Ludwig Wittgenstein on Language and Meaning

Topics: Philosophy of language, Linguistics, Philosophy, Logic / Pages: 15 (4995 words) / Published: Aug 8th, 2014
The role of language as a vehicle of thought makes way for human thinking to be as multifaceted and diverse as it is. This is for the reason that with language, one can describe the past or speculate about the future and so deliberate and plan in the light of one’s beliefs about how things stand. To cement this view, language enables one to imagine counterfactual objects, events, and states of affairs. In this connection, it is intimately related to intentionality, the feature of all human thoughts whereby they are essentially about, or directed toward, things outside themselves. If, as is the case, language allows one to share information and to communicate beliefs and speculations, attitudes and emotions, then, it creates the human social world, uniting people into a common history and a common life-experience. In the end, what we see is that language is an instrument of understanding and knowledge. Along these lines, the philosophical investigation of the nature of language—the relations between language, language users, and the world—and the concepts with which language is described and analyzed, both in everyday speech and in scientific linguistic studies become pertinent and absolutely imperative. On the whole, philosophy of language as an academic and philosophical discipline is distinct from linguistics. This is for the reason that its investigations are conceptual rather than empirical. But this, however, does not mean that philosophy of language will not call to mind the message in which linguistic and other related disciplines reveal. Of course, it must pay attention to the facts which linguistics and related disciplines reveal.
It is in recognition of the aforesaid that Ludwig Wittgenstein entitled his significant books on language and meaning as Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus and Philosophical Investigations. It is also the reason why he insisted on tackling the problems encountered in philosophy. Against this milieu, this essay

Bibliography: Audi, Robert. The Cambridge Dictionary of Philosophy, Second Edition. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1995. Hickey, J. Thomas. History of Twentieth Century Philosophy of Science. 1995. Munitz, Milton. Contemporary analytic Philosophy. New York: Macmillan Publishing Co., Inc., 1981. Ryle, Gilbert. The Concept of Mind. London: Hutchinson, 1949. Wittgenstein, Ludwig. Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus. London and New York: Routledge Classics, 1961. -------- Letters to Russell, Keynes and Moore, G. H. Von Wright, ed. Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1974 -------- Philosophical Investigations, G.E.M. Anscombe, trans. New York: The MacMillan Company, 1953. -------- The Blue and Brown Books 2nd ed. Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1969. -------- Philosophical Grammar, edited by Rush Rhees. Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1974. -------- On Certainty, G.E.M. Anscombe and G. H. Von Wright, eds. Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1969. (4th Dec. 2013).

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