Philosophy and Language Learning

In this paper, I explore different ways of picturing language learning in philosophy, all of them inspired by Wittgenstein and all of them concerned about scepticism of meaning. I start by outlining the two pictures of children and language learning that emerge from Kripke's famous reading of Wittgenstein. Next, I explore how social-pragmatic readings, represented by Meredith Williams, attempt to answer the sceptical anxieties. Finally, drawing somewhat on Stanley Cavell, I try to resolve these issues by investigating what characteristically happens to our view of language learning when we do philosophy. The focus throughout is on the relation between the individual (the learning child) and the community (usually represented by the parents), and how that relation is deformed when we operate with a certain philosophical notion of ground.
Keywords Language  Learning  Children  Kripke  Cavell  Wittgenstein
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DOI 10.1007/s11217-006-9013-3
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Meredith Williams (2011). Normative Naturalism. International Journal of Philosophical Studies 18 (3):355-375.
John N. Williams (2005). Learning Without Awareness. Studies in Second Language Acquisition. Special Issue 27 (2):269-304.

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