[lit-ideas] Re: [slip] Re: Re: Though Maybe Not For All

  • From: Robert.Paul@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx (Robert Paul)
  • To: lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: 16 Dec 2004 11:48:48 PST

Donal writes:

The version in my copy [of the Philsophical Investigations] is fuller afair - it
inserts or perhaps interpolates "though not for all" ie. there are cases that
fall outside this large class. This surely means that LW is not merely saying
that we know that largely 'meaning is use' but he has in mind cases where it is
clearly not. Cp. 'We
know many of the dead are civilians' with 'We know many of the dead - but not
all - are civilians'.
Yes, mine has this qualifying clause too. I simply failed to copy it. (Donal
must surely know how unweildy it is to try to do something with one hand while
holding a book in the other.)  

I thought though that I'd tried to suggest what the items found in, as Donal
puts it, 'the other, presumably _smaller_?, class,' might be, viz., genuine
names: 'Donal,' 'molybdenum,' etc. Why these? Because one might learn them by
simple ostension or from definitions alluding to the atomic table--something
like that.

I take it that given the context of this fairly off-hand passage, he's saying
that naming ('attaching a lable to something') won't do as an elucidation of
meaning across the board; but naming _will_ do, learning genuine names will do,
as a way of learning the meanings of certain words--words whose referents can be
readily picked out through ostension or looked up in scientific lexica.

But I doubt that (43) is either the prelude to or the summary of anything like a
theory. Wittgenstein, on his own account, advanced no theories. One thing one
should do for philosophers is to take them at their word--unless one has good
reason not to.

Robert Paul
Reed College
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