Understanding Wittgenstein: Studies of Philosophical Investigations

By J. F. M. Hunter | Go to book overview

Four
UNDERSTANDING WORDS AND UNDERSTANDING LANGUAGE

IN §199 of the Philosophical Investigations Wittgenstein says, as categorically as he ever says anything, 'To understand a sentence means to understand a language. To understand a language means to be master of a technique'.

In §33 he expresses a similar view: 'Suppose, however, someone were to object: "It is not true that you must already be master of a language in order to understand an ostensive definition . . ." .' This is not so categorically expressed; but calling it an objection would seem to imply that the proposition objected to was one Wittgenstein would defend.

Again in §30 we read: 'So one might say: the ostensive definition explains the use -- the meaning -- of the word when the overall role of the word in language is clear. Thus if I know that someone means to explain a colour word to me the ostensive definition "That is called 'sepia' " will help me to understand the word'. This is even less categorical, but the words 'So one might say' can quite naturally be read as about equivalent to 'So I suggest', and thus again as marking a position Wittgenstein would defend.

This last passage, however, is also where doubts may begin, because Wittgenstein goes on to say 'And you can say this, so long as you do not forget that all sorts of problems attach to the words "to know" and "to be clear" '. This suggests that Wittgenstein may agree that an ostensive definition explains the meaning of a word when the overall role of the word is clear, but only in a sense, and possibly in a sense such that the proposition is no longer of much moment.

What Wittgenstein goes on to say may be read as a conformation of the above suggestion. In §30 he had written 'One has already to know (to be able to do) something in order to be

-43-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this book

This book has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this book

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Understanding Wittgenstein: Studies of Philosophical Investigations
Table of contents

Table of contents

Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
/ 248

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

    Already a member? Log in now.