objects they depict. Conative states do not describe the world, but aim to bring something about in the world. Anscombe used the example of a shopping list to illustrate the difference (see Intention (1957), par.32). The list can be a straightforward observational report of what is actually bought (thereby acting like a cognitive state), or it can function as a conative state such as a command or desire, dictating what the agent should buy. If the agent fails to buy what is listed, we do not say that the list is untrue or incorrect; we say that the mistake is in the action, not the belief. According to Anscombe, this difference in direction of fit is a major difference between speculative knowledge (theoretical, empirical knowledge) and practical knowledge (knowledge of actions and morals). Whereas 'speculative knowledge' is 'derived from the objects known', practical knowledge is--in a phrase Anscombe lifts from Aquinas--'the cause of what it understands' (see Intention (1957), par.48, p.87).

Ethics


Anscombe made great contributions to ethics as well as metaphysics. She is credited with having coined the term "consequentialism
Consequentialism
Consequentialism is the class of normative ethical theories holding that the consequences of one's conduct are the ultimate basis for any judgment about the rightness of that conduct...

". In her 1958 essay "Modern Moral Philosophy
Modern Moral Philosophy
Modern Moral Philosophy was an influential article on moral philosophy by G. E. M. Anscombe, originally published in the journal Philosophy, vol. 33, no. 124 ....

", Anscombe wrote:

Brute and institutional facts


Anscombe also coined the term "brute fact
Brute fact
Brute facts are facts which are facts in and of themselves, while institutional facts are considered conventional. Institutional facts require the support of an institution. The term was coined by G. E. M...

s", as opposed to facts constituted by them in the presence of appropriate institutions, later called "institutional facts". According to her, no brute facts xyz can generally be said to entail institutional fact A, except with the proviso "under normal circumstances", for "one cannot mention all the things that were not the case, which would have made a difference lf they had been" ("On Brute Facts", Analysis, vol. 18/3, 1958, 69-72). The term had a major role to play in John Searle
John Searle
John Rogers Searle is an American philosopher and currently the Slusser Professor of Philosophy at the University of California, Berkeley.-Biography:...

's philosophy of speech act
Speech act
Speech Act is a technical term in linguistics and the philosophy of language. The contemporary use of the term goes back to John L. Austin's doctrine of locutionary, illocutionary, and perlocutionary acts...

s and institutional reality
Institution
An institution is any structure or mechanism of social order and cooperation governing the behavior of a set of individuals within a given human community...

.

First person


Her paper "The First Person" follows up remarks by Wittgenstein, coming to the now-notorious conclusion that the first-person pronoun, "I", does not refer to anything (not, e.g., to the speaker). Few people accept the conclusion - though the position was later adopted in a more radical form by David Lewis
David Kellogg Lewis
David Kellogg Lewis was an American philosopher. Lewis taught briefly at UCLA and then at Princeton from 1970 until his death. He is also closely associated with Australia, whose philosophical community he visited almost annually for more than thirty years...

 - but the paper was an important contribution to work on indexicals and self-consciousness that has been carried on by philosophers as varied as John Perry
John Perry (philosopher)
John R. Perry is Henry Waldgrave Stuart Professor of Philosophy at Stanford University. He has made significant contributions to areas of philosophy, including logic, philosophy of language, metaphysics, and philosophy of mind...

, Peter Strawson, David Kaplan
David Kaplan
David Kaplan is the name of:* David Kaplan , American film director* Dave Kaplan, American Mixed Martial Artist* David Kaplan , American philosopher* David Kaplan...

, Gareth Evans
Gareth Evans (philosopher)
Gareth Evans was a British philosopher.-Life:Gareth Evans studied Philosophy, Politics and Economics at University College, Oxford . His philosophy tutor was Peter Strawson...

, John McDowell
John McDowell
John Henry McDowell is a South African philosopher, formerly a fellow of University College, Oxford and now University Professor at the University of Pittsburgh. Although he has written extensively on metaphysics, epistemology, ancient philosophy, and meta-ethics, McDowell's most influential work...

, and Sebastian Rödl.

Selected bibliography

  • Intention (1957), ISBN 978-0674003996
  • An Introduction to Wittgenstein's Tractatus (1959), ISBN 978-1890318543
  • Three Philosophers (1961), with P. T. Geach
    Peter Geach
    Peter Thomas Geach is a British philosopher. His areas of interest are the history of philosophy, philosophical logic, and the theory of identity.He was educated at Balliol College, Oxford...

    , on Aristotle
    Aristotle
    Aristotle was a Greek philosopher and polymath, a student of Plato and teacher of Alexander the Great. His writings cover many subjects, including physics, metaphysics, poetry, theater, music, logic, rhetoric, linguistics, politics, government, ethics, biology, and zoology...

    , Aquinas
    Thomas Aquinas
    Thomas Aquinas, O.P. , also Thomas of Aquin or Aquino, was an Italian Dominican priest of the Catholic Church, and an immensely influential philosopher and theologian in the tradition of scholasticism, known as Doctor Angelicus, Doctor Communis, or Doctor Universalis...

     and Frege
    Gottlob Frege
    Friedrich Ludwig Gottlob Frege was a German mathematician, logician and philosopher. He is considered to be one of the founders of modern logic, and made major contributions to the foundations of mathematics. He is generally considered to be the father of analytic philosophy, for his writings on...

  • Causality and Determination (1971), ISBN 0-521-08304-4
  • Times, Beginnings and Causes (1975), ISBN 0-19-725712-7
  • The Collected Philosophical Papers of G. E. M. Anscombe (3 vols., 1981):
    1. From Parmenides to Wittgenstein, ISBN 0-631-12922-7
    2. Metaphysics and the Philosophy of Mind, ISBN 0-631-12932-4
    3. Ethics, Religion and Politics, ISBN 0-631-12942-1
  • Human Life, Action and Ethics: Essays (2005), ISBN 1-84540-013-5
  • La filosofia analitica y la espiritualidad del hombre (2005), ISBN 84-313-2245-4 [Includes some papers not yet published in English]
  • Faith in a Hard Ground. Essays on Religion, Philosophy and Ethics (2008) ISBN 978-1845401214

Further reading


External links