called “Knowing and Acknowledging,” Cavell introduces his special use of and The force of acknowledgment, however, perhaps nowhere informs Cavell’s. What we’ll doFor our last meeting of the year, we’ll discuss Stanley Cavell’s essay “Knowing and Acknowledging” from Must we mean. Cavell Knowing Acknowledging Red – Download as PDF File .pdf), Text File .txt) or read online.

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Why ask these skeptical questions if they lead to this despair? Cavell shows me jnowing way to live with the fact that I cannot know beyond what can be acknowledged.

If you and I both have the same car, this generally means that there are two cars of the same design. But, like Cavell, I think anc doubt does, in fact, make sense.

Contemplation of this absence of certainty increases my feeling of isolation in the world and, as a result, creates what I call despair; the feeling I have at the moment when I realize that everything I have ever believed is uncertain including the existence of other minds.

Cynical Self-Doubt and the Grounds of Sympathy

He is, in some sense, acknowledging a relationship to the other. For me, this slippery slope which leads acknowkedging to a solipsistic position is deeply disconcerting.

He characterizes this feeling as follows: The fact that I cannot know that another person is in pain is something that ought to concern me. It does for me and it does for Cavell.

Favourite Thinkers I: Stanley Cavell

I want to be able to feel the certainty that Wittgenstein provides and at the same time be able to still ask these metaphysical questions which doubt all that we normally leave unquestioned. In fact, Russell does appear to have a relational concept of the self. Cavell is not able to completely take away the feeling of separateness. This points to the “phenomenological pang in having to say that knowing another mind is a matter of inference” Cavell According to Cavell, these questions are motivated by a sense of separateness from others.

He believes that philosophical language lacks this engagement and, as such, it is idle. How does all this relate to pain? He offers acknowledgment as a substitute for knowledge, but a substitute will not do. I also share with Russell this sense that there is a value for the human mind in asking these questions.


I have a strong sense of the magnitude of the problems these questions create. In order to have knowledge of anything, there must be things which you implicitly agree i.

He claims that this contemplation “. I am still swamped in the muddy waters of skepticism. He seeks a ground for truth.

Therefore, acknowledgment makes knowledge possible. Descartes sets out in search of a ground that can serve as a foundation for all his knowledge. His answer to the question is clearly no, and before we come to acmnowledging end of the second page he claims that “anything.

There may be an answer out there which will provide the kind of firmness that I seek. Following this, I will discuss the attempts by Cavell and Wittgenstein to resolve the problem of uncertainty and, by extension, the problem of despair.

Thus, I do not think that the ecofeminist position is an acceptable solution to the problem of why Russell does not have this sense of despair. The “phenomenological pang” is what I feel when I contemplate skeptical questions. The non-relational self is not seen as having any necessary connections to ways of knowing that are rooted in emotions.

In addition scknowledging this concept of the relational self which seems to be present in Russell, there is also evidence of a strong emotional component in his philosophical pursuit. The existence of Whitehorse is something that does not need to be explicitly articulated because we may talk about it and even plan a trip there without ever checking to knowin whether or not it exists–we just assume it exists even though it is possible to doubt it.

As Cavell says, when we take the skeptic seriously, acknowlegding knowledge. Through acknowledgment, one is able to express certain knowledge that another is in pain.

U of Vic Philosophy Student Union

These are what Russell calls sense-data. Regardless of this fact, Russell proceeds to explain which things are self-evident truths for him; i.

This dualistic perspective leads one to see the self as separate from nature. Firstly, I will clarify what I mean by despair and explicate the reason why I think philosophy brings one to this state. By consulting his own intuitions about the ordinary use of the word know, Wittgenstein is able to show us that skeptical questions remove words from their usual context to create doubt.


If we want to speak of something cafell is numerically the same, Cavell claims we can do so by using an example with colours. Although I think Cavell is in error when he suggests that the skeptic is motivated by this sense of separateness, I think that this feeling does arise out of skeptical questions. Forms of life consist of ways of acting in the world. He questions everything from the existence of the table to whether other minds exist.

He claims that the most certain kind ccavell self-evident truths are the “principles of acknnowledging Russell Taking the example of our ability to feel pain, Cavell addresses the skeptical claim that it is not possible to acknowedging that two people are actually feeling the same pain. On the contrary, he claims that these questions “increase interest in the world and show the strangeness and wonder just below the surface even in the commonest things of daily life” Russell I understand what it means to doubt the existence of the external world even though I do not act that way.

Take a headache for instance: Maybe if I go on to read more of his works I will be able to understand why it is better not to ask these questions at all; maybe his ground for certainty will be enough. He raves about the power of logic and terms it “the great liberator of the imagination, presenting innumerable alternatives which are closed to the unreflective common sense” Acknowledhing I remain in despair because I have yet to resolve them.