Analytic philosophy generally follows Frege in insisting that concepts be defined so as to eliminate vagueness. In practice, however, context often provides the clarit y that definitions fail to supply. Wittgenstein’s later work stressed context (use) rather than definition, at least for philosophical (as opposed to scientific) discourse. In this Wittgenstein’s development was opposite to Frege’s.Richard Robinson notes the looseness in original language learning, and that precision is often nevertheless achieved, especially in sciences. Hence Robinson’s paradox: the inevitability of vagueness at the roots of precision. Analytic explanations contrast with contextual ones. We can sometimes explain meaning analytically, but we must sometimes use contextual explanations. Vagueness cannot be eliminated, and wholesale analysis is a chimerical ideal in philosophy. We need, as Wittgenstein came to see, a broader, more general, conception of cIarity, within which analytic (Iogical) clarity is only one special case
Keywords Contemporary Philosophy  General Interest
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ISBN(s) 1053-8364
DOI 10.5840/jpr_1999_1
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