[lit-ideas] Re: [lit-ideas] Wittgenstein PI §31 - "This is the king"

  • From: Jlsperanza@xxxxxxx
  • To: lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Sat, 29 May 2004 18:26:21 EDT

In a message dated 5/29/2004 12:09:30 PM Eastern Standard Time,  
phil.enns@xxxxxxxxxxx writes:
Furthermore, to understand what a game piece is makes it  possible
for one to ask relevantly 'What do you call this?' and to then be  told
'This is the king'. 
I wonder if the Wittgenstein approach simplifies the fact that 'This is the  
king', as applied to the game of chess, is a kind of _metaphor_ -- or is it 
not?  (If not a metaphor -- what's the name for the figure of speech involved?)
I mean, "This is the king" is _literally_ an utterance that may function as  
an ostensive definition to signal, say, the present king of France (if he  
existed). As applied to a wooden piece, it's a playful utterance, and I wonder  
if the correct representation would not rather be:
'This is [the piece] called 'the king'"
leaving 'This is the king' to be a representation of ostensive definitions  
for (real) _kings_?
For the record, I append below -- in the ps -- the sub-entry in the OED for  
'king' qua chess piece. The first metaphorical use can be rather definitely  
traced to 1411. Before that, any utterance of 'This is the king' would _not_ be 
 understood 'within the game' of chess.
From the OED
In chess: The piece which each player must  protect against the moves made by 
the other, so as to prevent it from being  finally checkmated.
1411  HOCCLEVE De Reg. Princ. 2120 
Somwhat I knowe a  kynges draught. 
1413 Pilgr.  Sowle I. xxii. (Caxton 1483), 
Whan that a pown  seyith to the kyng, chekmate. 
1474 CAXTON Chesse  IV. ii. Kij, Al these yssues hath the  kyng out of his 
propre place whan he begynneth to meue. 1562 ROWBOTHAM Cheasts Aviij, Yf checke 
be geuen to the Kyng, the Paune can not marche asyde..for to couer his Kynge. 
1645 Z. BOYD  Holy Songs in Zion's Flowers (1855) App. 13/1 Kings, Pawnes, 
Knights,  Aphens, heere and there stand, yet there wood is one. 1735 J. BERTIN 
Chess, The King's  Pawn..must move before the Knights. 1841 G. WALKER New 
Treat. Chess 2 The  pieces on the King's side of the line are called..King's 
Bishop, King's Knight,  and King's Rook. 1882 MEYER  Guide to Chess 21 The King 
never taken; all the other pieces can  be.

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  • » [lit-ideas] Re: [lit-ideas] Wittgenstein PI §31 - "This is the king"