Particular and general: Wittgenstein, linguistic rules, and context

In The later Wittgenstein on language. New York: Palgrave-Macmillan (2009)
  Copy   BIBTEX

Abstract

Wittgenstein famously remarks that ‘the meaning of a word is its use’ (PI §43). Whether or not one views this as gesturing at a ‘theory’ of meaning, or instead as aiming primarily at dissuading us from certain misconceptions of language that are a source of puzzlement, it is clear that Wittgenstein held that for certain purposes the meaning of an expression could profitably be characterised as its use. Throughout his later writings, however, Wittgenstein’s appeal to the notion of use pulls in two directions. In several places, Wittgenstein seems to connect the notion of an expression’s meaning with that of use in the sense of usage or practice. More specifically, he suggests that for an expression to possess meaning is for there to be a practice of employing it according to certain rules. ‘That’, he tells us, ‘is why there exists a correspondence between the concepts “rule” and “meaning”’ (OC §62; cf. PG 68; PO 51; RFM VI §28; VW 103). Indeed, Wittgenstein goes so far as to say, ‘The rule-governed nature of our languages permeates our life’ (RC §303). Call the view that the meaning of an expression is determined by a general principle governing its use, rulism.

Links

PhilArchive



    Upload a copy of this work     Papers currently archived: 92,197

External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server

Through your library

Similar books and articles

Semantic Particularism and Linguistic Competence.Anna Bergqvist - 2009 - Logique Et Analyse 52 (208):343-361.
Wittgenstein, history and hermeneutics.Christopher Lawn - 2003 - Philosophy and Social Criticism 29 (3):281-295.
Objectivity and meaning: Wittgenstein on following rules.Victor J. Krebs - 1986 - Philosophical Investigations 9 (July):177-186.
Wittgenstein on rules and practices.Mark McCullagh - 2002 - Journal of Philosophical Research 27:83-100.
Rule-following and the objectivity of proof.Cesare Cozzo - 2004 - In Annalisa Coliva & Eva Picardi (eds.), Wittgenstein Today. Il poligrafo. pp. 185--200.

Analytics

Added to PP
2009-01-28

Downloads
1,614 (#6,404)

6 months
16 (#159,435)

Historical graph of downloads
How can I increase my downloads?

Author's Profile

Daniel Whiting
University of Southampton

Citations of this work

What is the Normativity of Meaning?Daniel Whiting - 2016 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 59 (3):219-238.
Languages, language-games, and forms of life.Daniel Whiting - 2017 - In Hans-Johann Glock & John Hyman (eds.), A Companion to Wittgenstein. Chichester, West Sussex, UK: Wiley-Blackwell. pp. 420–432.
World‐Pictures and Wittgensteinian Certainty.Hiroshi Ohtani - 2018 - Metaphilosophy 49 (1-2):115-136.

View all 7 citations / Add more citations

References found in this work

No references found.

Add more references