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Tanalgo TFI Philosophical Investigations By Ludwig Wittgenstein

July 13, 2012 Dr. Ma. Paula G. Sioco

1. Discuss Wittgensteins theory of meaning and his notion of language games. Explain adequately. Philosophical Investigation commences with a quote from the Augustines Confessions, which emphasizes that it is through naming objects one can establish the words meaning, for an object gives meaning to the word. The learning of meaning of words is restricted in being familiar to the physical and metaphysical characteristics of the object the word is referring to. Wittgenstein provided a scenario about that someone whom he asked to shop and whom he gave a slip marked five red apples. Wittgenstein questioned the activities that the shopkeeper did upon receiving the slip. The shopkeeper did not just read the slip and thought of the objects which corresponds to the word. It is in this scenario that Wittgenstein showed the inadequacy of relying to picture of language by Augustine, for words are not only limited in creating images for words. While picture of language plays a role in word meaning recognition, it doesnt encompass the other meanings a word may convey. It is in this light that Wittgenstein constructed another theory on meaning of words. Given that a word can be used in innumerable ways, the use of word for naming is just a part of the broad array of uses a word can have. It is also possible for words to acquire meaning though there is no referent. The meaning can be acquired through language games. According to Wittgenstein, a word acquires meaning through its use in a language. This is where language game plays a role. It is through language game that a word can be used in a certain way. Language games correspond to the activities of people or human actions associated with the word. However, this language should be shared and used by people

belonging to the same verbal community. Otherwise, this language has no form of life. Since a word can be used in innumerable ways depending on how a person wants to use it to denote to something, being particular on how it is used in a certain language game will avoid ambiguity due to the different usage of a word in numerous language games; and vagueness which is caused by the multiple meanings that cans be associated with a word. Thus, common usage is a guide to meaning. It is in his book, Philosophical Investigations that he refuted the previously believed infallible idea that it is through essential property common to all members that a concept can be meaningful. Essential property is used in this context as a necessary condition that needs to be fulfilled in order to become part of the group. He used games as examples wherein one cannot find an observable trait shared by all of the games. Instead, overlapping similarities can be noted in these games. He called this family resemblance. It is not only through essential property that one can be classified under a general term but also through similarities which is also capable of making a general term stable.

2. What is an ideal language? Is Wittgenstein for or against the creation of an ideal language? Explain coherently. Wittgenstein took consideration on the possibility of making meanings more clear and exact in order to achieve precision. He acknowledged the inevitability of making use of indistinct and tentative descriptions to meanings in order to provide an explanation. However, there are no sentences or words which are so accurate and precise that will prevent any misunderstandings. The language game plays a role in presenting to others what we mean. Ideal language is then achieved when through analysis we are able to extinguish vagueness and ambiguity for an accurate meaning. To avoid confusion, there must be an artificial language, namely an ideal language which is perfect that will facilitate discussion effectively

without reproducing confusion. This ideal language will strictly prohibit the use of nouns which are not logically proper, alterations in language that might bring confusion and a rigorous eye on grammar. This reform in language is possible but it is not the language itself that needs a reform, but it is our understanding of our language. The purpose of Wittgensteins Philosophical Investigation is to resolve philosophical problems and these require bringing words back to language games that are their original homes. This means that we should be able to understand and describe our language as it is. Wittgenstein is against the creation of an ideal language for it promotes one is to one correspondence between a noun and an object. This contradicts his notion that meaning of words do not rely only on the object for which the word stands for.

3. Explain clearly the role of philosophy and the following quotation: Philosophy may in no way interfere with the actual use of language, it can in the end only describe, it could not give it any foundation, either...it leaves everything as it is. The role of philosophy is to explain the actual use of a language. Its role can be described as descriptive or therapeutic. There is no discovery of new facts because it focuses more on clarity rather than discovery. Since there is a want to establish an order in our knowledge of the use of language, the use of ordinary language is conducive in understanding the language. It cannot control the proliferation of different language games, but it can account for the varied meanings of words in different language games.