«What is familiar is not understood precisely because it is familiar»: a re-examination of McDowell’s quietism


The essay’s main goal is to see what connection (if any) may be drawn between McDowell’s theoretical quietism and Hegel’s idea of philosophy. McDowell’s view is explicitly rooted in Wittgenstein’s belief that «philosophy leaves everything as it is» and that its task only «consists in assembling reminders for a particular purpose», but it may be interesting to investigate whether this quietism, as he has recently reiterated, is merely «Wittgensteinian» or has a broader import.
The issue is approached «sideways on». The essay starts with a discussion of David Foster Wallace’s view that «the most obvious, ubiquitous, important realities are often the ones that are hardest to see and talk about» and it bridges the gap between Hegel and McDowell’s Wittgensteinianism by resorting to an examination of Charles Taylor’s «qualitative conception of action».