I am slowly working my way toward a reconsideration of concepts like ‘inner’ and ‘outer,’ ‘inward’ and ‘outward,’ ‘internal’ and ‘external.’ In most cases, I will take these to be metaphorical descriptions of certain mental activities that, because they couldn’t anyway, can’t reveal themselves to the eye. I would like, as it were, to do away with them or, more likely, to interpret them figuratively.
Today, I will bring out one of the dangers in believing that ‘the’ mind consists of private inner contents. That danger is epistemic doubt concerning the thoughts, beliefs, emotions, etc. of others, a danger that often comes to mind in the form of distrust. ‘If I do not or cannot know other people (and this includes those individuals close to me), then how can I possibly trust them?’
Recall the main thesis that I have been skeptical of. It is
5.) Because the human mind, like the human body, tends to be sickly and ill, it seeks healing or cures.
One assumption made in the argument above is that the mind resides in the head. Hence, it is assumed that the question, ‘Where is the mind?’ is a legitimate (and interesting) question to answer, and the answer is that it is mysteriously somewhere or other in the head. This question leads, in turns, to another seemingly legitimate (and also seemingly interesting) question, ‘What goes on in there anyway?’ As Gilbert Ryle would have it, these questions imply that the mind is like a private theater in which plays are staged yet no one is in attendance. The result is that the other’s mind, being invisible to the observer, becomes unavailable and unknowable.