Language games and natural reactions


Abstract
Ludwig Wittgenstein imagines a variety of eccentric social practices—like a tribe trained “to give no expression of feeling of any kind”. But he also speaks of “the common behavior of mankind” that is rooted in “natural/primitive reactions”. This emphasis on the uniformities of human behavior raises questions about the plausibility of some of his imagined language games. Indeed, it suggests the claim of evolutionary psychologists that there are biologically based human universals that shape social practices. But in contrast to E.O. Wilson's belief that “genes hold culture on a leash”, Wittgenstein sees culture as a mediator—rather than a conduit—of “natural reactions”. This suggests that social science can incorporate the claims of evolutionary psychology without scanting the centrality of culture in action and allows that nature can be overwhelmed by culture
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DOI 10.1111/j.1468-5914.2004.00234.x
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Contingency, Irony, and Solidarity.Richard Rorty - 1989 - Cambridge University Press.

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