More than a little belatedly, I’ve ordered Mark Wilson’s Wandering Significance: An Essay on Conceptual Behavior. I may have some more to say about it in a week or so. If you haven’t already, I encourage you to get your own copy. I know enough about Mark Wilson to know that this is not your father’s or your teacher’s philosophy. To whet your appetite, read Chris Pincock of Honest Toil’s review of Wilson’s book. Here’s a sample from Pincock’s review.
Wilson presents, then, not only a new way to think about concepts but a new model for how philosophy should be done and how it should situate itself with respect to the sciences. For once we accept that all these concepts at least have the potential to hide a ramified network of patches there is no longer much point in considering a priori intuitions of correct usage or other sorts of “armchair” tools of conceptual analysis. Instead, we must go out and digest a whole host of mathematics, science, engineering and even, it seems, manufacturing techniques. It is only by being continually immersed in the particulars of the strange behavior of this or that predicate that we can hope to appreciate our best representations of the world and what they teach us about it.
Wilson often comes across as a philosopher of science, but we serve both him and ourselves much better if we read him as a metaphysician and particularly an epistemologist or, as he might prefer, a philosopher of language. The lines blur in the hands of the very best philosophers.