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Private Language in Wittgenstein’s Philosophy
Pages 17 (4267 words)
In the twentieth century, Western philosophers, especially those in Great Britain and the United States, looked to the logical analysis of language as the corrective to philosophical perplexities…
Wittgenstein saw a structural similarity between language and the world, so that the structure of reality could actually be read off the structure of language. The notion of correspondence, with its attendant conception of meaning as static, was abandoned in the later philosophy.
In the Preface to his Philosophical Investigations, Wittgenstein (1953) writes, "For since beginning to occupy myself with philosophy again, sixteen years ago, I have been forced to recognize grave mistakes in what I wrote in that first book" (p.vi). What Wittgenstein came to recognize was that it is ill conceived to think that words always have fixed meanings. Rather, meaning is dynamic in the sense that it can only be determined by the interpretation that language users give it as they use it. In section 43 of Investigations, he tells us, "For a large class of cases- though not for all-in which we employ the word 'meaning' it can be defined thus: the meaning of a word is its use in the language." The idea of meaning as use is the principle idea advanced in the Investigations.
Searle (1998) points out that whereas Wittgenstein's earlier philosophy revolves around the metaphor of language as a picture, his late ...
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