Some reflections on language games

Philosophy of Science 21 (3):204-228 (1954)
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1. It seems plausible to say that a language is a system of expressions the use of which is subject to certain rules. It would seem, thus, that learning to use a language is learning to obey the rules for the use of its expressions. However, taken as it stands, this thesis is subject to an obvious and devastating refutation. After formulating this refutation, I shall turn to the constructive task of attempting to restate the thesis in a way which avoids it. In doing so, I shall draw certain distinctions the theoretical elaboration of which will, I believe, yield new insight into the psychology of language and of what might be called “norm conforming behavior” generally. The present paper contains an initial attempt along these lines.



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