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Child Meaning Notes

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Bill Child - Wittgenstein Chapter Four: From the Tractatus to Philosophical Investigations

1. From logical analysis to surveyable representation
* Tractatus - ordinary language disguises the underlying form of the thoughts it expresses
* e.g. same words have different meanings, words that function in different ways are used as if they function in the same way - confusion
* if we analyse propositions down to the point at which names are attached to simple objects, we will get a clear account of their meanings
# and this will allow us to solve the problems of philosophy
* In 1929 W retained the Tractarian conception of analysis but gave up logical independence from other elementary propositions as a criterion for a proposition being an elementary proposition
* By the end of 1929 he abandoned the whole idea that the task of philosophy is to uncover the structure of thought by analysing the propositions of ordinary language into elementary propositions that are expressed in a different symbolism
* W abandoned the idea that we need to construct a new symbolism or to invent a new language
* he also abandoned the idea of elementary propositions as being more fundamental than, or what we mean when we say something more complex#
* Instead of searching for the root in logic of our language (geology), W say the task of philosophy as 'seeing connections', giving perspicuous representations of the way in which terms are used (geography/topography)
* e.g. we have mistaken ideas about the nature of time because we suppose it can be measured in the same way as other things are measured - these disappear when we examine the differences in the use of 'measure'
* W gave up the idea of the essence of language, instead seeing it as a family resemblance concept
* we can understand language, games etc without knowing the necessary and sufficient conditions for something being e.g. a proposition
* this anti-essentialism is evident in epistemology, which has moved from the examination of the necc and suff conditions of knowledge to taking knowledge as basic and unanalysable, and instead exploring the relations between knowledge and belief, evidence etc
* Opposition to W claim that just because there's nothing in common to all propositions, doesn't mean there isn't something in common to all paradigmatic examples of propositions, and we can give a systematic account on this basis

2. 'The diversity of kinds of word and sentence': Wittgenstein's rejection of referentialism
* In the Tractatus W claimed that a word stands for an object, that the possibility of language rested on this, and that propositions were essentially indicative
* this is similar to (or at least an outgrowth from) Augustine's picture of language
# but it implies that all words function in the same way, and 'five', 'red' and 'apples' don't function in the same way
* understanding words such as 'red' doesn't involve knowing objects, but knowing how they are used, including purpose, response, in what circumstances they are appropriate

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