OLP readings on “the human”

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[Posted by BR]

Writing yesterday’s post about the National Humanities Center’s On The Human website got me thinking about good OLP-related readings on the concept of “the human.” As I suggested in that post (quoting Cavell to this effect), I think the project of ordinary language philosophy is fundamentally concerned with the human (with reclaiming “the human self,” as Cavell put it, from its denial and neglect in modernity), and so in a way, all OLP writings (even those not primarily focused on the concept of “the human”) should bring some light to the topic. However, there are times when what one wants or needs is a more direct conceptual engagement with (or exploration of) what it means to be a human being, and I wanted to recommend five such explorations that I have found especially illuminating (not to mention heartening) in the past. I would love to hear recommendations of others: please leave your own suggestions in a comment to this post.

1. John Cook, “Human Beings,” in Studies in the Philosophy of Wittgenstein, ed. Peter Winch (Taylor and Francis, 1969, reprinted 2005): 117-151.

2. Cora Diamond, “Eating Meat and Eating People,” in The Realistic Spirit: Wittgenstein, Philosophy, and the Mind (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 1995): 319-334.

3. Cora Diamond, “The Importance of Being Human,” in Human Beings, ed. David Cockburn (Cambridge, Cambridge Univ. Press, 1991): 35-62.

4. Stanley Cavell, Part IV of The Claim of Reason: Wittgenstein, Skepticism, Morality, and Tragedy (Oxford: Oxford Univ. Press, 1979): 329-496.

5. Stephen Mulhall, On Film, 2nd ed. (Routledge, 2008)

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