CHAPTER VII
ASSESSMENT

I. WHAT REMAINS?

THERE IS A SENSE in which, once Linguistic Philosophy is properly understood, further criticism is redundant. To see the particular syndrome of ideas, practices, presuppositions, expectations, values and tricks, and to see their interconnectedness in a kind of extended defensive system, is also to see its circularity and to be free of the temptation to adhere to it. Linguistic Philosophy maintains that to describe and see the mechanics of a problem is to be free from it, and to see the redundancy of attempts to answer it: ironically, just this applies to Linguistic Philosophy itself. Thus the "therapeutic" theory that a full description of the symptoms obviates them--holds in at least one case. Paraphrasing a remark of Karl Kraus about psychoanalysis, Linguistic Philosophy is the disease which it strives to cure.

Whilst it is easy to refute many points within the style of thought we call Linguistic Philosophy--and, indeed, to accept others--it is for various reasons doubtful whether the style as a whole can be refuted effectively in any technical sense. It is apposite at this point to quote an elegant, and true, passage from a linguistic philosopher, Mr. G. J. Warnock*

". . . metaphysical systems do not yield, as a rule, to frontal attack. Their odd property of being demonstrable only, so to speak, from within confers on them also a high resistance to attack from outside. The onslaughts of critics to whom, as likely as not, their strange tenets are very nearly unintelligible are apt to seem, to those entrenched inside, misdirected and irrelevant. Such systems are more vulnerable to ennui than to disproof. They are citadels, much shot at perhaps but never taken by storm, which are quietly discovered one day to be no longer inhabited."

____________________
*
English Philosophy since 1900, 1958, pp. 10 and 11.

-193-

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Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page 3
  • Acknowledgements 7
  • Contents 9
  • Introduction 13
  • Chapter I - Of Linguistic Philosophy 17
  • Chapter II - Of Language 27
  • Chapter III - Of Philosophy 57
  • Chapter IV - Of the World 99
  • Chapter V - Of Knowledge 120
  • Chapter VI - Structure and Strategy 159
  • Chapter VII - Assessment 193
  • Chapter VIII - Implications 220
  • Chapter IX - Sociology 229
  • Chapter X - Conclusion 263
  • Index 267
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