Post lecture notes for students of IR 6901: (Week 5) Wittgenstein’s theory of Language-games

By Farish A. Noor ~ April 8th, 2010. Filed under: Lecture Notes.

Post lecture notes for students of IR 6901: (Week 5) Introduction to Discourse Analysis, with a special reference to religio-political discourse:

Wittgenstein’s Philosophical Investigations: Rule-following and the theory of Language-games.

A. Why I cannot praise the Tractatus on its own terms:

I would like to praise Wittgenstein’s Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus and say that it is a good book. In fact, I would go further and say that I personally (while being fully aware of whatever subjective biases I may have) find it a beautiful book. (In fact, I think it is the most beautiful work of philosophy that I have ever read.)

Yet ironically, I cannot say that the Tractatus is good or beautiful on the terms of the Tractatus, for Wittgenstein, in the Tractatus, is of the opinion that ethical and aesthetic value judgements refer to things that are not of/in the world and as such are beyond speech and representation.(1)

Wittgenstein of course gets himself into this somewhat awkward position because of his account of experience as being solipsistic and his view that language can only present/picture things in the world as we experience them within the solipsistic confines of our private experiential/linguistic ‘life-worlds’. Remember that the solipsism of the early Wittgenstein in the Tractatus is one where the Self/I subject is reduced to the point of zero extension and is thus not an object in the world that can be spoken of either:

5.64. Here it can be seen by solipsism, when its implications are followed out strictly, coincides with pure realism. The self of solipsism shrinks to the point of no extension, and there remains the reality that is co-ordinated with it. (Emphasis mine)

5.641. Thus there really is a sense which philosophy can talk about the self in a non-psychological way.
What brings the self into philosophy is the fact that ‘the world is my world’.
The philosophical self is not the human being, not the human body, or the human soul, with which psychology deals, but rather the metaphysical subject, the limit of the world – not a part of it.

As the Self/I can only experience the world but cannot experience itself experiencing the world, any talk or speculation about the Self/I as a metaphysical ethical subject is also rendered impossible, as Wittgenstein notes:

5.633. Where in the world is the metaphysical subject to be found?
You will say that this is exactly like the case of the eye and the visual field. But really you do not see the eye.
And nothing in the visual field allows you to infer that it is being seen by an eye. (Wittgenstein’s emphasis)

So far, so good- But this still leaves us – and Wittgenstein – with the problem of how to make sense of sentences like (P1) ‘The Tractatus is a beautiful book’. Surely even if I cannot point to goodness and beauty in the world as objects, I can still make sense of the proposition (P1) above. And as competent language-users, you can grasp the sense of what I am saying when I utter P1. (‘Grasping’ in the Fregean sense of being able to grasp the sense of what is being said, even in instances of propositions that are false, but which nonetheless make sense.) Thus P1 (‘The Tractatus is a beautiful book’) is not a nonsensical sentence like ‘chocolate sleeps in red’ or a string of random signifiers that have no logical order and do not reflect/mirror/model any logical relation of things in the world.

The other consequence of the rather narrow solipsism we get in the Tractatus is Wittgenstein’s rather cloudy (though he would have disliked that term) account of moral behaviour and moral/aesthetic stances taken by individuals. All we are left with in the Tractatus is the rather vague reference to a moral outlook/comportment in life as something ‘mystical’, understood vaguely as a disposition or moral perspectivism that cannot be discussed/representated (for as he argues moral/aesthetic values are outside speech and representation) but which affect and determine the solipsistic perspectivism of the individual.

He alludes to this in the line:

6.43. If the good or bad exercise of the will does alter the world, it can only alter the limits of the world, not the facts – not what can be expressed by means of language.
In short the effect must be that it becomes an altogether different world. It must, in short, wax and wane as a whole.
The world of a happy man is different from that of the unhappy man. (Emphasis mine.)

Here ‘good or bad exercise’ and its effect on the limits of the world seem to suggest that being good/bad or having a moral/aesthetic disposition shapes the contours of our world in the sense that it expands/contracts the range of logical possibilities we have. (As Wittgenstein puts it: ‘it must, in short, wax and wane as a whole’.)

Such moral/aesthetic disposition do not lend themselves to speech and cannot be talked about (at least according to the account of language in the Tractatus) but they manifest themselves. And it is this feature of being un-representable things that make themselves manifest that qualifies them as ‘mystical’ in Wittgenstein’s sense of the word:

6.522. There are, indeed, things that cannot be put into words. They make themselves manifest. They are what is mystical. (Emphasis Wittgenstein’s)

[*Note: Here I would like to stop and go no further as I believe we are in danger of reading perhaps too much into the Tractatus than is warranted. However some commentators on Wittgenstein like Michael Morris (2008) have tried to argue that what Wittgenstein means by ‘mysticism’ may well be a sort of moral perspectivism that determines the view on life of the individual and also determines the range of his/her moral/aesthetic possibilities.]

Wittgenstein must have been aware of the limits of his solipsistic account of language-use and reference/meaning, and this may account for his further elaboration/s on the subject that he pursued in his subsequent writings, (The Blue and Brown books, Philosophical Remarks, etc.) and which he developed further in his Philosophical Investigations (1945).

B. Wittgenstein’s Philosophical Investigations: From solipsistic perspectivism to a public language-game with rules

Let us recall the steps we have taken so far: We need to do this because we need to remember the basis of Wittgenstein’s arguments and the arguments that led him to the position he took in the Tractatus, and we also need to ask whether his subsequent writings were a refutation of, or an advancement from, his earlier position that he adopted in the book.

• Wittgenstein has to be ranked among the first generation of analytical philosophers who took it upon themselves to analyse the workings of language as a means of representing the world and to make truth-claims about it. He was deeply influenced by the work and ideas of the mathematician and logician Gottlob Frege, but unlike Frege – who regarded ordinary language as problematic and full of unstated subjective and historically-sedimented biases, slants and norms; and who preferred to invent a ‘logical annotation’ (Frege’s Begriffsschrift) – Wittgenstein opted to study language as it is ordinarily used instead.

• Wittgenstein took the view that ordinary language – though historically evolved and culturally-determined – was none the less the real way in which we dealt with the world and related to it through proposition picture/models of the world around us. (His ‘picture/model theory of language’.)

• However Wittgenstein’s aim to clarify the uses of language and its application in philosophy (‘philosophy’ here understood as a practice/exercise rather than a theory, Tractatus, 4.112-4.116) led him to limiting the scope of language to whatever can be said/represented/pictured/modelled in our solipsistic ‘life-worlds’ of language-experience. (Where the limits of language coincide with the limit of our range of experiences of the world (T, 5.6.), and where, as he puts it ‘solipsism coincides with pure realism’. (T, 5.64.)

IF our further reading of Wittgenstein is to take off from this point, then what can we say about Wittgenstein’s view of language-use as he develops it in the Philosophical Investigations?

Harrison (1979), Pears (1987) and Morris (2008) all seem to agree that the Philosophical Investigations is not a refutation of Wittgenstein’s own position in the Tractatus. They note that the book was written after a long hiatus during which Wittgenstein had isolated himself from academic work and was only persuaded to return to academia by his friends later. During this period of almost two decades, he elaborated upon some of the ideas he developed in the Tractatus in other works, but the culmination of these efforts came in the form of the Philosophical Investigations that were written during World War Two and published before the end of the war. In the preface to the Philosophical Investigations, he comments on his work thus:

‘After several unsuccessful attempts to weld my results together into such a whole, I realised that I should never succeed. The best that I could write would never be more than philosophical remarks; my thoughts were soon crippled if I tried to force them on in any single direction… The philosophical remarks in this book are, as it were, a number of sketches of landscapes which were made in the course of these long and involved journeyings.
…. So that if you looked at them you could get a picture of the landscape. Thus this book is really only an album.’ (Philosophical Investigations, preface, Emphasis mine.)

Wittgenstein’s preface to the Philosophical Investigations therefore indicates that the work is not meant to be taken as a new body of theory but rather as an album of ruminations and reflections about the problems he had posed for himself and his readers in his earlier work. One of the main problems/puzzles was, as we have seen, the question of solipsism and perspectivism as it appears in his account of language-use and how each language-user is trapped in the private world of his own linguistic-experience. It is to that problem that we shall turn to now:

B.2. Naming and meaning: Can we go beyond ostensible definitions?

Naming and meaning are two of the questions/problems that have bedevilled philosophers, and as we saw in our reading of the Tractatus, Wittgenstein began from the working premise of a language that was already being used by competent language-speakers. He doesn’t talk or write much about how languages are learned, and how the naming process begins and gets off the ground.
Perhaps this was not his concern in the Tractatus and it certainly does not contain any account of the naming process. Earlier philosophers like Hobbes tried to account for naming by recourse to all sorts of narrative devices, such as Hobbes’s account of naming as a process of ostensive definition as given in the Bible. Hobbes claims that the first act of naming took place when God simply teaches Adam the meaning of words by pointing to objects in the world (so to speak, for Hobbes is silent about God’s finger and how it points)

Now ostensive definitions may seem commonsensical for some objects in the world, but they don’t really work for general abstract concepts and value-statements. (What is the ostensive definition to ‘liberty’, for instance?)
In proposition 38 of the Investigations Wittgenstein begins to question the process of ostensive definition as the basis of naming, for he regards it as odd to suggest that something is simply named when it is ostensibly referred to as a named object:

Pr.38. ‘…the conception of naming, so to speak, (is) an occult process. Naming appears as a queer connection of a word and an object. And you really get a queer connection when the philosopher tries to bring out the relation between name and thing by staring at an object in front of him and repeating the name or even the word ‘this’ innumerable times. For a philosophical problem arises when language goes on holiday. And here we may indeed fancy naming to be some remarkable act of mind, as it were a baptism of an object’. (Emphasis Wittgenstein’s)

Early on in the Investigations Wittgenstein argues that naming a thing and defining its meaning are two different things: for the meaning of words lies in the manner in which they are used in language:

Pr. 43. ‘For a large class of cases – though not for all – in which we employ the word ‘meaning’ it can be defined thus: the meaning of a word is its use in a language.’

Now if the meaning of a word/sign does not have to stand in a naming relationship with an ostensibly defined object, then we seem to be getting closer to a theory of language-use where things that cannot be ostensibly defined can have meaning and be spoken of meaningfully. At some points of the Investigations, Wittgenstein seems to admit the limitations of his earlier picture/model theory of meaning as he had developed it in the Tractatus, as when he writes:

Pr. 115. A picture held us captive. And we could not get outside it, for it lay in our language and language seemed to repeat it to us inexorably. (Emphasis Wittgenstein’s. Note the past tense employed in the first sentence: A picture held us captive – which I think suggests a movement/advancement from his earlier position)

[*Note that Wittgenstein doesn’t really depart from his early stand on solipsism and perspectivism here. But he does seem to acknowledge the limitations of the picture/model theory of meaning.]

But if meanings are to be found in the use of words, then what sort of language-community do we have in the Investigations?
Wittgenstein doesn’t explicitly spell out his view of what a language community consists of, but he does not explicitly reject/deny his account of solipsism in the Tractatus either. IF we are to take this at face value, then we may end up with a picture of a language-community (a community of common language-users) that is like this: A language community is made up of language-users, each of whom is in his/her own solipsist-perspectivist language-world of experience, but who can nonetheless communicate with each other via the medium of a common ordinary language.

How does such a public language get off the ground? The answer, which Wittgenstein suggests time and again in the Investigations, is by learning to use a language by learning its rules. Public language-use is therefore a rule governed exercise that all language-users have to be trained to learn. As he notes:

Pr. 5. The teaching of language is not explanation, but training.

In the Investigations he maintains his view that language is a form of life, as he states:

Pr. 19. To imagine a language means imagining a form of life.

And again:

Pr. 23. New types of language, new language-games, as we may say, come into existence and others become obsolete and forgotten.
Here the term ‘language-game’ is meant to bring into prominence the fact that speaking a language is part of an activity, a form of life’. (Emphasis Wittgenstein’s)

Public language use – for Wittgenstein in the Investigations – is a rule-governed public exercise that requires training and learning. (Later below we shall address the related question of truth criteria.) By the time of the Investigations Wittgenstein is trying to show that a public language and a public means of communication is possible provided we understand that words and propositions have sense and meaning in the context of their public use. (This is an argument that began with Frege and which Wittgenstein accepts even in the Tractatus.)

What is meant by ‘context’ here?

Wittgenstein’s explanation seems all-encompassing and it generally corresponds to his use of the phrase ‘form of life’ and is also related to his theory of language-games. Wittgenstein states in many parts of the Investigations that language-use is a rule-governed process where we need to learn the rules of how to use words in order to know what they mean and what sense they make in the ways through which they are employed in daily communication. What are the characteristics of such rules in language-use?

For Wittgenstein the rules of language-use are normative and customary (in his sense of ‘customary’): i.e. they require the consistent repetition of a set of conditions whereby a rule is to be followed and applied:

Pr. 199. It is not possible that there should have been only one occasion on which someone obeyed a rule. It is not possible that there should have been only one occasion on which a report was made, an order give or understood, and so on. To obey a rule, to make a report, to give an order, to play a game of chess, are customs (uses, institutions).
To understand a sentence means to understand a language. To understand a language means to be master of a technique.’ (Emphasis Wittgenstein’s.) (re. endnote 2.)

But rule-following in Wittgenstein’s sense here is not a case of wilful agency and choosing to follow a rule by volition. It is, on his account, something we simply do as a result of being trained to do so. Consider the following propositions by him:

Pr. 201. …what this shows is that there is a way of grasping a rule which is not an interpretation, but which is exhibited in what we call ‘obeying a rule’ and ‘going against it’ in actual cases. (Emphasis Wittgenstein’s.)

Pr. 202. And hence also ‘obeying a rule is a practice. And to think one is obeying a rule is not to obey a rule. Hence it is not possible to obey a rule ‘privately’: otherwise thinking one was obeying a rule would be the same thing as obeying it. (Emphasis Wittgenstein’s.)

Rule-following in this sense is something impersonal (intentionality has nothing to do with it, he asserts, Pr. 205) but rather regimented and regulated and performed in public, akin to following orders:

Pr. 206. Following a rule is analogous to obeying an order. We are trained to so do, we react to an order in a particular way. But what is one person reacts in one way and another in another (way) to the order that is given? Which one is right?
Suppose you come as an explorer into an unknown country with a language quite strange to you. In what circumstances would you say that the people there gave orders, understood them, obeyed them, and so on?
To common behaviour of mankind is the system of reference by means of which we interpret an unknown language.

And again he states that rule-following is not a matter of choice later:

Pr. 219. When I obey a rule, I do not choose.
I obey the rule blindly. (Emphasis Wittgenstein’s.)

What are these rules for? They serve, for Wittgenstein, the purpose of laying down the criteria for the use of names/words/signs to signify things that are experienced by the language-users in the public domain of a public language. Because, as Wittgenstein has asserted in Proposition no. 38, naming things cannot simply be the case of a private ‘baptism of an object’. (PI, Pr. 38)

Of course Wittgenstein realises that language-users are more than capable of misunderstanding each other and misunderstanding the rules of any language-game they may be using. This propensity for misunderstanding, he argues, does not and should not detract us from the fact that we are playing language games and we do follow the rules of language-games nonetheless. Misunderstandings are common, and they do not mean that language-games collapse simply because of a misunderstanding: In fact misunderstandings are the condition of possibility for languages to get off the ground in the first place. (Proposition 71)

But once we accept that the meaning of word/signs and the sense of propositions are to be found in the rule-governed use of public language, then we get closer to Wittgenstein’s idea of language-games being public games that need to be played among more than one actor/speaker and where the meaning and sense of word/signs and propositions are defined according to situational context.

This is basically a refutation of the private language theory where it is argued that the meaning of words (in the signifying/corresponding relationship between linguistic and extra-linguistic elements) is based on experiences/sensations/ideas that are held by the individual speaker. Wittgenstein, though his public language theory, is arguing that the meaning/signification of word/signs does not lie in what the individual feels/thinks/experiences, but rather in how the word/sign is used in the public context in public language. He illustrates this in his ‘beetle in a box’ argument (propositions 272-300.)

In proposition 272 he accepts that each individual may indeed have subjective experiences that are unique to each one of them:

Pr. 272. The essential thing about private experience is really not that each person has his own exemplar, but that nobody knows whether other people also have this or something else. The assumption would be possible – though unverifiable – that one section of mankind has one sensation of red and another section another. (Emphasis Wittgenstein’s)

But the privacy and/or uniqueness of our individual experiences is not the point, he argues. For what matters as far as the working of public language is concerned is that in the public domain of a rule-governed public language we can all speak about general ideas/experiences without having to refer to a private exemplar as the referent. For in a public language the meaning of the word/sign lies not in the private experience of a thing, but in the public agreement of the way in which a word/sign is used. This is the point of the ‘beetle in the box argument in proposition 293:

Pr 293. If I say of myself that it is only from my own case that I know what the word ‘pain’ means – must I not say the same of other people too? And how can I generalise the one case so irresponsibly?
Now suppose someone tells me that he knows what pain is only from his own case! – Suppose everyone had a box with something in it: we call it a ‘beetle’. No-one can look into another’s box, and everyone says he knows what a beetle is by looking into his beetle. – Here it would be quite possible for everyone to have something quite different in his box. One might even imagine such a thing constantly changing – But suppose the word ‘beetle’ had a use in these people’s language? – If so it would not be used as a name of a thing. The thing in the box has no place in the language-game at all; not even as something, for the box might be empty.
That is to say, if we construe the grammar of the expression of sensation on the model of ‘object and designation’, (then) the object drops out of consideration as irrelevant. (Emphasis Wittgenstein’s)

On the basis of this argument then, we can see that for Wittgenstein to talk about ‘pain’ in a meaningful way in a public language is not to refer to private sensations of pain, but rather to obey the rules of the language-game whereby talking about pain is possible. For ‘pain’ to make sense in a public language – though it can be experienced individually as Wittgenstein admits (Pr. 272) – it has to be expressed by public signs that follow the public rules of the language-game, and can be recognised by the context in which it appears and is understood.

The meaning of ‘pain’ in the public language is therefore not tied to our internal, private experiences of it. (Like Wittgenstein notes in his beetle in the box example: the content of the box may not be a beetle, in fact it might be empty.) Rather ‘pain’ means what it does in the public language domain when we agree on the use of the word/sign pain, and when we have the outstanding circumstances (the ‘stage setting’ as Wittgenstein puts it) that goes into setting the context where such a word makes sense in our public use of it. This of course requires us to get out of the narrow view that words such as ‘pain’ have internal, subjective references and to understand that their meanings are determined by rule-governed contexts and external criteria.

And if we can make sense of word/signs like ‘pain’ in a public language, we can also make sense of words like ‘good’, ‘bad’, ‘beautiful’ etc. – for they mean what they mean according to the way in which these words are used in the public domain of a rule-governed public language. This is the point where Wittgenstein seems to be getting out of the solipsistic corner he painted himself into in the Tractatus: He still seems to think that we are all stuck in our solipsistic private universes of language-experience, but we can communicate things about the world – including value judgements of ethics and aesthetics – via the medium of a public language that is shared by other speakers and where meaning and sense are determined not privately, but publicly, according to rules and criteria.

We are now a step closer to understanding how we can speak about things like ‘goodness’ and ‘beauty’ without falling back into the trap of solipsistic nominalism and a private language theory where words like ‘good’ and ‘beauty’ merely mean what I mean when I use them.

Language-games are, for Wittgenstein, an apt way to look at how languages are used in different contexts. His theory of language-games posits the view that in ordinary language our use of language depends on the context in which language is being used, and that there are many different ‘language-games’ (rule-governed uses of language) as there are many contexts in which language can/is used differently, according to different rules and criteria of meaning.

The plurality of language-games therefore reflect the plurality of activities we do/are in engaged in.
Lying, for instance, is a language game that has its own rules – the first rule of lying being that one doesn’t tell the truth. Likewise there are all sorts of language games that employ the same word/signs that are found in ordinary language but which are given their meaning and sense according to the context in which they are used in each specific language-game.

All of this, however, is NOT meant to lead us to some universal theory or law of language-use, but rather to show that language-use is plural and diverse, as Wittgenstein notes:

Pr.130. Our clear and simple language-games are not preparatory studies for a future regulation of language… The language games are rather set up as objects of comparison which are meant to throw light on the facts of our language by way not only of similarities, but also of dissimilarities. (Emphasis Wittgenstein’s)

And then:

Pr.132. We want to establish an order in our knowledge of the use of language: an order with a particular end in view; one of many possible orders; not the order. (Emphasis Wittgenstein’s)

,b>B.3. Family resemblances and language-games.

So how do words mean anything in different language-games? Wittgenstein starts us off with reference to what he calls the ‘family resemblance’ (between word/signs/signifiers):

Pr.77. In such a difficulty, always ask yourself: How did we learn the meaning of this word (‘Good’ for instance)? From what sort of examples? In what language-games? Then it will be easier for you to see that the word must have a family of meanings. (Emphasis Wittgenstein’s)

Wittgenstein’s notion of ‘family resemblances’ is crucial to understanding how he leads us to having a sense of meaning/signification, particularly involving general abstract signs/words that may not have objective referents and cannot be ostensively defined.

Between propositions 66 to 72, he gives the example of a general abstract word/sign ‘games’. Wittgenstein asks how it is that we can understand the meaning of the word/sign ‘game’ when no particular game comes to mind. (After all, there are all manner of games we can think of, ranging from athletic sports to board games and card games, etc.).
He argues that what we actually do as we learn the meaning of such a word in a public language is we are trained to see and identify the similarities between all kinds of games and to see what is common between them. (Pr. 72)
He characterises these general similarities as ‘family resemblances’, which he explains thus:

Pr. 67. I can think of no better expression to characterise these similarities than ‘family resemblances’, for the various resemblances between members of a family: build, features, colour of eyes, gait, temperament etc etc. overlap and criss-cross in the same way. – And I shall say: ‘Games’ form a family.

Thus in the same way that a family may be made up of A, B, C, D who do not share exactly the same universal features in common with all of them, but commonality of some features nonetheless overlap (A and B, B and C, C and D…), likewise the general concept of ‘game’ does not have to have a singular universal feature but may share commonalities that overlap.

Where is this overlap to be observed? Wittgenstein argues that it is in the public context of observation, rule-following and repetitive instances. Thus it is in the public context of repeated overlapping instances that we perceive the general commonalities between specific instances of things, and it is through such regular observation that we ascribe to those things a common general name/sign that marks the family resemblances between them.

C. Public language, language-games and taking discourses seriously

So let us sum up the view of the world and language-communities at the end of the Philosophical Investigations and the Tractatus:

• All we have is the public language that people use to speak to each other and communicate things about the world;

• We can study this public language as pictures/models of reality including the political/religious constructions of the world;

• We need not get ‘into the heads’ of speakers and we need not be concerned with instances when speakers do not mean what they say (i.e. they can be lying, or unsure/confused themselves; i.e. someone can say that he/she believes in a particular ideology/religion when they don’t, but we cannot ascertain that by ‘getting into their heads’ but rather by reference to a general public criteria based on rules and norms of language use.)

• The language community is made up on individual language-users and even if we take this to be a somewhat atomistic view of society it does not prevent us from studying/analysing discourses as what matters in how these discourses (including religio-political discourses) are constructed and used; rather than the subjective intentionality of individual speakers.

If these are the only premises we are left with, then they are still enough for us to take language-games seriously: Sociology, anthropology and discourse analysis can now get off the ground, and we can do discourse analysis. We can now make propositions about subjects along the lines of ‘A is a fanatic and B is a liberal’ that do not need to be statements about their ‘inner consciousness’ but rather factual statements about things/people that are based on rule-governed criteria of consistent/normative behaviour patterns in the world. We can also begin to discern the different meanings and senses that words like ‘liberty’, ‘freedom’, ‘equality’ and ‘jihad’ have depending on the discursive contexts in which they are used/deployed instrumentally.

So on that note, let us start doing discourse analysis.


(1) Recall what Wittgenstein says about the impossibility to make value-statements/propositions in the Tractatus:

6.42. So too it is impossible for there to be propositions of ethics. Propositions cannot express anything that is higher.

6.421. It is clear that ethics cannot be put into words.
Ethics is transcendental.
(Ethics and aesthetics are the same). (Wittgenstein’s brackets)

6.423. It is impossible to speak about the will in so far as it is the subject of ethical attributes.
And the will as phenomenon is of interest only to psychology.

(2) The claim in Pr. 199. (It is not possible that there should have been only one occasion on which someone obeyed a rule. It is not possible that there should have been only one occasion on which a report was made, an order give or understood, and so on.) suggests that it would be impossible to speak meaningfully and sensibly about an experience that was entirely unique and singular. Say, for instance, I experience something uniquely singular right now (I am having this experience A now, as I type this, in fact). The singularity of experience A and the fact that it will never recur ever again means that I have no repetitive/normative criteria to identify it and give it a name.

Further reading:

Ludwig Wittgenstein, Philosophical Investigations, (1945), First published by Basil Blackwell, London, 1958.

For further reading on Wittgenstein’s theory of language as it was developed in the Tractatus and later developed in the Philosophical Investigations, I would recommend to you:

Bernard Harrison, An Introduction to the Philosophy of Language, MacMillan Education Series, MacMillan, London, 1979;

David Pears, The False Prison: A Study of the Development of Wittgenstein’s Philosophy, Clarendon Press, Oxford, 1987.

Michael Morris, Wittgenstein and the Tractatus, Routledge Philosophy Series, Routledge, London, 2008.

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