Sensation Terms

Dialectica 54 (3):177-199 (2000)

Peter Pagin
Stockholm University
Are sensation ascriptions descriptive, even in the first person present tense? Do sensation terms refer to, denote, sensations, so that truth and falsity of sensation ascriptions depend on the properties of the denoted sensations? That is, do sensation terms have a denotational semantics? As I understand it, this is denied by Wittgenstein. Wittgenstein rejects the idea of a denotational semantics for public language sensation terms, such as‘pain’. He also rejects the idea that speakers can recognizesensations. I think these views are mistaken.In this paper I shall present the following: first, my own basic views on how public language sensation terms relate to sensations ; second, to what extent these views are inconsistent with some of Wittgenstein's main tenets about sensations and sensation language, as set out in Philosophical Investigations##243–315, and what I take to be Wittgenstein's main arguments, in the same text, for those tenets ; third, why I think that those arguments are inconclusive ; and fourth, what I see as the best arguments for my own views. Sections 3 and 5 are concerned with the bearing of the private language argument on these matters.
Keywords Metaphysics  Pain  Semantics  Sensation  Term  Wittgenstein
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DOI 10.1111/dltc.2000.54.issue-3
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References found in this work BETA

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