[lit-ideas] Words, words, words

  • From: Robert Paul <rpaul@xxxxxxxx>
  • To: lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Fri, 4 Sep 2015 20:28:43 -0700

JL writes, in the course of a broader discussion:

'And I say Wittgensteinian, because in a famous passage, [he] tries to
count the uses of language, but fails.'

JL says that Wittgenstein said:

Review the multiciplicity (sic) of language games in the following
examples, and
in others.

Giving orders, and obeying them--
Describing the appearance of an object, or giving its measurements--
Constructing an object from a description (a drawing)--
Reporting an event--
Speculating about an event--
Forming or teasing a hypothesis--
[*This should be forming AND testing a hypothesis*—ed.]
Presenting the results of an experiment in tables and diagrams--
Making up a story; and reading it--
Singing catches--
Guessing riddles--
Making riddles--
Making a joke; telling it--
Solving a problem in practical arithmetic--
Translating from one [language] into another--
Asking, thanking, cursing, greeting, praying.--

The list of language uses JL 'quotes' is not the result of Wittgenstein's
trying to count the uses
of language. That is something Wittgenstein (prudently) had no interest in.
It's part of [PI §23],
which begins:

*But ho**w many kinds of sentence are there? Say, assertion, question, and
command? There*
*are count**less kinds; countless different kinds of use of all the things
we call "signs", "words", "sentences". And this diversity is not something
fixed, given once for all...'*

Robert Paul

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