Wittgenstein’s Paradox of Ordinary Language

Essays in Philosophy 1 (2):1-14 (2000)

Barry Stocker
Istanbul Technical University
The later Wittgenstein claimed to resolve philosophical problems through returning words to their 'ordinary' use. The paradox arises that Wittgenstein's own philosophy must be written in a philosophical language and, therefore, in an extra-ordinary language. The paradox is discussed with particular reference to rules. Rules constitute language, but the account of the 'rule' itself leads to paradox and contradiction. A rule is followed and following a rule requires an interpretation. The interpretation of the rule requires a decision. The decision precedes the rule, so it justifies following a rule but there cannot be a rule for the decision itself
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DOI 10.5840/eip2000128
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