Three Applications of an Austin/Wittgenstein Ontological Insight

Goldstein, Laurence (2002) Three Applications of an Austin/Wittgenstein Ontological Insight. In: UNSPECIFIED Austrian Ludwig Wittgenstein Society, pp. 62-64.

[thumbnail of goldstein.pdf] PDF

Download (75kB)


On the first page of How to do Things with Words,
Austin claims that `making a statement" is primary, and
`statement" derivative – a `logical construction", as he calls
it, out of the makings of statements. Wittgenstein, in
similar vein, takes `explaining the meaning" to be primary
with `meaning" a derivative notion. He says that
`[m]eaning is what an explanation of meaning explains
(Wittgenstein 1974, 68). Part of Wittgenstein"s point is that
giving explanations of meaning is, like the making of
statements, a perfectly common, everyday occurrence, but
asking what meaning is is a perverse question of the sort
that gives philosophy a bad name – Austin makes the
same point in his paper `The Meaning of a Word" (Austin
1961, 23-43). Wittgenstein"s diagnosis of why
philosophers are misled is very simple: the mistake lies in
supposing that, for every noun there is an object named
(unum nomen, unum nominatum) and so coming to believe
that there is something – some thing – named by the noun
`meaning". He says that he wants to cure us of the
temptation to look about us for some object which you
might call `the meaning" (Wittgenstein 1958, 1). This is
hardly a new insight. Kant famously argued, in the
Transcendental Aesthetic, that the noun `time" does not
name a thing and one consequence of this conclusion is
that talk of the Big Bang as marking the beginning of time
is nonsensical. Are there some comparably important
conclusions that can be drawn from the thesis that the
nouns `meaning" and `statement" do not name objects?
The answer, as I hope to demonstrate, is `Yes".

Item Type: Book Section
Uncontrolled Keywords: statement; meaning; Austin J.L.; Wittgenstein L.
Subjects: Philosophie > Philosophische Disziplinen > Logik, analytische Philosophie
Philosophie > Philosophische Disziplinen > Sprachphilosophie
Philosophie > Philosophische Journale, Kongresse, Vereinigungen > Wittgenstein Symposium Kirchberg, Pre-Proceedings > Kirchberg 2002
Depositing User: Wolfgang Heuer
Date Deposited: 06 Dec 2020 14:14
Last Modified: 06 Dec 2020 14:15

Actions (login required)

View Item
View Item