About this topic
Summary To a first approximation a private language would be a language that only one person can understand, perhaps as a matter of necessity. Many philosophers have thought that there couldn't be such a language, that any meaningful language must be such that, at least in principle, more than one person could understand it. The main source for arguments against the possibility of private languages has been Wittgenstein's Philosophical Investigations, although it remains a matter of controversy precisely what Wittgenstein aimed to show, what his arguments were, and whether those arguments were successful. More recent work has attempted to articulate in more detail than Wittgenstein arguments for and against the possibility of private languages. A further issue concerns what the consequences would be if it were demonstrated that private languages are not possible. Would it, for example, have consequences for the nature of experience, or its effability?
Key works Wittgenstein 2009 Includes Wittgenstein's seminal discussion of issues about the possibility of private languages. It is a matter of controversy precisely where the core discussion takes place. Kripke 1982 Very important presentation by Saul Kripke of a line of argument against the possibility of private languages based on Wittgenstein's discussion. Wright 1984 Important critical discussion of Kripke's argument and his interpretation of Wittgenstein. Baker & Hacker 1984 Another important critical discussion of Kripke. Ayer & Rhees 1954 Early discussion of issues about whether there could be private languages. Bar-On 1992 Useful discussion of the possibility of solitary, as opposed to private language, and of the relations between the two issues.
Introductions Candlish 2008 Craig 1997
Related categories

173 found
1 — 50 / 173
  1. Can There Be a Private Language?S. C. A. - 1973 - Review of Metaphysics 27 (2):412-413.
  2. Wittgenstein, Rules and Origin - Privacy.D. F. Ackermann - 1983 - Journal of Indian Council of Philosophical Research 1:63-69.
  3. Private Language Questions in Contemporary Analytical Philosophy Analytical Study of Wittgenstein's Treatments of Private Language and its Implications.M. Shabbir Ahsen - unknown
    Wittgenstein's treatment of private language is the dissolution of some of the major problems in traditional philosophy. Philosophical problems, for Wittgenstein, are the conceptual confusion arising due to the abuse of language. They can be fully dispensed with by commanding a clear view of language. Language, for Wittgenstein, is on the one hand, the source of philosophical problems while, on the other hand, it is a means to dispense with them. Private language is one such issue which is ultimately rooted (...)
  4. Attaining Objectivity: Phenomenological Reduction and the Private Language Argument.Liliana Albertazzi & Roberto Poli - unknown
    Twentieth Century philosophical thought has expressed itself for the most part through two great Movements: the phenomenological and the analytical. Each movement originated in reaction against idealistic—or at least antirealistic—views of "the world". And each has collapsed back into an idealism not different in effect from that which it initially rejected. Both movements began with an appeal to meanings or concepts, regarded as objective realities capable of entering the flow of experience without loss of their objective status or of their (...)
  5. Odors and Private Language: Observations on the Phenomenology of Scent. [REVIEW]Uri Almagor - 1990 - Human Studies 13 (3):253-274.
  6. Wittgenstein at Work: Method in the Philosophical Investigations.Erich Ammereller & Eugen Fischer (eds.) - 2004 - Routledge.
    Wittgenstein at Work: Method in the Philosophical Investigations explores the least well-understood aspect of Wittgenstein's later work: his aims and methods. Specially-commissioned papers by twelve of the world's leading Wittgenstein scholars analyze the way he approached key topics such as rule-following and private language, and examine his remarks on clarification, nonsense and other central notions of his methodology. Many contributors touch on the therapeutic aspects Wittgenstein's approach, the focus of much current debate. Wittgenstein at Work provides both students and specialist (...)
  7. Wittgenstein on Rules and Private Language.G. E. M. Anscombe - 1985 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 15 (1):103-109.
  8. Critical Notice: Wittgenstein on Rules and Private Language.G. E. M. Anscombe - 1985 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 15 (4):103-9.
  9. Wittgenstein on Private Languages: It Takes Two to Talk.Benjamin F. Armstrong - 1984 - Philosophical Investigations 7 (January):46-62.
  10. Can There Be a Private Language?A. J. Ayer - 1954 - Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society 28:63-94.
  11. Private Languages and Private Theorists.David Bain - 2004 - Philosophical Quarterly 54 (216):427 - 434.
    Simon Blackburn objects that Wittgenstein's private language argument overlooks the possibility that a private linguist can equip himself with a criterion of correctness by confirming generalizations about the patterns in which his private sensations occur. Crispin Wright responds that appropriate generalizations would be too few to be interesting. But I show that Wright's calculations are upset by his failure to appreciate both the richness of the data and the range of theories that would be available to the private linguist.
  12. On Misunderstanding Wittgenstein: Kripke's Private Language Argument.Gordon P. Baker & P. M. S. Hacker - 1984 - Synthese 58 (3):407-450.
  13. Scepticism, Rules and Language.Gordon P. Baker & P. M. S. Hacker - 1984 - Blackwell.
  14. On the Possibility of a Solitary Language.Dorit Bar-On - 1992 - Noûs 26 (1):27-46.
  15. Humpty Dumpty, Private Languages and Logic Programmers.Tjm Bench-Capon - 1988 - AI and Society 2 (3):271-272.
  16. Empirical Private Languages and the Perfect Simulator.Ermanno Bencivenga - 1991 - Grazer Philosophische Studien 41:99-104.
    In an attempt at fleshing out the thesis that religious (and other similar) experiences cannot be attributed to an individual on the basis of outer behaviour alone, the hypothesis is entertained of somebody who decides, at a certain point in his life, to fool everybody into beUeving that he is a reUgious beUever. This person, it is claimed, lacks the inner conviction that is crucial to religious experiences. Does this claim fall prey to Wittgenstein-like objections to the possibility of a (...)
  17. Personal Beliefs Without Private Languages.David Braybrooke - 1963 - Review of Metaphysics 16 (June):672-686.
  18. Single-Mindedness: Language, Thought, and the First Person.Robert Briscoe - 2004 - Dissertation, Boston University
    Philosophy has always taken the asymmetry between self and other as one of its major themes. In this thesis, I examine the relation between an individual's knowledge of language from a first-person perspective, on the one hand, and characterization of her as a member of a linguistic community from a third-person perspective, on other. Focusing on Crispin Wright, I try in Chapter One to show that semantic antirealism cannot stably be combined with either communitarianism or constructivism about meaning. I also (...)
  19. Locke on Private Language.Genevieve Brykman - 1992 - In Phillip D. Cummins & Guenter Zoeller (eds.), Minds, Ideas, and Objects: Essays in the Theory of Representation in Modern Philosophy. Ridgeview Publishing Company.
  20. Private Language Problem [Addendum].Alex Byrne - manuscript
    Although the proper formulation and assessment of Ludwig Wittgenstein's argument (or arguments) against the possibility of a private language continues to be disputed, the issue has lost none of its urgency. At stake is a broadly Cartesian conception of experiences that is found today in much philosophy of mind.
  21. Private Language.Stewart Candlish - 2008 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
    cannot understand the language.”[1] This is not intended to cover (easily imaginable) cases of recording one's experiences in a personal code, for such a code, however obscure in fact, could in principle be deciphered. What Wittgenstein had in mind is a language conceived as necessarily comprehensible only to its single originator because the things which define its vocabulary are necessarily inaccessible to others.
  22. Private Language, Private Objects.Stewart Candlish - 2002 - The Philosophers' Magazine 18 (18):32-33.
  23. The Real Private Language Argument.Stewart Candlish - 1980 - Philosophy 55 (211):85 - 94.
    It verges on the platitudinous to say that Wittgenstein's own treatment of the question of a private language has been almost lost to view under mountains of commentary in the last twenty years—so much so, that no one with a concern for his own health would try to arrive at a verdict on the question by first mastering the available discussion. But a general acquaintance with the commentaries indicates that opinion on the matter can be roughly divided into two categories: (...)
  24. Private Language: The Diary Case.J. V. Canfield - 2001 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 79 (3):377 – 394.
  25. The Private Language Argument.James D. Carney - 1971 - Southern Journal of Philosophy 9 (4):353-359.
  26. Private Language: The Logic of Wittgenstein's Argument.James D. Carney - 1960 - Mind 69 (276):560-565.
  27. The Inner Word Prior to Language.Phillip Cary - 2011 - Philosophy Today 55 (2):192-198.
  28. The Uses of Sense. Wittgenstein's Philosophy of Language.Gertrude D. Conway - 1991 - Review of Metaphysics 45 (1):153-155.
  29. Wittgenstein's Use of the Private Language Discussion.Vincent M. Cooke - 1974 - International Philosophical Quarterly 14 (1):25-49.
  30. Private Languages and Private Entities.James W. Cornman - 1968 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 46 (2):117-126.
  31. Cogito e linguagem privada.Cf De Costa - 1998 - Kriterion: Journal of Philosophy 39 (98).
  32. Review of Stephen Mulhall, Wittgenstein's Private Language: Grammar, Nonsense, and Imagination in Philosophical Investigations, ##243-315[REVIEW]Charles Crittenden - 2007 - Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews 2007 (5).
  33. Husserl and Private Languages: A Response to Hutcheson.Suzanne Cunningham - 1983 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 44 (1):103-111.
  34. Language and the Phenomenological Reductions of Edmund Husserl.Suzanne Cunningham - 1976 - M. Nijhoff.
    CHAPTER I INTRODUCTION Rene" Descartes started modern Western philosophy on its search for an absolutely certain foundation for knowledge. ...
  35. Language, the Reductions, and "Immanence".Suzanne Cunningham & Lenore Langsdorf - 1979 - Research in Phenomenology 9 (1):247-259.
  36. Empiricism and the Private Language Argument.Kim Davies - 1981 - Philosophical Quarterly 31 (125):343-347.
  37. Locke on Private Language.Hannah Dawson - 2003 - British Journal for the History of Philosophy 11 (4):609 – 637.
  38. TYPES OF INTERSUBJECTIVITY and Alternative Reality Images.Ulrich De Balbian - 2017 - Oxford: Academic Publishers.
    Exploration of INTERSUBJECTIVITY is continued. Different kinds of if are differentiated and signs for its presence and effects are shown. The difference between it, subjectivity and objectivity are explored. Intersubjectivity is crucial and universal for general everyday discourse in all cultures, sub-cultures, institutions, communities and socio-cultural practices such as religion, sport, etc or the so-called Manifest Image. It is essential for specialized areas, for example religion, sport and disciplines such as the humanities, arts, sciences, philosophy and all institutions. It is (...)
  39. The Concept of Language. [REVIEW]S. E. - 1960 - Review of Metaphysics 13 (3):535-535.
  40. A Defense of the Private Self.Robert R. Ehman - 1964 - Review of Metaphysics 17 (3):340 - 360.
  41. Private Language Thesis and its Epistemological Import: A Study in Philosophy of Language.Benjamin Ike Ewelu - 2008 - Delta Publications.
  42. Wittgenstein's Philosophy of Language.W. A. F. - 1974 - Review of Metaphysics 27 (3):604-604.
  43. Wittgenstein on Rules and Private Language - an Elementary Exposition - Kripke,S. [REVIEW]Fred Feldman - unknown
  44. Quine's Behaviorism and Linguistic Meaning: Why Quine's Behaviorism is Not Illicit.Tyrus Fisher - 2011 - Philosophia 39 (1):51-59.
    Some of Quine’s critics charge that he arrives at a behavioristic account of linguistic meaning by starting from inappropriately behavioristic assumptions (Kripke 1982, 14; Searle 1987, 123). Quine has even written that this account of linguistic meaning is a consequence of his behaviorism (Quine 1992, 37). I take it that the above charges amount to the assertion that Quine assumes the denial of one or more of the following claims: (1) Language-users associate mental ideas with their linguistic expressions. (2) A (...)
  45. Language, Identity and Multiculturalism.Gabriel Furmuzachi - 2007 - Logos.
    With Augustine and especially with Wittgenstein, we see that when we use language we negotiate a meaning since language is something we acquire in a community. On the other hand, Chomsky argues that language is something that happens to us, rather than something we learn. We attempt to bring these two positions in a balance by following Davidson's ideas on meaning and radical interpretation, which gives us a way to keep meaning (what someone thinks) and belief (what someone holds true (...)
  46. Wittgenstein on Private Language.Newton Garver - 1959 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 20 (3):389-396.
    Could we imagine a language in which a person could express his inner sensations or experiences for his private use? the author explicates wittgenstein's views, Giving one, An expose of certain considerations which lend plausibility to the notion of a private language, And two, A reduction "ad absurdum" of the notion of a private language or private understanding. The utility of a sign and its intelligibility in the common language go hand in hand; a sign which is supposed to be (...)
  47. Wittgenstein's Private Language Arguments.Bernard Gert - 1986 - Synthese 68 (3):409-39.
  48. Qualia and Private Language.Carl Ginet - 1999 - Philosophical Topics 26 (1/2):121-38.
  49. Castaneda on Private Language.Carl Ginet - 1983 - In Tomberlin (ed.), Agent, Language, and the Structure of the World: Essays Presented to Hector-Neri Castaneda. Hackett.
  50. Ontology, Epistemology, and Private Ostensive Definition.Irwin Goldstein - 1996 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 56 (1):137-147.
    People see five kinds of views in epistemology and ontology as hinging on there being words a person can learn only by private ostensive definitions, through direct acquaintance with his own sensations: skepticism about other minds, 2. skepticism about an external world, 3. foundationalism, 4. dualism, and 5. phenomenalism. People think Wittgenstein refuted these views by showing, they believe, no word is learnable only by private ostensive definition. I defend these five views from Wittgenstein’s attack.
1 — 50 / 173