Elmar Unnsteinsson
University College Dublin
According to the dominant view, the later Wittgenstein identified the meaning of an expression with its use in the language and vehemently rejected any kind of mentalism or intentionalism about linguistic meaning. I argue that the dominant view is wrong. The textual evidence, which has either been misunderstood or overlooked, indicates that at least since the Blue Book Wittgenstein thought speakers' intentions determine the contents of linguistic utterances. His remarks on use are only intended to emphasize the heterogeneity of natural language. Taking into account remarks written after he finished the Investigations, I show how Wittgenstein anticipated the basic tenets of Gricean intention-based semantics. These are, in particular, the distinction between ‘natural’ and ‘non-natural’ meaning and the distinction between what a speaker means by an utterance and what the expression uttered means in the speaker’s natural language. Importantly, Wittgenstein also believed that only the meaning of the speaker determined the content of ambiguous expressions, such as ‘bank’, on a particular occasion of utterance.
Keywords Wittgenstein  Grice  intentionalism  linguistic meaning  behaviourism  pragmatics
Categories (categorize this paper)
Reprint years 2016
DOI 10.1080/09608788.2015.1047735
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

 PhilArchive page | Other versions
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

Studies in the Way of Words.H. P. Grice - 1989 - Cambridge: Harvard University Press.
Empiricism and the Philosophy of Mind.Wilfrid S. Sellars - 1956 - Minnesota Studies in the Philosophy of Science 1:253-329.
Meaning.H. Paul Grice - 1957 - Philosophical Review 66 (3):377-388.

View all 60 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

A Gricean Theory of Malaprops.Elmar Unnsteinsson - 2017 - Mind and Language 32 (4):446-462.
Confusion is Corruptive Belief in False Identity.Elmar Unnsteinsson - 2016 - Canadian Journal of Philosophy 46 (2):204-227.
Wittgenstein’s Influence on Austin’s Philosophy of Language.Daniel W. Harris & Elmar Unnsteinsson - 2018 - British Journal for the History of Philosophy 26 (2):371-395.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Is Wittgenstein a Contextualist?Alberto Voltolini - 2010 - Essays in Philosophy 11 (2):3.
Wittgenstein on Language, Meaning, and Use.Dan Nesher - 1992 - International Philosophical Quarterly 32 (1):55-78.
The Meaning of an Utterance.A. Denkel - 1983 - Journal of Semantics 2 (1):29-40.
Speaker’s Meaning and Non-Cancellability.Guangwu Feng - 2013 - Pragmatics and Cognition 21 (1):117-138.
Relevance Theory - New Directions and Developments.Robyn Carston & George Powell - 2006 - In Ernest Lepore & Barry Smith (eds.), The Oxford Handbook to the Philosophy of Language. Oxford University Press. pp. 341--360.
Wittgenstein and Beha Viourism.S. Stephen Hilmy - 1989 - Grazer Philosophische Studien 33 (1):335-352.
Wittgenstein and Davidson: Meaning and Agreement.David Athony Checkland - 1990 - Dissertation, University of Toronto (Canada)
Meaning, Belief, and Language Acquisition.Mark Risjord - 1996 - Philosophical Psychology 9 (4):465-475.


Added to PP index

Total views
759 ( #7,789 of 2,446,439 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
66 ( #9,853 of 2,446,439 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes